May 27th, 2011
Today we had school, like usual. But today we had a test! I’m not exactly sure what the tests are for, probably just for our teachers to check our progress, but I felt very confident while taking it, so that was a good sign. As usual, after class the majority of the group quickly ran over to the Metro supermarket to grab something for lunch, portable enough to eat in the taxi on the way to the Air Force school. Despite the school being hard to find, the taxi drivers have been very accommodating, pulling over numerous times to ask for directions. We are all starting to get the hang of the routine and riding in taxis here is becoming less and less intimidating as the days pass.
I really enjoyed the class my group and I taught today at the school. The kids were all about sixteen years old, and very excited to talk to us. When Brielle, Kim, Amy, and I first walked we were greeted by a boy sitting atop a wooden box and beating it like a drum, accompanied by another boy on a recorder type instrument. Then a girl and a boy got up from their seats and danced for us, and soon they pulled each of us in the circle and showed us some Peruvian dance moves. The surprises did not end there. Waiting on the table for us was a traditional Peruvian dish made up of boiled potatoes, olives, and lettuce, topped with a cheese sauce with a nice kick to it. This was appropriate since our lesson plan for this week has been to talk to the kids about food. So while having the opportunity to try the food the kids had prepared for us, we were able to discuss the similarities between American and Peruvian foods.
After teaching we went to another lecture at the Air Force school. I enjoyed this lecture a lot. We discussed transculturation, the mix of Spanish traditions with Peruvian traditions. Also, we learned about the social structure of years back which places the Spaniards at the top of the hierarchy, followed by Creoles and mestizos, then Indians, and lastly Africans and mulattos. I enjoyed learning a bit more about traditions and customs in Peru including Inti Rami, which is the festival of the sun that takes place Cusco and which we are lucky enough to be in Cusco to experience. My favorite thing that we discussed in lecture today was the Peruvian Paso horses. I have been a horse lover all my life and have known about these horses for years, so I really enjoyed hearing our professor talk about these gaited horses, and how they “dance” sometimes even with a woman as a part of a traditional performance.
After class the group reconvened with Monica at a renowned peña in Barranco. Peñas are music clubs in Peru that highlight traditional music and dance in the country. The atmosphere is very exciting and the highlight of the night was definitely when a group of dancers brought some Northeastern students onto the dance floor to participate in a dance where a man and a women chase each other around the dance floor with a candle, attempting to light each other’s butt on fire, followed by them energetically shaking their bodies to extinguish the flame. But now, it’s off to bed. We are meeting at the hostel tomorrow at 7:20am for our day trip to Caral!