Sooo much has happened since my last post, am having a fantastic time out here! Finished Spanish classes last week and the final day was hilarious playing games to test our vocabulary. I´ve got the bare basics and have picked up a lot of vocab, but still a long way to go in terms of stringing sentences together. Did a bit of Salsa at the Spanish school with a fantastic teacher, and have been dancing the night away at Mama Africa, right in the centre of town off the square, a bit of a tourist trap but a really fun place playing a mix of current and past pop music and latin american tunes-great!
The weekend was spent doing some sightseeing and learning more about the Incas, and how they worshipped the sun, and rocks, and much else. How they built such huge walls and moved the rocks so many miles is quite flabergasting. Sacsaywuman is a beautiful sight of steps and rocks fixed deeply into the earth. I´m told that this is nothing compared to the magic of Machu Picchu.
I started my voluntary work at a school in San Sebastian this week, there are 11 children and the teacher Haydee brings her 4 month old son Gonzales to work with her, I did raise an eyebrow on day one when she started breast feeding him in class, but I am used to this now. The 3 years old kids are beautiful and good fun. The school is very poorly resourced so on day 2 I take in some crayons and colouring books for them to keep busy. The 3.5 hour school day usually involves some singing, prayers, colouring in, practicing numbers with lentils and a snack break-I´ve lost count how many oranges I´ve peeled! It breaks my heart that the space is so crammed, there is no where to play and run about, and the only light in the room comes from the front door being kept open as there are no windows. Behind the class is a small courtyard and two rooms where one of the pupils and her mother lives. There are some chickens crammed in a small space. I feel sad but then happy that at least they have food and water and parents to love them, it could be much worse. I´m reminded again of how much we have and how material our world is.
I´m having a superb time with my family, they are quite simply wonderful. I spend a lot of time particularly with Manuel, a 20 year old Medical student. Him and his sister have been on a 3 week break from university where they both live in Lima. We´ve had a few late nights drinking Pisco sour and talking about everything under the sun. Manuel explains to me how people from Cusco literally have bigger hearts as they develop stronger muscles to deal with the altitude, and this is also why they all have rosy red checks-this fascinates me! We drive around town one afternoon to pay some bills, direct debit only works here for mobile phone contracts but not for utility bills so we end up all over town-this is fun. Mum and dad are forever busy as there are also medics, a doctor and nurse. One evening we have a Chinese take away, this is extremely popular here and there are ´Chifa´ reataurants on every corner. The taste is different and unique to Peru, its pretty good!
I keep meeting medics! I spend an evening with a group of American students and we hit the many bars in town and end up in yet again Mama Africa, the place to meet people from all corners of the globe. Today I´m pretty exhausted after getting home at 5am. I´ve been busy preparing for my four day trek to Machu Picchu-is going to be fantastic am dreading the 5.30am start tomorrow. Tonight my family has invited me to go with them to an event out of town, they want it to be a surprise but my brother Manuel has told me he´s going to be dancing, and there will be lots of live music, and folk dancing, his costume looks like nothing I have ever seen before-more to follow on this next time!