So it´s been a couple of weeks since the last blog and i´m now almost halfway through my stay in Cusco. The period has been a mixed bag of emotions but I now feel a much greater sense of belonging here.
The weekdays are very routine with school in the morning and exploring new parts of the city in the afternoon. The school is becoming more rewarding as my confidence grows and I become more comfortable with the children. as people may previously know, me and kids was not a good combination! Despite my love for the kids, school and the surroundings (which are incredible) i´m beginning to get more and more frustrated with the culture and attitude towards school. In 4 weeks the kids have learnt next to nothing and it just feels like you´re fighting a losing battle everyday. The teachers are paid very little and just don´t have the funding or the resources to educate these children well. the days are much to short in which often the class is left to a volunteer such as myself with only a limited knowledge of the language. They say that on these projects you´re not going to change anything, but I can´t help feeling that a few minor changes would have massive benefits for the kids.
Away from the school, the city has a surprise around every corner. It was only Friday when walking through a quietish neighbourhood that I stumbled across a huge fiesta and parade. The people love to embrace their tradition and heritage, with any excuse to dance, play music and don theirs striking costimes and masks.
I´ve experienced so many things in the past few weeks, guinea pig to national festivals, salsa dancing to hair-raising bus rides through the Andes. My first experience of a traditional Peruvian club was rather surreal. A cross between a strip club, a bad wedding reception and McDonalds. My Friday nights are normally just like being back home though. Drinking too much and dancing well into the next day, followed by the inevitable hangover; 10 times worse at altitude.
My couple of trips into the Sacred Valley have been spectacular. Roads cling to the mountainside and all the locals gather in villages on the valley floor for market day, bartering for all the local produce and meat. They´re all in traditional dress which isn´t just a stunt for the tourists, like in Cusco.
I do miss some of the really simple things from home but i´m having such a great time and hope the second half of my time in Cusco is much the same.