On Monday I arrived at Casa Mosqoy at around 1 p.m. with my bags only to find that I could not open the door with the key that Elvira, one of the Peru leaders, had lent me. I knocked on the door to see if anyone was home and could open the door from the inside. Dina, one of the students, came running downstairs and I asked her whether she could open the door from her side. She said that extra security had been put in the door (which I may have put in by accident by turning the key in the lock so many times) and therefore she could not open the door.
After trying to open the door multiple times from my side, I asked whether anyone would be coming home from lunch and could possibly open the door. Dina responded that ‘yes, there should be other students coming home soon’ and ran up to the second floor where her room was in order to keep a look out for any students that might be arriving. Approximately 5 minutes later, she saw Sandra get off a combi and called to her to come to the house and help open the door. However, Sandra did not hear Dina and started walking down a street away from the house. I asked Dina for Sandra’s phone number so that I could call her and when Sandra picked up, I asked her if she could come to the house since I could not get in.
Sandra showed up a couple of minutes later and she tried opening the door for about 10 minutes but could not. I decided to call Adrian, the Peru leader in charge of house supervision, and he mentioned that he had another set of keys in his room that might work. However, they did not work either. After another twenty minutes of attempting to open the front door from both sides, we finally managed to open it which was a great relief. In other news, living at Casa Mosqoy has been fun though a bit noisy (people really like to blast their music here!) and there is no aguas calientes (ie. hot water).
Coming from a developed country, I have been spoiled with always being able to access hot water so it is definitely difficult to shower in ice-cold water. Just the thought of it makes me shiver! At times there is also no running water: though you can turn the tap upstairs to get the water running, the leaders and students turn it off at certain times during the day so that they don’t use it all up. The house definitely needs a lot more amenities including a fridge, shelves/cupboards to put food and kitchen supplies in, an oven, perhaps a microwave and more furniture in general. I am thinking about doing a fundraiser or two when I get back home specifically for these amenities.
After I moved in, Elvira, Mariela and Yolanda helped me set up my bed and at 8 p.m. we had a Casa Mosqoy meeting to discuss the cleaning of the house, the new Mosqoy rules and the invitations for the Graduation and Induction Ceremony next Saturday. The students agreed to buy the invitations the following day and to go to Ollantaytambo on Wednesday afternoon in order to distribute the invitations.
The next morning, Elvira and I went to visit Lindsay in La Clinica San Jose as she had contracted salmonella. I was happy to see the Lindsay looked and felt a lot better. A few of us had been urging her to visit the clinic for awhile but alas, due to her stubbornness, she did not go as soon as she probably should have. After visiting Lindsay at the clinic, Elvira and I went to Western Union to withdraw the funds to pay the institutions for the students. We had to wait there for awhile and after we received the cheques to withdraw the funds from Scotiabank, we decided to grab some lunch before heading to meet Mariela and Yolanda to choose and design the invitations.
Following lunch, Elvira and I went to Scotiabank to withdraw the funds for the institutes. I was happy to have a secure “secret” flap in my backpack to hold all of the 17,487 soles! We headed to Antonia Lorena and Khipu to pay them. At Khipu, we were told to come back at 5 p.m. because in the past, Mosqoy had obtained a discount for all of the students since they are affiliated with an NGO, but the person receiving payments could not authorize the discount and so we had to wait for Senora Violetta who approves any and all discounts (I will admit this was just a teensy bit frustrating since it was probably my fourth or fifth time at Khipu in the past week).
That night, the leaders and I held an impromptu meeting with some of the students in order to determine who should be invited to the Graduation and Induction Ceremony. We wanted to make sure to invite some important members of the Sacred Valley such as the mayors of Ollantaytambo and Urubamba. The previous mayor of Ollantaytambo attended the Graduation Ceremony last year so we are hoping that David Canal, the current mayor of Ollantaytambo, will be able to attend the Graduation and Induction Ceremony this year.
On Thursday evening, I held a leadership session with the Peru leaders where three of the leaders gave 5-10 minute speeches on a topic of their choice. Adrian spoke about technology and different communication methods; Rolando spoke about the problem of tourism in Cuzco; and Elvira spoke about the maltreatment/abuse of children. It was interesting listening to their opinions and seeing how they communicated differently. Each of us also filled out evaluations about each speech so that all of them can see what their strengths and weaknesses are.
Following the speeches, we discussed constructive criticism and I asked the leaders to think of different situations and how constructive criticism could be applied to those situations. Rolando asked how constructive criticism could be used in a situation where people disagreed on the number of guinea pigs to bring to a Graduation Ceremony (for example, if some people thought that one guinea pig should be provided by every person and if some people thought that one guinea pig should be provided for every two people). Elvira said that in this situation she would ask whether everyone wanted to eat and if so, they would have to each bring a guinea pig. Then the leaders asked me what I would do, to which I responded that I would probably ask everyone to vote and the majority would decide the outcome.
At the end of the leadership meeting, I asked the leaders to each write their name on the bottom of a piece of blank paper and pass the piece of paper to the left, after which each person had to write a couple of phrases expressing what they valued about the person whose name was written on the bottom of the paper. For example, a couple of things that the leaders wrote on my piece of paper include: “I like your behaviour with us [the leaders], the students and the way that you use to express yourself” and “I like that you are happy, very interesting, tolerant and a person who collaborates a great deal with others”. It was a really positive way to end the leadership session and I think that in general, people don’t compliment each other enough which is why I really enjoyed doing this exercise.
The next couple of days will be filled with buying furniture for the Casa Mosqoy office, my final leadership session with the leaders and holding a trivia night for the students.
I’d like to end this blog post on a happy note – more than half the money has been raised to bring two of the Peru leaders, Elvira and Ebhert, to Victoria and Vancouver next January! They will be in Victoria to study English and also give workshops and speeches about traditional Peruvian Andean culture.
Just another fiesta (in Ollantaytambo, August 15)
Monday morning in Ollantaytambo (August 15)
A box of suggestions, compliments and comments for Casa Mosqoy that I made on Tuesday morning
The invitations for the Graduation and Induction Ceremony (quite happy with how these turned out)
Inside the invitations
Charades on Tuesday night at Casa Mosqoy
Me, Dina, Mariela and Yolanda during charades on Tuesday night
Adrian, Ebhert, Alex and Rolando H. during charades on Tuesday night