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Published: September 16th 2011
Spanish again this morning, and I walked for the first time downtown by myself! I was a bit late, it took a little longer than I thought it would (about 25 minutes) but it wasn´t a big deal, I am the only one in the class. My professor´s name is Miriam and she is really nice and knows enough English to help explain a word or something when I don´t understand, so hopefully these classes will help my spanish. For lunch I went with Joao (the volunteer coordinator) basically across all of Cusco to a tiny Cevicheria. I had just the basic white fish ceviche and I think I have to say it was the best I´ve had so far in my life, it was delicious. We also went to the Molina while we were on that side of town, which is a HUGE ´mall,´ but really is just tons of small stands under one roof selling everything you can possibly imagine.
For work today we went to the boy´s orphanage here in Cusco. It is basically the same as the girl´s orphanage, for boys ages 4-18, and the main thing we do there is play Fútbol! The boys were cute and incredibly excited to play (and they were wayyyy better than I am) and they absoluntely adore Joao. Supposedly the staff at the orphanage isn´t very helpful to volunteers and not even very much to the boys, which is frustrating. There is one boy there who is about to turn 18 and when he does he will have to leave the orphanage, but he has nowhere to go and has no real job skills to prepare him for work life. The orphanage should offer some sort of service to the older boys to help them transition into adult life, but nothing like that exists here, so they end up usually just being back out on the streets not much better off than when they entered the orphanage. It is a never-ending circle of problems and poverty. Our host mom left today so Vivi and I are on our own for the rest of this week (except for the women who come to help around the house and cook us lunch) and then Vivi will go on a Machu Picchu trip over the weekend so I will have to go make some new friends and explore the city a bit.
It is crazy that I have been traveling for over a month and it is September already! But it has been incredible so far and I have had so many incredible experiences. Today was no exception. We left at 8 am this morning (no spanish classes) to drive to the small village of Ccorca about an hour out of Cusco. Usually when we go we will use public transport, but today Maria Jesus and her husband wanted to go along so we went in their car. We began the day at the preschool with 11 adorable little girls and boys. We helped a bit in the school but it was really just playing with the kids and then giving them oranges we had bought and brought with us for snack. Those kids stole my heart again and I would love to have done a homestay out there to work with those kids every day. We went to the elementary school in the afternoon to do some physical education with some of the kids. Each time we go we will work with a different grade level, usually playing fútbol. Today was 6th grade, and just like 6th graders everywhere they were stubborn and didn´t want to do anything (especially the girls). The boys played fútbol with Joao so it was up to Vivi and I to TRY and get the girls to do some exercise. We played dodgeball, cat & mouse, volleyball, kick the ball, and finally hot potato. They got tired of playing each game so quickly it was ridiculous, and they didn´t want to listen to Vivi and I, just Joao because they already knew him as an authority figure. It was difficult, but the girls were really sweet and so funny because they still have a very traditional culture out there where they wear skirts and are covered all the time, so they were all very shy and embarassed about the shorts they had to wear for PE. They also had a great time laughing at my spanish. I kept saying (or trying to say) ´todo´ (everyone) but they heard it as ´toro´ (bull), so they would laugh every time I said it and try to correct me just I just could not figure out the different pronunciacion I was supposed to do, oh well, it was fun.
We got back to Cusco at about 2:30 and Vivi and I did some shopping and made a visit to the post office before heading home. Dinner here is always just bread (the same as breakfast) with jams or cheese but since we missed lunch (the biggest meal of the day) we had the cook save our food for dinner and it was nice to have a bigger dinner again. Vivi and I watched Éat, Pray, Love,´ thankfully it was in english, before going to bed. Tomorrow she leaves at 7 am for Machu Picchu with Joao so I will go to my spanish classes in the morning and then to a birthday party at the orphanage!
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