To teach or not to teach that is the question.....

Trip Start Sep 09, 2010
Trip End May 28, 2011

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monday 27th September

Louise Birch, an ex colleague at the University of Chichester was due into Cusco today. Iīd tried to text her but messages donīt seem to work in Peru, so I decided to go down to the hotel she was staying at and leave a message so we could try and meet up later in the day. As I was walking from San Blas into the main square I spotted her - they had only just arrived!! What a coincidence. We had a quick chat before I headed off for Spanish Lessons and we arranged to meet just after 4pm. Really not sure about the spanish lessons, Iīm now paying for them myself. They cost 13 soles per hour which is about 3 pounds. So not expensive and I thought Iīd do one hour of grammar and one of conversation but donīt feel like iīm getting anyway. Donīt even feel comfortable with the basics although I do recognise more words especially when Iīm watching cable tv and programmes with spanish subtitles. Anyway met up with Louise, her hubby and another couple. I'm terrible with names, Louise if you are reading this big apologies but Iīve forgotten your friends names, however they were lovely and we had a nice evening drinking pisco sour and alapca. Louise et al had been to the Galapagos Islands, the pictures of all the seals and birds were amazing. I have to say I think Louiseīs friends have got the right idea they spend 9 months of the years in Spain and 3 months in the UK in our summer. Not bad eh!

Tuesday 28th September

Nearly booked a 4 day trip to the Manu jungle today. Went into the travel agents that Jess recommended very near the hotel where I first lived. There were doing a discounted trip for $300 but it was leaving next Monday. Wasnīt sure I could commit to this because of the volunteer work. But email POD and they said it was ok to do trips. Didnīt have the cash on me and was going to Chichero to teach so said Iīd go back the next day.  This was my first day of proper if you can call it that teaching.  I was a bit weary about gettting the collectivo to Chinchero and try to get home so Rafael, Jessīs Peruvian husband, kindly offered to take me there and back!  By the time you get the taxi down to street where you pick up the Collectivo, you then have to wait until it is full which is four in the back and one in the front, before it heads off so it can take well over an hour from door to Chinchero. Got there are 3pm but no-one was there, eventually we go let in and the kids arrived by 3.30pm so only one and a half hours of teaching. The childrenīs english is pretty basic, so a lesson plan that my teacher friend Jan gave me was probably a bit too advanced for them. I have four of them, girls aged from 7 to 16. Anyway we did introductions and I got them to draw pictures of themselves with information about their name, age etc. It was good to have Rafael there to translate for me but of course he wonīt be there at every lesson. For the last half an hour we played a bilingual word game which the kids really liked. Feel totally out of my depth and a bit of a fraud really as I donīt really know what Iīm doing. And as i lack Spanish I have to speak in English all the time which can be challenging as sometimes they just donīt have a clue! Oh well can only do my best and hope they learn a few things in the time Iīm here. They are sweet kids though and I got a hug and kiss from all of them at the end of the lesson - ah.

Wednesday 29th September

Slept really well think Iīm still tired after Machu Picchu but the teaching is stressing me out, having to come up with lesson plans - thank god for the internet and numerous ESL sites otherwise Iīd be totally buggered! The problem with doing the teaching is although it is only a few hours a couple of times a week Iīm using lots of time preparing lessons and doing photocopying etc. It means that I only have one afternoon that I can do at the clinica with the special needs kids.  Today I was supposed to go and pay for the Manu jungle trip but ended up bumping into Fiona the scottish lady I had met at the Real McCoy pub quiz, Actually it was her boyfriend who recognised me as I was walking from San Blas into town. Fiona was in a travel agents got talking about the jungle and she recommended that Tambopata was a better jungle, I thought Iīd go with her recommendation, I can blame her if its rubbish. But anyway its the same price as Manu and staying in a lodge called the which looks really nice. No electricity apparently so not sure how Iīll cope but will take the hairdryer just in case!!! This is sure to be an experience never been to the jungle before canīt wait. I will be leaving on 12th October, Mum and Dadīs 42nd wedding anniversary. Met up with Louise and friends at the Real McCoy in the evening for the pub quiz. They were all heading off on the 4 day Inca trek up to Machu Picchu the next day so we didnīt  have a late on. We did ok in the quiz but the SAE team with Si on it won again. Hope to catch up with Louise again before they leave on the Monday for Lima before flying home. Its so nice to see familar faces, almost feels like home.

Thursday 30th September

This was my first attempt at getting the collectivo to and from Chichero by myself. I knew that if it proved difficult and I felt vulnerable then I would knock it on its head but I managed to do it. Got to the weaving centre just outside of Chinchero just before 10am and spent a couple of hours with Roxanna and the other weavers. Roxanna actually speaks and understands English quite well so we talked through the weaving and dying process. What I plan to do is to try and produce a marketing leaflet for them which they can give to tourists visiting and can also be distributed in Cusco. I took lots of photos all I need is to write up the words, ensure Roxanna is happy with them, will need a translation and then my good buddie Roy a wonderful designer at the University of Chichester kindly said heīd design it for me. Hopefully weīll have time to get this all sorted, as Sally the manager at the Real McCoy said she double what I put into getting them printed. Watch this space.

