My summer (or actually winter) in Chile

Saludos from the Southern Hemisphere! I am currently one week in to my internship at a small, independent publishing house in Santiago de Chile.  This work experience will also hopefully help me with my research on the role of poetry in the activism of one of the indigenous groups in Chile, the Mapuche.  So far, my time in Chile has been filled with friendly people, engaging reading, and lots of sweaters and scarves (thank God for alpaca wool).

The view of the Andes from central Santiago – set on ancestral Mapuche land

At my internship at LOM Ediciones, I’ve been working my way through a manuscript on Mapuche women activists, and I’ll be helping the Editorial write the back cover, design the front cover, and sell the book.  Because the press is so small, and I’m the only intern, I get to be involved in a lot of different aspects of the publishing process.  And I’m basically in book heaven with people constantly recommending me something new to read.

My office is basically a fairytale castle

Outside of work, I’ve been trying to get to know Santiago as best I can.  I am continually humbled and awed to be standing on Mapuche lands and to have been greeted so warmly and openly by so many Chileans.  Besides just staring at the snow-capped Andes and eating empanadas, I’ve been able to learn a lot about this city and country because the majority of Santiago’s museums are totally free.  This is thanks to the strength of Chile’s political left, which I also hope to learn more about.  As an activist in the United States, it is so important to see how other people fight for their rights – whether that be indigenous autonomy as I am researching here or immigrant rights as I am most involved in back home.  There is clearly a lot of learning in store for me, and I hope to return to my own community in two months ready and inspired to bring these lessons into my own context and continue the never-ending fight for justice.

Statue of Salvador Allende – the socialist president before the US backed military dictatorship


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