7 - Princesa Irene

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The Narrator

The place the students from Qatar went to after leaving La Paz was Cochabamba in Bolivia. For four days, they spent their time visiting various areas in and around Cochabamba. On the fourth day, they left Cochabamba and headed to a place deep in the forest. 

Meanwhile, in El Bosque De La Muerte (where the camp was located), many days had passed since the Wolfgang students arrived in Bolivia. The students had done a lot during those days. This day, they were playing treasure hunt. They were restricted to a radius of two kilometers from the bus in the camp. Seagale and Gallagher buried a cup, and everyone is supposed to find the cup in groups of three, using some clues.

Shifaly Udawatte

"Students, today we are going to a tour of La Abuela De Princesa Irene," said Ms. Dayani when we are all gathered in front of the wooden cabin we were staying in. 

"Now I know you are punished, Basura," began Mr. Seneviratne. "However, after discussing with Ms. Dayani, we decided that if you behave, we can allow you to hang out with your friends," he added.

Malindu and Agash, friends of Basura, cheered.

"But.." he added. "You must apologize to Shifaly for your behavior, and make a promise to her not to bully or trouble her."

It was difficult for him to say sorry, but he told me he was sorry and offered me a hand. Now, I was stunned that I couldn't say anything. I never expected Basura to say sorry.

"Shifaly? Shifaly?" said Ms. Dayani, trying to make me come back to consciousness.

"Huh? It's fine, Basura," I said as I smiled and offered my hand.

After the handshake, we all began to walk towards the dam. It was a long route up a hill to enter through the gate. 

We were near this big dam called La Abuela De Princesa Irene. The Bolivian Electricity board invited our tour group over. Our teachers gladly obliged. I didn't know where exactly the dam was. The road to the dam was a hilly one with many switchbacks. The last signboard I saw on the highway was before we climbed this hilly road. It read 'Puerto Grande'. I loved the area near the dam. It was so close to nature, and the views from my room in the cabin were astounding. There were trees, so many lush, green trees. 

There were drying fruits, lying here and there on the trail to the dam's office. There were also some bushes with flowers growing on them, flanking the path. Two flies passed by like bullets grazing through my face. There were some ravens around, pecking at the fallen fruit. The smells of the forest wafted through the air.

"Avanthi and Shifaly, hurry!" said Ms. Dayani, instructing us to not tarry in joining the rest of the group; for, we lagged.

I took a deep breath, absorbing the fresh smell of nature when...


I felt my leg stomp something soft.

I took in a vile stench and almost felt like puking. I looked down.

Avanthi burst into laughter.

I looked down once again and then looked at Avanthi, narrowing my eyes at her.

"Why is it always you and dog-shit?" she asked, teasing me.

I stared at her, unamused. "Not funny, Avanthi," I said. She laughed when I said that.

I pulled out my boot, which was stuck in a pile of dog-poo. I tried to rub off the feces stuck to the sole of my boot on a rock. Then by using lots of tissue paper, I wiped my boots' surface clean, and with a disgusted expression, threw the tissues away.

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