Submitted by De MacKinnon
Here is an excerpt from Emma's Smith's latest travel update from Columbia.  Emma is our Long Term Exchange Student from Kingston HS:
The highlight of this last month was definitely the second rotary trip. The 60 exchange students from my district, 4281 all met up in Santa Marta and we explored La Guajira, and Tayrona, a coastal region which attracts tourists from around the globe for its multi-colored ocean, beautiful beaches and unique communities of people still living by the old ways…we woke up at 4 am, and took buses to the entrance of the Tayrona trail, we had a 10 km walk ahead of us. As we hiked down the trail we got to see some cool animals, amazing views, and we visited several incredible rock hieroglyphics and an indigenous community,Pueblito Chairama.
We went and saw the place where they made sacrificial offerings, as well as the origin of a holy type of rock, and of course the beaches which included Playa San Juan del Guía, la Playa La Piscinita, y Playa de Arrecife . We shared the trail with horses and passed by several villagers heading to town to bargain. It was really cool to see how they lived and what they wore, their appearance struck me in a way I didn't think it would, I pondered over what we, the US could have done differently to allow the natives to continue their practices and way of life…The last day is always the hardest, having to say good bye to everyone. You don't really think much about it but a lot can happen in a week, bonds that last a lifetime… it really was a spectacular trip.
I am so grateful to have had this opportunity, it’s really such a blessing, and I really couldn't have asked for anything better, because plainly I just don't believe that it exists.