Transequatorial Tales

Alzar School | 04.03.21

As the Spring Equinox approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, students have been experiencing a sprinkle of sunshine and warmer temperatures. Indeed, the bare earthen ground has emerged on parts of our Cascade campus! This is a time of transition for us, as well as for our counterparts in the Southern Hemisphere, who are preparing for winter transformations. 

Base Patagonia caretaker, Eduardo, planning campus trails.

Regarding some larger World headlines, Chile was one of the first Latin American countries to begin vaccinating citizens in December 2020. Chile has ordered enough vaccinations to immunize its entire population twice over; individuals 80 years of age or older, as well as teachers, have been among Chile’s recent vaccination priorities ( The governmental campaign #yomevacuno documents that 3.5 million people have been vaccinated thus far and the country is quickly becoming a global leader in COVID-19 inoculation. 

Chileans, like many others around the world, are confronting various social issues and calls for reform. Several Chilean women’s groups are organizing a Feminist Strike on March 8 “to denounce the inequalities and patriarchal violence that prevail in the country.” Furthermore, demonstrations in response to inequality and in favor of constitutional reform, El Estallido Social, have been on-going for the past year or so.

Alzar School has some Chilean news of our own! Michel Raab, our Director of Chilean Programs, has several enthusiastic updates to share:

Sobre Base Patagonia, te puedo contar que el año 2020 nos dedicamos a seguir construyendo la casa del Staff y Admin, aka Casa Cascada y Casa Arcoiris, respectivamente. Fue nuestro primer año manteniendo la propiedad durante el invierno, evitando que nada se congelara o dañara con la escarcha, nieve y lluvias extremas. Además de limpiar y abrir espacios en la selva y bosque tupido alrededor de los refugios y las casas. Durante la primavera y el verano nos dedicamos a seguir limpiando el bosque, abrir senderos, construir puentes para los senderos, remover cercos, reparar cercos, mantener el sistema de agua limpio, entre otros. Otro proyecto muy grande ha sido el comprar muebles y accesorios para las casas. 

Perimeter view of Base Patagonia living quarters.

Toda el aspecto de construcción y adquisición de muebles y artefactos para las casas ha sido muy desafiante por la pandemia, que ha afectado la producción y ha hecho que el adquirir materiales de construcción, muebles, artefactos, etc, sea un proceso muy lento. Especialmente para nosotros que además nos encontramos en una región remota y desconectada del resto de Chile. Aún así, el ver donde estamos en estos momentos, con el proyecto de construcción inicial al 99% completado con las dificultades que hemos tenido, es muy gratificante y nos hace sentir muy orgullosos del esfuerzo y el cariño que hemos dedicado al proyecto. Ahora solo falta que lleguen los alumnos y profesores a disfrutar de este paraíso!

(Don’t speak Spanish? Try Google Translate! And see a summary, below) 

Base Patagonia Cabanas

In sum, much work has been done at Alzar School’s Base Patagonia, including the construction of accommodations for students and staff (namely, Casa Cascada and Casa Arcoiris.) Since construction began on the site last year, this is the first year maintaining the property through winter, complete with wind, rain, and snow. Additionally, Chilean staff Michel, Eduardo and others have been busily clearing parts of the forest to create hiking trails across campus. The pandemic has proven challenging to navigate, especially from our Chilean campus’s rural location, and our Chilean team is proud to share the progress of their work. 

Big thanks to Michel, Eduardo, and everyone else down south for putting together some incredible spaces to be enjoyed by Alzar School students, staff, and alumni!

Of note, although our Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 cohorts will not get the opportunity to visit Base Patagonia due to travel restrictions, we have opened new domestic course areas, implemented exciting activities and created unique opportunities for our students that continue to provide the powerful outdoor, cultural and academic experiences Alzar School is known for.