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So far keely555 has created 6 entries.

I Don’t Get Why Everybody Isn’t Excited By It

by Keely Kriho

Four emotions, always in the same order, greet me every morning at 6 AM when I wake up to begin my day at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

The first is panic in response to my alarm going off at such an early hour. My five roommates don’t get up until around nine, and therefore I try as quickly and silently as possible to press the “off” button on my new, 120-Rand ($10 USD) South African, opposite-of-smart phone.

The second emotion is amazement: Even after being in Cape Town, South Africa for an entire month, I still can’t get over the fact that I’m on a completely different continent, 32 hours of travel from Chicago, by myself, in the most beautiful, diverse, and captivating city I’ve ever experienced.

The last two emotions, which closely follow the amazement, are excitement and relief. The excitement is caused by the work I’ll […]

By |March 19th, 2015|Gappers in the Field|

On Being a Nowhere (Wo)Man

by Keely Kriho

Sitting on dampened grass at almost 8,000 feet above sea level, I squinted into the gray foggy mass that seemed only inches from my face. From whatever angle I attempted, the gray remained impenetrable—I couldn’t make out a single shape behind its haze. I glanced over at my friends, and they also stared futilely into the opaqueness that should have been the beautiful Incan ruins of Machu Picchu. After hiking for four days along the Salkantay Inka trail; trekking up and down huge mountains with elevations of up to 15,000 feet; camping out each night in the cold that soon turned to heat as we neared our destination; and persisting through rain, rock, rivers, and even hail, we had finally made it: Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the world. And now, alas, it seemed that our efforts had been for naught, as Mother Nature […]

By |February 1st, 2015|Gappers in the Field|

One New Country, Fourteen New Sisters

by Keely Kriho

On my first morning in Arequipa, Peru, I awoke with a start to a little girl’s shrill voice speaking directly into my ear. “Como te llamas?” As my eyes adjusted and my vision cleared, Alejandra’s smiling face appeared a few inches from mine. After one week, I had become used to this wake-up routine.

“Tu sabes! [You know!]” I responded, since this was Alejandra’s favorite question, and I had definitely given her an answer before. But either she had forgotten, or she liked to mess with me (I’d say probability was 20/80), and she continued to smile, waiting for a legitimate reply to her question.

“Me llamo Keely!” I exclaimed, sitting up in bed and looking over at the clock: 5:15 AM.

Alejandra clapped and laughed, repeating, “Te llamas Kee-lee, te llamas Kee-lee.” This boisterousness piqued the attention of Jeffrey and Anna Paula, two other toddlers around 3 or 4 […]

By |January 15th, 2015|Gappers in the Field|

There’s No Easy Solution

by Keely Kriho

We sat in a large circle, folding chairs haphazardly situated on a damp dirt floor, wet from the rain that had poured and sprinkled on and off for the past two days. The roof of the patio where we sat was translucent, and we could both see, hear, and feel the rain pounding down, almost too loud to hear the man who stood at the front of the room with a dry erase board, and a mission.

The man was Peter, a college professor-turned-environmental activist who currently resides–and is the President of–the town of Pucara, an old farming community of around sixty people located near the town of Apuela, on the western slope of the Andes in Ecuador. Peter had lived in Ecuador for around twenty years, and along with being the President of the community, he had worked with the community to implement a recycling project, a […]

By |November 20th, 2014|Gappers in the Field|

Someone Let Me Use a Machete and I Ate Over Twenty Bananas: My First Fortnight in Ecuador

by Keely Kriho

“Buenas grazie!” This phrase accurately describes my experience learning Spanish thus far, i.e. using a little bit of Spanish, a little bit of Italian, and a lot of enthusiasm. Learning Spanish has presented its fair share of difficulties, especially because I’ve had four-hour lessons every day for the past two weeks, but I truly enjoy the challenge of a beautiful new language in this new, unique environment. Because guess what? I’m in Ecuador!

Finally, after months of planning and preparation and proposal-writing and packing (and using alliteration as a coping mechanism for all of the above), I said a tearful good-bye to my family at the airport and flew to Los Angeles to meet my new Carpe Diem family, with whom I´d be spending the next three months traveling, living, and volunteering at various projects and NGOs in various cities in Ecuador and Peru.

I´m from the midwest, so […]

By |October 29th, 2014|Gappers in the Field|

An Ending Is Just a Beginning, But a Beginning Is a Beginning In Itself: Getting Acquainted with Carolina

Boarding the plane at O’Hare, it would be a blatant lie to say that the only emotion coursing through my veins was excitement. Of course I was excited–I could still remember getting the phone call telling me that I had been awarded the Global Gap Year Fellowship, and with it, the notion that my dreams of taking a gap year were suddenly very real! But now, along with that excitement came anxiety, self-doubt, and the realization that stepping onto this plane would mark a transition in my life, a beginning and an end. With conflicted emotions, I stepped onto the plane, knowing that I was headed towards Orientation Weekend to plan a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, but not knowing at all what that would entail.
The people I met at the GGYF Orientation were definitely the highlight of the weekend for me. When I arrived on campus (the first time I’d ever […]

By |April 21st, 2014|Pre-departure|