Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Counting down the days in Peru (posted by Kie)

From attending a wedding on Friday evening, buying office furniture for Casa Mosqoy, purchasing decorations for Saturday’s graduation and induction ceremony, and possibly spraining my big toe during a soccer game yesterday, the past few days in Cuzco have definitely not been boring.

On Wednesday night of last week, Adrian, one of the Peru leaders invited me to attend a local wedding on Friday in Cuzco. I accepted his invitation to attend as I thought it would be an interesting cultural experience and I haven’t been to a wedding for a very long time (I think I attended one when I was about 4 or 5 years old, but I don’t remember much of it since I was so young). The wedding was of a classmate of three of the Peru leaders, Adrian, Rolando and Ebhert. The wedding was supposed to start at 5 p.m. but we didn’t end up leaving the house until just after 6 p.m. I thought that we were going to be late but the wedding ceremony didn’t end up starting until 7:30 p.m. so it all worked out in the end.

The hall where the wedding ceremony was held was quite spacious and the ceremony was very nice. Originally, I was a bit worried about my attire since I didn’t bring any formal clothes to Peru but there were quite a few people who were casually dressed (in jeans and/or track jackets) so thankfully I wasn’t underdressed in the end. Though Elvira and I didn’t know the bride or groom, we were invited to the stage to take photos with the bride and groom which was pretty funny.

Afterwards we headed to the reception hall (at the School of Journalism) which was decorated really nicely in purple and white. The party started off with some dancing followed by the throwing of the bouquet and some speeches by the bride, groom and a few of their family members. At around 11 o’clock, dinner consisting of lechon (roasted pork) with beet salad, a type of potato and a corn dish was served, accompanied by pisco sours and chicha morada (a purple corn drink). Dinner was followed by more dancing and cake at around 12:30 a.m.

The next day, Elvira and I were supposed to wake up at 7 a.m. in order to go and buy furniture for the leaders’ office in Casa Mosqoy but considering the late night, we didn’t end up waking up until 9 a.m. First, we headed to the internet café to check our e-mail and I saw that I had received an e-mail from Reanna about an Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility (IFAD) grant that Mosqoy is applying for and for which the Peru leaders would have to write a letter regarding how Mosqoy assists and empowers indigenous people and communities in Peru. After checking our e-mails, we headed to El Mercado Molino to scope out the furniture. Thinking that maybe there might be cheaper furniture at El Baratillo in Santiago, a market held on Saturdays infamous for the sale of stolen goods, we decided to head there (but not to buy stolen goods). After looking at many tables and chairs, we settled on purchasing a big table and four chairs from a shop that was somewhat arbitrarily chosen (it was pretty hard deciding where to buy from since all of the wood furniture at all of the stores seemed pretty similar).

The next half an hour was spent trying to chase down a taxi that would be willing to drive us back to Casa Mosqoy with all of the furniture. Elvira walked up the street a little bit in the hopes of that it would be a bit easier to catch a taxi while I guarded the furniture. 5-10 minutes later Elvira was in the passenger seat of a taxi and had negotiated with the taxi driver that he would drive us to Casa Mosqoy for 9 soles.

The next morning at 8:30 a.m. the leaders and I started our work on the IFAD letter on the rooftop patio of Casa Mosqoy. It was interesting to see how the leaders articulated their ideas and worked together. We ended up working until approximately noon when we decided to go to the Lima vs. Cuzco futbol game at the main stadium in Cuzco. We took a cab to the stadium and bought our tickets for the game. I was really excited to watch the game since I had been wanting to watch a futbol game in Cuzco before leaving the city. It was a great game since there is a high amount of rivalry between Lima and Cuzco and the Cuzco fans in the front had some red gas that they released (which I hope and believe was harmless!) as well as threw toilet paper on the field while jumping around and cheering.

After the futbol game, the leaders and I had a late lunch and later that night, after I went to visit my homestay family, we worked on the IFAD letter a bit more but as it became quite late and everybody was tired, we agreed to finish the letter the following night.

On Monday morning, I gave Elvira and Ebhert their official letters regarding their acceptance to come to Canada, study English at the University of Victoria, and give workshops/speeches about Peruvian indigenous culture. When I gave Elvira her letter, she smiled and said “Que chevere!” (How great!). I am really excited for Elvira and Ebhert to come to Canada as I think it will be such a great opportunity for them both and I am hoping to give them a tour of Vancouver when they come in January!

After giving Elvira and Ebhert their acceptance letters, I met up with Lindsay to write an Education Generation speech in Spanish after which I did some computer work.
That night, the leaders and I finished writing the IFAD letter and sent it to Reanna, Mosqoy’s Canada-Peru liaison. We all felt pretty good about the end result since everybody worked together as a team and were able to express what they wanted to say in the letter.

Tuesday involved purchasing decorations for the Graduation and Induction Ceremony that is coming up this Saturday and teaching a semi-private English class to Elvira, Ebhert and Adrian. After the students cleaned the house and their rooms and bathrooms, 10 of us went to play soccer. Mariela, one of the students, ended up kicking the ball too hard and it went over the fence into the city streets below. Alex and Elmer ran to get another ball from the house and we continued playing though about 15-20 minutes later, I kicked one of Adrian’s shins too hard and hurt my big toe on my right foot quite badly (I think it may actually be sprained) so I had to sit out the rest of the game.

After the game and dinner, the leaders and I made a few short thank-you videos for my law firm, Koffman Kalef LLP, who donated a great deal of funds to Mosqoy and Education Generation and were incredibly supportive of me coming over here to volunteer. Making the videos was pretty funny as the Peru leaders struggled with pronouncing “Koffman Kalef”. I told them that some people back home also have problems with pronouncing the name of the firm.

Following the making of the videos, we went over the Graduation and Induction Ceremony agenda for Saturday and assigned speaking roles for everyone.

As you can see, it’s been a very busy week for me and the next few days will also be packed!

Tonight I am holding a trivia night for the students at the house; tomorrow is the final Mosqoy 4 meeting during which we will make the final preparations for the Graduation and Induction Ceremony and the soccer and volleyball tournament; Saturday is the Graduation and Induction Ceremony; Sunday is the community-wide soccer and volleyball tournament; and finally Monday is my last night in Casa Mosqoy so we’ll probably have a party of sorts!

It’s really incredible how quickly the fellowship has passed by and I’ll be sad to leave!

The Reception

Our table with the bride

The boys, Rolando, Adrian and Ebhert with the bride and maid of honour

Sunday morning meeting to write the letter to the Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility

We needed some entertainment (Rolando and Ebhert dancing; Rolando has a shirt on his head to display that he is playing the woman in this dance)

When we lost our soccer ball...

Group photo at the basketball court which we use to play soccer