Yesterday when we arrived in Ccorao, I knew my family were at the airport about to board a plane to see me – which is very, very exciting. There were only three children already at El Kinder when we got there, it was the day of the independence parade in ccorao and two of the children were dressed in army outfits, the other little girl as a little princess with a beautiful white dress on, a tiara and even a magic wand.
Eventually the other children started arriving, most if them princesses and army men (although one little girl did dress up as the cutest army girl) and then for the children that didn’t have fancy dress, the teachers were ironing nurse and doctors uniforms for them. Then it was mine and Juliet’s turn to help out, we painted Peruvian flags on both of every child’s cheeks and even our own! Then all the little girls needed trencers (plaits) in their hair, two French plaits as the head teacher stated they should have, so I helped out the mums to braid all the little girls hair. Soon they were ready to go and we all walked through Ccorao village, children, parents, teachers and Juliet and me, and lined up waiting for our time in the parade to march through. Juliet and I were at the back with the little princesses, taking photos and twirling them and they were all holding our hands. One little princess, Ester from my class, had worn an orange dress instead of the necessary white one and it was so so pretty but the teachers still made her put a nurse uniform over the top and march with the doctors – Juliet and I felt so bad for her! Then we realised we were needed at the front, we thought maybe it was to keep the little soldiers in order and make sure they were okay carrying the flags, but actually it was because we had a place in the parade!!! The four teachers and us lined up in two lines of three and had I march up ahead of all of the children – Peruvian style marching with straight legs and arms! Juliet and I couldn’t keep straight faces, everyone in the village was watching and taking photos and cheering, the oldest pupils from the school were playing music in the live band (which was fab, they were twirling their drum sticks and doing all sorts of tricks!) all the teachers had suits on and Juliet and I were in our volunteering clothes (hoodies and jeans) with a splodgy Peruvian flag painted on our cheeks, giggling to ourselves! Once we’d passed through the crowd, we waited for all the children to also pass through and they were so great, all concentrating so hard on making sure they were marching properly and showing off to their parents! All the little army people had fake guns and belts and big hats and that didn’t even faze them! Soon our turn in the parade was over, and because I had my big camera with me and had been taking photos, the parents all thought I was the professional photographer or something and all of them were pushing and shoving and fighting to force their child in front of me with a fake smile so that I could take a photo of them! Then there were pictures with their older siblings when their turn in the parade was over, pictures with the teachers, pictures with cousins, pictures with parents, so many pictures!!! They were all practically throwing their dressed up children in front of me – I can’t forget to email the pictures to the school or they’ll be so disappointed!!
Unfortunately the end of the parade also meant the end of the day, our last day as volunteers and we had to say goodbye to the children who didn’t understand why we were being so affectionate, as we’re not coming back. My last hug was to Sandra, my favourite little princess. I was talking to her mum, who is so lovely and bought me a Peruvian independence rosette badge as I had given mine to Sandra, and she asked when I was coming back and even she looked so sad when we explained that we’re not! Hopefully in the future we will be able to but for now, those goodbyes are forever.
Juliet and I then enjoyed our last lunch together in Los Perros, one of our favourite restaurants in cusco. Then the heavens opened and it started absolutely pouring, so we did what basically every backpacker in cusco was doing and headed to Starbucks for a warm drink on a big cosy armchair with our books. Eventually it was time to head back to the house and attempt to start packing (it’s never ever going to all fit) before a last (very emotional dinner) in Basilica (we thought yesterday was our last but it wasn’t) and then back to the house where Juliet have my nails and very needed manicure, with a film and then late night chatting until we both eventually fell asleep.
This morning I haven’t even attempted to keep packing, it’s an impossible task and breakfast was very needed before we start to shove everything into my backpack. It doesn’t even seem real that in a couple of hours I’m going to be reunited with my family but I CANNOT WAIT, and I know as soon as I get into that taxi I’m going to want to scream. They’re on a plane now but land very soon and then all our days will be made when we’re REUNITED!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEK!!!.