Latest update 20th Sept....24th Sept
Trip Start Sep 09, 2010
46Trip End May 28, 2011
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Where I stayed
172 Tanda Pata, San Blas, Cusco, Peru
Back to the Clinica today to work with the class of 5 and 6 year-olds. I have been in that class a couple of times. All started well and then the teacher gestured that she was leaving for 5 minutes to go and use a computer and for me to look after the children. Well surprise surprise she didn`t come back for over an hour. The children were given some books to read but no other activities to keep them occupied. A new boy had joined the class and along with another girl who has behaviour problems the two proceeded to cause chaos....throwing toys around and pencil cases...it was very difficult to control the children. Most sat down and were quiet but as you can imagine when a few cause trouble the rest followed. I was also spat at and hit by one child as I tried to get her to sit down. At times they were ok and I gained some control but then two of them ran out of the classroom. As I have no experience of dealing with special needs kids I really didn`t know what to do. Finally when chasing after two of the kids in the courtyard I lost my patience and in broken espanol tried to explained to another teacher that I`d been left alone in the class and I was only a volunteer. Apparently Jess had told the school I was not a teacher and shouldn`t be left alone for long with the children. Anyway the teacher came back shortly afterwards. After the break we had 3 other people helping in the class which made it much more manageable. But really I wasn┤t sure whether I was the cause because I spoke no spanish the kids were playing up more. Whatever the reason I really didn┤t feel comfortable there at all. This certainly wasn`t what I expected from volunteering.
Carrying on with my 3 remaining spanish lessons as part of the POD package, Not sure how well I am doing,. . Recognise more words but lacking confidence to string a sentence together. Perhaps that will come in time.
Day 12, Tuesday 21st Sept
There was a transport strike today so didn`t go back to the clinica. Emailed POD and Jess who is now back in the UK to say I was`t happy with what had happened at the school at San Juan but would continue to help out at the orphanage. Not sure what I was expecting from the volunteering side of things. I`m just finding it difficult as I don`t speak the language so its hard to communicate and I have little experience of working with children. Perhaps ╠ should have gone for the animal option! But Cusco was lovely and quiet today.The strike was over plans to privatise the water and give priority to Chile or something lke that. Anyway no taxis or cars, so that meant loads of people on the streets as many tourist wouldn`t have been able to get out of the city on tours i.e. to Macchu Picchu so Cusco had a totally different feel duing the day it was quiet and calm. By the time I`d finished my spanish lessons at 6pm it was all back to normal and the hooting sound of car horns and the smog of fumes had returned...
Day 13, Wednesday 22nd Sept
Final `free`Spanish lesson. If I continue it will cost 13 sols an hour about 3 pounds, which isn`t much but I am still trying to stick to my budget of 50 sols a day. I decided to do an hour of grammar and an hour of practical with Camucha and Rosario one day a week to try and keep up what I`ve learnt so far. I wnet to the Real McCoy`s for the weekly pub quiz. I joined the South American Explorers team again and we won! We did badly the first 3 rounds but in the final half we got 29 out of 30 thanks to the fact we had yanks and South Americans on the team and the questions were more geared towards them then the Europeans or Antipodeans taking part.Anyway we didn`t complain and won a nice bottle of wine to celebrate with. We then went for a drink (my first experience of a Cuscon bar) it was cool...bed by 1am my latest night out!
Day 14, Thursday 23rd Sept
Went back to the Clinica and spent the afternoon with the children in the orphanage and was there for about 3.5 hours. There isn`t really much to do with the children and no other volunteers. I think previous volunteers have brought games for the children to play with but it is really up to you to decide what to do. No-one gives you any help or ideas but the nurses are friendly and I think they just appreciate an extra pair of hands especially at teatime.
I then went to a social event at the Cusco Clubhouse in the evening. It was a spiritual ceremony led by an Inca shamen who was there to bless the ground. He performed a Despacho ceremony which is a unique way of connecting with the energy and spirits of nature. Generally, it is done to honor Mother Earth, or “Pachamama".
It was an interesting event, not sure how connected I felt to the earth but it was nice to be given the opportunity to bless family and friend as well as to wish for good things for myself...Afterwards went for food with Doris, Mary and Isobel. There really are some nice restaurants in Cusco but sooo many to choose from, there must be hundreds as well as bars and cafes. This place really does cater for tourists. You can only imagine how badly affected the city must have been when Machu Picchu was closed, it must have been like a ghost town.
Day 15, Friday 24th Sept
Spent the morning in a cafe that has internet and printing facilities to sort out lesson plans for teaching in Chincheros next week. I am worried that I just won`t be any good as there is definitely a skill to teaching. I know young gap year students appear to teach all over the world but I would at least like some lesson plans to work from. All I can say is thank god for the internet othersiwe I wouldn`t know what to do...well I still don`t but will have to give it a go.
Ended up skyping Nick and my brother as it was around 7pm UK time so that was nice. But a pretty quiet evening as getting ready for my big trip to Machu Picchu....