After teaching I flagged down a collectivo on its way back to Cusco. When we got back to the city I thought I needed to get another taxi to get me back to the main plaza as each time thatīs what Iīd done, but this local lady who had been in the car with me, gestured that it would only take 10 mins to walk there and she was right. She lived in Chichero but came to San Blas ever day to sell her weaving products. Even though she spoke very little English and me pocco espanol we chatted all the way to Plaza de Armas.She has now helped me save 3 soles per journey as I no longer need to get a taxi to get me to the collectivo - the walk from my hostal takes around half an hour. The road I need is just off Avenue de Sol one of the main roads in Cusco. When I am walking down that particulary road which is off the main tourist trail,  I am one of a handful of gringos (white tourists) I tell you Iīve never walked so much in life as I do in Cusco especially as Iīve had a car nearly every year bar a couple since the age of 17, but it is nice to get out there in the fresh air and walk amongst the locals.

As I was back early I ended up going to a local restaurant that Louise and friends had visited and recommended. It was only 4 soles for 3 courses. For that you the īmenuī which consists of soup, chicken and rice and a drink - not back for one pound! Went to an internet cafe and wrote up my notes from the women. Using information gleamed from other websites and another leaflet I picked up have already typed up the text for them to use. I plan to do farm animals with the kids tomorrow and get them singing Old Macdonald has a farm - god help them!  Just seen the State of Emergency that has kicked off in Ecquadorīs capital Quito on CNN...not somewhere I plan to go but a bit disconcerting although thankfully it didnīt last for long.

Friday 1st October

Blimey I canīt believe it is October already. The longer I am here the quicker times seems to be going.  Got to Chichero early around 2.45pm and some of the girls were waiting for me. Again I think that my lesson plan was maybe too advanced for them and that really we need to concentrate on the very basics, but I donīt want them to get bored as for me 2 hours is a long time to fill. Anyway we did animals and Rivaldo, Roxanaīs son actually found a CD with Old MacDonald has a Farm on it, so we managed to get the CD player working and had a musical version accompanying my bad signing. Not sure they really understood but it was quite amusing. The weather was awful, thundering and lightening it was a bit scary in the little classroom we use, and I prayed it would finish by the time I went home as I didnīt have my rain coat or umbrella.  Thankfully it did. I had to wait 10 mins before I hopped on a touristica bus which was heading to Cusco.  By the time I got back it was after 6pm so I popped down to Real McCoy for some food. I was desperate for a beer thought I deserved it having completed my first week of teaching...but there was a bloody alcohol ban for the weekend because of the elections. Can you believe it. It is compulsory to vote in Peru I think you get fined and prison if you donīt and for some reason they donīt let you drink in the run up....I couldnīt believe it but Sally was there and as no other customers I sat around the back and had a sneaky beer. Some pubs and clubs were closing for the weekend though as if any were caught selling alcohol they could be closed for up to six months.

Saturday 2nd October

Well off white water rafting today. Nearly thought about not doing it. The last time I did it was in Nepal 16 years ago I was a tad bit younger. It was never something I wanted to do but went with it. I did actually enjoy it but one of the guys in our boat actually fell out and we didnīt have helmets on. It was pretty scary as he hurled through the rapids heading towards the rocks. Thankfully we got him but I always thought. Been then got the t-shirt and survived donīt really want to do it again. So here I am but in the end I thought what the heck. The organisers said the rapids were only level 3 so not particularly hard.  Had to be there for 9am and then we had a 2 hours bus ride to the river. there were 7 of us who went with the company Mayuc Rafting, who are a reputable company.  Me the only Brit, an Israeli couple, 2 Brazilians, one Peruvian woman and a canadian girl.  This time we were kitted up properly. We wore wet suits, my first time, not very flattering on a girl I can assure you, life jackets and helmets.  We were lucky with the weather it was sunny and blue skies ideal for rafting.  We had 4 in our boat, the Israeli couple, me and the canadian girl who had done dragon racing before so who know how to paddle...Anyway all in all it was good fun. Not as difficult as Nepal but still got soaking wet and I thought I was going to fly out of the boat a couple of times but in the end we managed to ride the rapids successfully.

Sunday 3rd October

It was the Chelsea v Arsenal game on Sunday morning. Sally said it was going to be recorded and shown at 11am so I headed down there to have my breakfast as well, but in fact they had started showing it at 10am so it was already half way through the second half. Darren the English guy from my hostal was there so I sat with him for the remainder of the game which Chelsea won convincingly. Skyped my brother and Nick. I just love Skype it is a wonderful invention. The quality is really good and its so nice to see loved ones up close and personal it makes you feel much closer to home and its FREE!

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