Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Big Sunday reunion

Our Sunday began by Gerry (who is an ESL teacher from UVIC volunteering here with Mosqoy) and I taking a local bus to Pisac for some shopping in the popular Pisac artisans´ market. Spent about 3 hours haggling and bargaining and left with 6 pairs of gloves made out of alpaca wool for souvenirs, a tuc and a new bag and all for $20!

We then took the same bus back to Cuzco and I moved my stuff to the family where I’ll be staying at this week.

Sunday night we had a big reunion with all of the students at the Mosqoy house, and Raul ordered pizza for everyone. It was a big meeting which lasted for over 4 hours, with lots of stuff discussed with the students. I video taped most of the meeting, but because of the size of the video files and the slow speed of the Peruvian internet, I unfortunately can’t upload any of the videos to this blog. I’m hoping to post a whole bunch once I return to Canada.

The meeting started off by everyone introducing themselves, which I have videotaped as well. On Sept 13 the group is planning to go on a day trip with everyone, so the students were voting on where they wanted to go. After some discussion everyone agreed to go to Lares for a day trip.

Ashley and Raul introduced the two new positions with Mosqoy which I wrote about earlier: the Resident Advisor position and the Volunteer coordinator position. The students seemed pretty interested at first, but there were concerns regarding what if someone is chosen as an RA and is not liked by others. I think the students thought of this as having someone who’s going to boss them around and “tell on them” to Raul and Ashley, and didn’t really understand the concept of an “advisor”. Some students were coming up to Ashley after the meeting expressing their concerns as well. I think once we explained to them the reason for having an advisor and their role of a liaison between Mosqoy and the students, everyone seemed to be on board.

Ashley and Raul talked more about how the selection process will go this year, changes to the contract for the new students that will be selected this year (the requirements will basically become stricter, i.e. they are implementing three warnings system where if you don’t follow the rules of the program/the house you will be issued a warning and after three warning the student will get kicked out of the program; another change involved including the requirement to complete minimum volunteer hours in the community for all new students going forward). One student, Dina Alvarez (she’s also featured on Education Generation website and is studying nursing had some good ideas for volunteering: she really wanted to get students together to clean up the river in Ollantaytambo, where there’s a lot of plastic and garbage in the river.

I then introduced Education Generation to the whole group, explained the reason for my visit, talked to them about setting up interviews for the following week and about visiting some of their classes at the Institute. Most of the students are currently studying at the Institute called Americana, and like 85% of them are studying tourism or hotel management.

After my introduction Gerry, who is an ESL teacher from UVic and who will be holding English classes for Mosqoy students, introduced himself and talked about setting up classes for the following weeks.

After having spent almost one week with the students I notice how close the students are with each other, especially the ones that live at the Mosqoy house. They are constantly picking on each other, making jokes, nudging, touching and hugging each other, which is so cute to see. The students were shy at first, I think it took them a couple of days to warm up to me (I guess the language barrier doesn’t help either), but now they seem to be pretty comfortable with me. They are all very warm and kind, and every single one of them has a very special and unique story which I’m looking forward to finding out next week.

The meeting was held at the Mosqoy house. This is the front room that can be used by everone, i.e. by the other tenants of the house as well. Mosqoy occupies part of the first floor and shares it with a security company. Mosqoy has four bedrooms, three of which have two bunkbeds with 4 students sharing each room. One of the rooms has only two beds, and 6 students share the two beds, whcih i haven´t quite figured out how it works. There are two bathrooms in the house, and a kitchen without a refrigerator (which is apparently common in Peru). Two students who are studying computer science have computers in their rooms. Gerry also brought a laptop which was donated by UVic to the students. The house is located in the neighborhood called Kennedy A, close to the airport and a 10 min cab ride to the center, and is on a street which has 24 hour security, so it´s pretty safe for the students. The students are responsible for paying for their own utilities, they have internet at the house and rent is paid for by Mosqoy. In the upstairs part there is a hostel where Ashley and I will be staying most of the time and where we spent our first few days in Cuzco.

Me trying on my new tuc at Pisac

Students signing up for the Education Generation interviews.

Corn and wool dyes at the Pisac market

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