We have arrived in Chile! After various flight delays and other adventures, our group is in Santiago and starting to get settled in. We began our official programming with a walk from our hotel to Plaza de Armas, where we took a quick peek inside the Cathedral de Santiago and ate lunch at a nearby restaurant. From there, we all took our first rides on the bip!, Santiago’s subway system, to the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos (the Museum of Memory and Human Rights), which chronicles the abuses of the brutal Pinochet regime and the popular resistance that eventually ended it. The museum, which opened in 2010 tells the intimate story of Chile’s recent history (spanning 1973 to 1990) with the goal of allowing dignity for the victims and their families and continuing an open dialogue about this painful time and the importance of respect for human rights. The exhibits were educational and moving, and led to conversation over dinner about student activism, the importance of understanding history, and what the United States could learn from the way Chile has handled such traumatic and divisive events.
Tomorrow will be our first full day and we are looking forward to meeting the students from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (PUC), including our very own Javiera, and going on site visits to the prison and other organizations our class will work with.
Post written by Julia MacMahon, Boston College School of Social Work