This afternoon we visited the office of the vice presidency just off of the Plaza Murillo. We were met by Juan Carlos Pinto and his assistant, who greeted us with warmth and a copy of a political journal titled La Migraña. Before we started the actual meeting, Juan Carlos explained how important it is to truly know a country that you visit. More than just surface facts you learn in a classroom, but its often deeply-complex culture and its unique identity that you can only learn from talking with its people and experiencing it first hand.
The meeting itself was interesting and I’m thankful for the opportunity, but what interested me the most wasn’t what Juan Carlos told us about coca or resource exploitation or health care reform. What interested me the most is what he told us when we arrived: how to know a country. He didn’t meen “saber” know, he meant “conocer” know; he was trying to explain how to know a country on an almost personal level. To me that was deeper and more important than anything else he and his assistant told us.
That got me thinking a lot about how I’m going to soak in this program, and that was the most profound thing that has happened to me since arriving.