The experience does not slow down yet. Intensity and heat is high, more contacts and ideas every day. Today we will be heading to Barranquilla “Puerta de Oro de Colombia” (Colombian Golden Door).
Yesterday our group separated during the day, Will and his students went to the old city to tour museums and collect the information they needed. I went with Vernon and my students to “La Fundación Universitaria Comfenalco”. This is an educational cooperative. We met some of their professors at the COIL conference this past April, and this time we had the opportunity to meet their team of professors, administrators and students. We were really impressed with their programs and the support that they provide to their students. They are a cooperative that serves low income communities; they are challenged with great educational gaps and difficult living circumstances that their students bring; however, we saw very committed professionals, that only work to improve their own communities. We observed transparency and horizontal relationships without politics and transparent management. They, as well as the others, were very kind and picked us up from the hotel, invited us for lunch, and took us back to the touristic area where we are staying.
Later, I went with Haley and Erica to the “San Felipe” fort and there, we met Paula and Devian, our COIL student partners. We went through the dark tunnels inside the colonial military site and took pictures of the city from the amazing fortification.
In the evening we said good bye to our COIL friends and to Ofelia, our friend from Tierra Patria; again another moment of separation that reminds us that life goes on and friends and family stay behind.
Cartagena is an important place for us to establish our international relationships, and I am sure that some of my colleagues would love to learn and teach their students using this Caribbean site. Oneonta, we need to talk and brainstorm.