Lindsay and I have spent the past few days in Ollantaytambo conducting meetings and interviews with the current and incoming Mosqoy students. Ollantaytambo is a quaint little town and during my time off I have been spending my days here cooking (to be honest, my contribution has mostly been peeling potatoes), walking around and playing Frisbee with one of the children of the family that Lindsay and I have been staying with. On Wednesday I went for a walk a little-ways out of town and on my way back, I managed to come across some unmaintained ruins. After hiking for about 30-40 minutes with no tourists around, I realized that the unmaintained ruins were connected to the “official ruins” which was quite cool and it was interesting to see the contrast between the unmaintained ruins and the official ruins.
In terms of the potential incoming student video-interviews, Lindsay and I have completed three so far (it has been really fun to interview them in Spanish while of course stumbling over the pronunciation of a few words!). In the past two days, we have interviewed Rosmery, Eurelesis and Karina, all young women from the Ollantaytambo area who have recently graduated from high school. The young women are all very mature for their age as they have had much responsibility placed on them at such a young age. For example, while Karina was attending high school, she also had to work and do household chores such as cook and clean since her mother has not lived at home for years and consequently, she has had to support her father and two younger brothers. She noted that even when she moves to Cusco for post-secondary studies, in addition to studying, she plans to work part-time so that she can continue supporting her father and two younger brothers.
Lindsay and I found that all three applicants were very well-spoken and put thought into their answers. They also all seem to genuinely want to help others and their communities and are confident in what they want to study (two of them want to study nursing and one wants to study hotel administration). It was nice to see that they all want to come back to the Ollantaytambo area after they complete their studies in order to give back to their communities. Eurelesis mentioned that she was interested in starting a health program in Ollantaytambo and Karina would like to open up a pharmacy.
Initially I wasn’ t really sure what to expect during the video interviews, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that all of the interviewees so far have been candid and open during their interviews as well as eager to engage with Lindsay and I.
Tomorrow Lindsay, Rolando and I will be hosting a Mosqoy 2, 3 and 4 general meeting (with the students and their parents) to discuss the graduation ceremony, sponsor letters and questionnaires (to monitor the students’ progress). The meeting was announced on the local radio today which was quite exciting!
The market in Ollantaytambo
Me in the kitchen before preparing locro de zapallo
Me in the Ollantaytambo ruins!