Thursday, October 13, 2011

Strikes and Gutters, Ups and Downs

September 25 to October 7, 2011

Sunday began another week at the dorm. It is usually a slower day since the girls don’t get there until 6:00 pm, and not all of them can even make it. We usually just hang out and finish some homework that they didn’t do over the weekend. Monday, the first year girls showed up with another monster fraction assignment. So I guess the teachers are back to fractions now. Interesting. Anyway, they did an AMAZING job. They remembered what they were taught the previous week and they worked so hard. I was very impressed.

On Wednesday, Dina and Cliset left the dorm in the evening to go downtown to see their little siblings. Apparently there were more dances in the plaza. Now, last time I was totally impressed and enjoyed watching the traditional dancing. But this time, it was the same thing except the elementary kids were dancing. Wait, you mean little kids dressed up in traditional clothing dancing around the plaza? Yes. Alright, I never, EVER use this word but I cannot help it. It was the cutest thing I have ever seen. I now see where the older kids learned their intricate dances. They start very young. They made lots of mistakes, but no one cared. They were amazing.

Little dancers

Thursday we went to the elementary school to watch the longer versions of each dance. I was happy I was not offered alcohol this time.

Afternoon dances

Finally, a video!!

Friday night I headed out to Cusco to watch the Australian Rules Football Grand Final. It is the equivalent to the Super Bowl in Australia. Geelong was playing Collinwood at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds. That is the same venue and the same teams I watched play in 2006 when I visited Andy there. It was a GREAT game. I really think AFL would catch on in the United States if the NFL wasn’t already so big.

Monday morning I finally decided to head to the clinic. Three months of “stomach” problems had worn me out. The clinic is 20 minutes away in Urubamba. The results came back that I had giardia. Good times. After a prescription for 3 days of parasite meds hopefully I won’t be sharing my meals anymore.

That afternoon, the girls showed up with yet another monster fraction assignment. It was adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. They had 17 problems and they were due the following day. I couldn’t believe it. Now, I have had frustration with the teachers here before, but this was too much. I expressed how ridiculous it was to expect them to do it in one day and that their teacher must be crazy. I was greeted with quiet stares. Finally one of the girls spoke up, “We got this assignment last Thursday.” I was so upset. We could have been working on it for the past few days, but instead I only had time to go through about eight of the problems. It helped me to realize even though I think these girls are doing so well and learning a lot, they are still teenage girls. They still procrastinate, goof-off, and aren’t perfect. Life here isn’t a fairytale, it is real. But after a stern talking-to, it turned out to be a good lesson and it won’t happen again.

Tuesday morning Noah called me up asking if I wanted to go on a motorcycle trip. Um, yeah! We headed up a few thousand feet through Urubamba and past a large lake located below the mountains. We traveled a few hours around in a big loop and I ended up traveling on this amazing dirt road back through the valley below Socma. The views were amazing as I wound down through the hairpins to the bridge below. I returned around 3:45 pm, and passed a group of 4 girls walking back up to Socma. These were girls who weren’t lucky enough to be accepted into the Sacred Valley Project. School ends at 1:30, so they had been walking for 2 hours, and still had the entire mountain to climb. That is a tough daily routine.

New stickers! (I know Che is cliche, but I had to do it.)

Lake between Cusco and Urubamba

Winding down to the valley below Socma

For the nine girls who attend school at Ollantay, the week ended early. They had no school on Thursday and Friday. Now, why could school be cancelled this time? Hmmm… Another anniversary? Power outages? A religious festival? A teacher strike? Nope. It was the “Teacher Olympics”. I guess the teachers spent two days competing in different olympic-style events. So no school.

On Friday morning, only Nohemi and Maria Elena were left at the dorm. I was awoken from sleep at 5:30 am to knocking on the front door. I ran downstairs and opened it to see the two girls and Maria. They came over to the volunteer house because they had to basically flee the dorm. It was the official date the dorm was supposed to be empty from the corrupt lawsuit. They made it look abandoned and put a huge chain around the gate. Apparently city officials and lawyers were stopping by to make sure everyone had moved out. We haven’t heard anything so hopefully everything went well and we can still stay there until December when the school year is over.

Friday afternoon we had a fundraising meeting. We are going to use for our first big push to raise funds. We have a sponsor who will match funds up to $3500. So that is our goal and hopefully it is successful. We hope to have it up and running in a week, and I most certainly will be asking for help on this blog. Stay tuned.

One of my hopes for this blog was to show pictures of my daily life in Ollantaytambo. Well, I haven’t done that, but my fellow volunteer Ana has done a great job of documenting those kinds of things. Her blog is worth a read:

1 comment:

Kristen Dyke said...

CUTE!! you willingly used the word!!!