Saturday, November 14, 2015

Reflection Interviews

1. What did I seem most excited about when I spoke to you about my experience?
2. Has how I talked about my experience changed from then to now?
3. How could I better talked to you about my experience? (Or to community members: how could I better keep in touch now?)

Peer Interview-Friend (Paraphrase Summary)

When you first got here you seemed really excited about all of your excursions and travels while you were there. You talked about the buses you went on and biking around and going places on the weekends. But now you talk more about how you miss the little things in Bolivia. You'll randomly say that something small reminds you of it. I think you were pretty good about answering all of my questions when I asked you. You never sat down and "told me" about your whole trip. So you answered all my questions so I don't think there was anything I was wondering about.

Community Member-Coworker (Paraphrased and Translated)
I saw on Facebook a few weeks after you left that you went to a soccer game for Bolivia (in the United States). You had pictures of wearing Bolivian colors and looking happy. It made me happy that you were remembering Bolivia. Now we still talk on Facebook and comment on each others posts. Because the posts are so different they're not all about Bolivia, so we talk about more things now. You could keep in touch better by sending more messages and we could Skype!

Faculty- Professor (Paraphrase Summary)
I remember that you emailed me about natural gas cars while you were in Bolivia. You were really excited about them because you had never seen them before and we studied them in class. More recently we've talked about you biking in Bolivia so that's a bit different from before. I you sound more reminiscing than excited. You could have talked to me more about your project there and what it was like living there under President Morales after how powerful he has become now.

The main themes that I think some of my interviews brought up is how when I first got back from Bolivia, I was really excited about the most "adventurous" things like traveling and trips. But now I miss the little things about culture and my host family. I think that shift makes sense because even though the trips on the weekends were fun, the best part of my experience really was just living in Cochabamba and meeting people and learning about the city. Those small experiences are difficult to explain to people when you come back from a trip. I agree with the evaluations, and I definitely think I should try better to keep in touch more often with people who I met this summer. The growth I've seen in myself is probably attitude adjustments for annoyances. I feel like I have grown a lot more patient and flexible since coming back. Although that has faded to some extent due to school stress, I still try to keep that mentality in mind in times of stress to keep me calm and not forget about the summer.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

(E-Portfolio Post) Journal #1

Themes: One of the main themes I noticed from my blog posts is excitement for small, little things. I would get excited about the music playing in the trufi, a new dessert I tasted on the street, or a new word or phrase I learned. I think that type of joy and excitement is really important for being happy. You should always be excited by the small things in life, because they happen all the time. Another theme I noticed was flexibility. My posts often start with how something I was expecting that day changed or went far differently than I expected. This is a common occurrence when living and working abroad. While this unpredictability was something that annoyed many of the other Americans I knew, it was something that I actually enjoyed. Life back at home can get pretty monotonous and repetitive, even with a busy and dynamic schedule every week. The final theme I noticed was a fear or reluctance to return back to the United States. I would often compare the relaxed and fun days of running around Bolivia to the scary days of college back in Texas. Towards the end of my blog some of that went away as I was getting somewhat homesick, but I think the whole time I was anticipating missing Bolivia.

Gaps: A lot of the gaps in my blog posts are about the more negative elements of my experience in Bolivia. Sometimes my work could get frustrating, or I would have a small miscommunication with my family. But I didn't want that to encompass my experience so I chose not to write about them. I also did not write very much about my travels on the weekends, which is strange because that was a huge part of my Loewenstern experience. I think they were so important to me and so sensory and so dynamic that I didnt feel like I had to the time to sit down and totally capture in words what they meant to me. I had a lot of fun traveling on the weekends, and I guess those experiences are better preserved in the few photos and memories I have.

(E-Portfolio Post) Organization Information

CADEPIA (Chamber of Small Business and Artisans) is a non profit organization that promotes, unites, defends, and represents the interests of artisans and small business owners in Cochababmba. Its mission is to represent the business interests of micro, small, and medium businesses in the industrial, service, and artisans sectors. CADEPIA helps to strengthen these businesses through integral services. The organization's vision is to be an institution that represents entrepreneurial leaders at the local level to create a national impact.

