Monday, 25 May 2015
Cuzco: A City of Firsts
WRITTEN BY: Luke Sheepway
First Day of School.
Getting up at 7:00am on a Monday morning had become a very foreign concept for most of us since school had finished. However through the onset tiredness and gloomy weather there was a feeling of excitement and also nervousness. As we got to the taxi’s to take us up the mountain to school we became aware, for some, it wouldn't be like any taxi we’ve taken before. Three brave souls opted to sit rear facing in the back off the taxi to get a view few have seen. The ride up the mountain through small villages and stretches of farm land only takes about 10 minutes and costs around S./ 7, which is roughly just above $2Au.
Arriving at the school for the first time was a daunting experience and nothing could prepare us for what was to come. As the nine of us walked through this big blue door we were immediately greeted by the faces of many young kids sitting in chairs on their somewhat rugged football (soccer) field. Out of the blue, one small boy maybe 7 years old runs from his chair shouting “Amigos” and continues to basically crash hug into Luke. Before we all knew it, we were surrounded by little kids asking for hugs and to be picked up, some of us even thought they gained a bit of muscle from all the lifting. We were then gifted with a special mothers day performance from every grade in the school, was truly wonderful to watch. We didn't get to start teaching on Monday, but we were all keen for Wednesday.
First Day of Construction.
For those who don’t know, our construction project we’re undertaking during our stay in Peru is building a kitchen for a local kindergarten/pre-school. Before I go on, all of us want to thank everyone who donated and helped out. Together we raised well over $5000au! The foundations of the kitchen were already built and our job over the next two months is to plaster, concrete, build a roof and path to kitchen and hopefully if we have time, paint. The first day of construction was long, tiring, hot, hard and pretty much any word meaning strenuous. We arrived and walked up a hill only about 30 meters long, not very steep and were already out of breathe. It was at that point we knew it’d be tough. At the top of the hill waiting for us was roughly around 2000 strips of bamboo waiting for our gracious presence to be stripped, by hand. Four hours later, with cuts, splinters and the occasional blister, we managed to get through about 2/3 of the bamboo, a solid effort by everyone. It was all worth it as the week before the group discovered a small little cafe near the heart of the city which serves probably the best milkshakes I have ever seen or had the pleasure of drinking. We will surely be there a few times a week.
First Day Teaching.
I would be lying if I said it was easy, and I also would be lying if I said I didn't gain a lot of respect for teachers, especially after thinking about the way some of us acted in school. Teaching young kids in general can be difficult as they love to talk and scream and cant really sit still, but teaching young kids in a different language is a new challenge all together. From feed backs from the three teaching groups all in all it was a good starting point and was also a lot of fun. Preparing fruit salad and teaching hygiene to the kids is an experience all in itself. It makes you realise how unsanitary third world countries can be and also respect the efforts made by the teachers to teach the young kids the importance of washing their hands and eating clean food.
The title of this segment pretty much says it all. Lost. It was our first Saturday outing as a group and we decided we’d go Quad Biking through the Sacred Valley on a guided tour. The day started out pretty rough with a 6:30am wake up but after around 40 minutes on a minibus we arrived in an area with snowy mountains and vast gorges. It was a beautiful ride in and we were all very excited for the quad biking. After everyone had been given their quad bikes and helmets (of course), we took off around this gorgeous flat lake with a backdrop of snowy mountains. After circling the lake and taking photos down near the water, the group made its way into a small town.
Just to repeat myself, all of us want to thank everyone who donated and helped out. Together we raised well over $5000!