This morning Juliet and I woke up early as it was our first proper day volunteering and we knew we’d have to master the bus on our own today. At 7.45am we were at the bus stop opposite our house, waiting for our bus. It arrived quite quickly however when we asked if it was going to Ccorao, the village where our kindergarten is, the answer was a firm no and the door was slammed shut. The bus system in Peru is absolutely crazy. The busses are more like mini busses and when they pull up at the bus station, 6 or 7 all pull up at the same time. Each mini bus has a name not a number like in England, and each bus also has a conductor, someone who opens the door as the bus is pulling up, shouting all the names of the different places that the bus is heading to. To even get the bus to stop you have to wave it down like a maniac and then when it pulls up, it only stops if someone is right there waiting to get on. So the minute the 6, 7 or even 8 busses are getting close to a bus stop, the people waiting start waving like mad then running as fast as they can to where they think their bus is going to go, while all the bus conductors are screaming their stops and the bus drivers are beeping madly… and the other cars on the street start beeping as well, as they’ve just been cut off by about 7 busses. It’s all very hectic and confusing and half an hour later, Juliet and I were still standing at the bus stop as we’d missed a few of our busses and when we had managed to get any to stop, we’d been told no when asking about Ccorao (not all of or busses go all the way there).
We gave up then and decided to try a different bus stop, after walking for about 5 minutes in the opposite direction to our previous bus stop, a huge bus (that wasn’t our one) pulled up and we tried our luck asking about Ccorao and it was heading there! So after all that stress we jumped on the bus and got to out volunteering early!
When the niños (children) started arriving at the Kindergarten, we were greeting with huge hugs and shouts of “amigas” “amigas”. Even though they do actually know their names, this is a sign that they all like us and have accepted us as their friends and into their culture! We played with all the children on their small playground (consisting of a slide and monkey bars) and were actually shocked at how monkey like they all are! They climb all the way up the slide without using the stairs and then slide down backwards or upside down or whichever way is not normal! And the same with the monkey bars, they can all do them so easily and climb on top and jump down from the huge height! The school day started with all the children standing in a huge circle and singing some songs, with actions, to begin the day. They sang a welcome song and then a song about getting ready in the morning, before all becoming very patriotic and so loud and screaming the Peruvian national anthem with their hands on their hearts.
After this they all split into their classes to begin their lessons. In my class they all started by singing (again) a welcome song to me and the teacher before she painted a few of the children’s faces with red smears and blew her whistle to indicate an earth quake. I’m guessing it’s similar to schools in England where we’d have a fire drill, but here it’s an earthquake drill. All of the children ran outside with their hands on their heads and got into circles in their classes. Then the children with red smears pretended to be those who had been injured in the earthquake and all the other children started to help them and take them to the hospital (the trees). The children got so into it, acting like doctors, fanning each other with their hats and some of them even pretended to die!
After the earthquake practice it was lesson time again for the children. I spent this time writing out exercising and drawing shape and colour tables in all of their exercise books for tomorrow’s lessons. Then it was break time where the children enjoyed maize and milk soup with biscuits, they literally are hundreds! Juliet and I spent most of the time playing with the children, letting them climb all over us and talking with the teachers. I also had to spend a lot of time with one child, Rayli. He’s a very difficult one and all the teachers are quite weary of him, he doesn’t have a dad and lives alone with his mum and is very very violet. He thumps and hits and kicks the other children and has taken a huge liking to me so unfortunately when I show any of the other children attention he thumps them! It’s so bad and then when I tell him no! he starts to sulk and cry! It’s all very exhausting but the children are so cute and Juliet and I are loving every minute with them.
The next lesson for the children in my class was music and while they all shook maracas, hit drums, blew trumpets and whacked triangles, I carried on with their exercise books. The music lesson, although it was basically a racket, was hilarious as they all tried to play their instruments in tune to the songs they were singing and took it in turns standing up and being the lead musician.
After Kinder, we headed back into the main square, the plaza de armas, in Cusco for some lunch before walking to Spanish school for our lessons and to watch the football semi – final, Argentina v Holland!
Originally Juliet and I wanted Holland to win but after seeing their horrible aggressive players and learning about how important it is for Argentina to win, not only for the country but for it’s economy, we quickly switched to be blue and white supporters. It was a very tense game, going all the way to penalties but Peru and Argentina are “hermanos” (brothers) so thank god Argentina won or we would have been at a Spanish school with a lot of angry South Americans…