CADEPIA's strongest assets come from its 20 years of experience in the region. Over time the organization has built a strong leadership board consisting of successful entrepreneurs who represent the interests of their peers. CADEPIA also has over 1000 affiliated business, giving it strength and reputability in the community. The organization provides very useful workshops to many of its affiliated businesses and also sponsors trade fairs every few months for these business-owners to sell their products. Another key strength to CADEPIA is that despite its size, the organization has very close ties to its affiliated entrepreneurs.

The main point for improvement in CADEPIA is more services for certain industries represented in their affiliated businesses. The leadership board of CADEPIA consists of mainly entrepreneurs in the food sector. This leads to many of the trade fairs and workshops being oriented to this sector. CADEPIA needed a way to know more about underrepresented sectors such as leatherwork, handicrafts, and metalwork.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Service Synopsis

Aruni Ranaweera (Hanszen ’17) conducted research for CADEPIA (Chamber of Small Business and Artisans) in Cochabamba, Bolivia for nine weeks. Her project was a study identifying the various production and business needs of small businesses affiliated with the organization. She spent the first month of her experience learning about CADEPIA and meeting with executives at the organization to plan and design a survey. The final survey contained questions about marketing, financial, production, industrial safety, and technological needs of the businesses. Once the survey was created, she spent several weeks interviewing business owners in sectors ranging from leather-work and textiles to confections and chemical products. Aruni was able to meet with these business owners at market fairs, technical workshops, and walk-ins at the CADEPIA office. At the end of her summer, Aruni wrote a report for CADEPIA summarizing the results of her research. Her findings will assist CADEPIA in deciding what future workshops will best serve the needs of their affiliated businesses.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The return

Strange habits I've picked up from living in Bolivia:

1) Feeling the need to pay for things in cash
2) Leaving the house without my phone
3) Looking for things in actual stores instead of ordering it on Amazon
4)Trying to remember where places are instead of using my GPS
5) Trying to get businesses to accept different currencies (okay haven't actually done this one yet, but I always have to fight the urge)
7) Feeling awkward about NOT individually kissing every person in the room when you enter/exit

Thursday, July 16, 2015


My eyebrows were in desperate need of help after 8 weeks of neglect. So I searched Cochabamba for a threading place. After calling about 5 salons, I found one that said they could do it.

I made an appointment for yesterday and it was...unexpected. The lady actually only threaded the top part. The bottom part she tweezed. With tweezers. And then it got worse. She pulled out this razor type thing and either sheared or shaved part of my eyebrow.

I was terrified to get out of the seat and see what had become of my eyebrows. But they actually look really good! I'm worried about how they will grow back though: shaving and tweezing look fine, they just mess up your skin and hair follicles.

Ill go back to my regular lady in Houston and get her to repair me if anything seems drastically awry. Overall...3/5 stars for this place.

Frustrated again

I had a series of unfortunate bad luck moments the past few days. I only need 6 more survey respondents, but for the first time ever, people coming into the office have been saying they're in a hurry and dont have time for a survey! This week is literally the first time ever that someone has said that- usually people are pretty complacent. So the last 6 have been hard to get.

I thought I was in for some good luck when I was told that we have a fair today and tomorrow. There will be lots of business owners there, so my organization told me I could administer my survey there. However, since there is no wifi at the fairgrounds, I would have to print out my Google Survey and conduct it manually.

Unfortunately, our printer is broken, so I had to rush to the copy center after work, print out the survey, and make copies. The copy center was cheap and easy to find, so it wasn't an issue. Directly after making copies, I went out with friends, so I ended up taking the copies with me in my bag. But at the end of the night, I absent mindedly left them at my friends house!!!!

So this morning I had to retrieve the copies from my friend before going to work. The fair starts early to begin with, so I already had to be at work half an hour earlier than usual. But because of going to retrieve the coipes, I had to wake up even earlier than planned. And because I left my house early, I missed breakfast.

When I finally go to work after chasing down the rogue copies, I was told that it would be better to do the survey at the fair tomorrow. Apparently the business owners will be busy setting up their stands today and wouldnt have time to be surveyed.

So I went to all the trouble of panickidly making copies, chasing down the copies, waking up an hour early, and missing breakfast all to not do my survey. So I'm stuck in the office once again.

Hopefully we get some foot traffic today. Its warming up a bit outside!