A remarkable family saga began in the early 1960s when Mac Tschanz helped establish a Department of Geology in the high Andes mountains of Bolivia. His next assignment was in Colombia where he trained geologists while mapping in the lawless Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. During nine years in South America Mac and his wife, Ginny, lived a continuous adventure in exotic surroundings. Years later, 2nd generation Tor and Dawn in nine months time trekked from Chile to Guatemala where they met Mac and Ginny at the ruins of Tikál. Another son, Michael, mounted Peruvian expeditions in which he climbed two peaks above 20,000 ft, bicycled across the Andes, and descended into Colca Canyon, the world’s deepest. His daughter, Meghan, served on a mission during two summers in Costa Rica. Their observations were recorded in contemporaneous letters, journals and diaries, imparting immediacy to an amazing fifty year family saga.
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By Virginia Tschanz
Dec 22, 2011
US Review of Books http://www.theusreview.com/reviews/Under-Tschanz.html Under the Condor's Wing by Familia Tschanz reviewed by John E. Roper "I have a sense of waiting, too. Of waiting for some next step in our lives to unfold" One of the greatest challenges of living overseas is not the time spent in a foreign land but in coming home. Well-meaning people ask about life "over there," but when the tales begin to tumble out of the traveler's mouth often the eyes of the hearer glaze over and the topic is changed. It is not that listeners are intentionally rude or uninterested; the subject is simply too alien for most of them to grasp. The authors have solved this problem by taking the bold step to show their lives in Latin America through personal letters, poems, and reflections rather than simply tell their story conventionally. This narrative technique gives a sense of intimacy to their tale that no traditional telling can match. The Tschanzs' story takes place in... More > several countries, spans over fifty years, and is told in a variety of voices. The most dominant ones, at least in the first two-thirds of the book, come from Mac and his wife Ginny. Mac shows readers the beauty of the Bolivian and Colombian countryside coupled with the ugliness of the political and social turmoil in these lands during the 1960s. What comes across most, though, is his passion for his work. Ginny's letters reveal the struggles of managing a household overseas along with personal battles such as lingering illness and frustration. Later, sons Tor and Michael, daughter-in-law Dawn, and granddaughter Meghan give voice to their own adventures in Central and South America to round out the book. The Tschanzs could have played it safe and written a standard memoir. Instead, they opened up their lives through words written in the moment and made their story real.< Less
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