Volunteering Part 2
So that was us for the month of Febuary. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays were spent at the school and Wednesday and Friday nights were spent leading conversation classes about topics such as the environment, family, art and literature and the media. This was our favourite bit as we got to learn a bit about Peru and its culture, for example, it´s quite common in the poorer areas here for girls as young as 14 to marry men of 30 without anyone batting an eyelid.
At the weekends, another favourite bit, we managed to visit sites of interest around the local area, notably the Chimu mud city of Chan Chan and the museum of the Lord of Sipan, an archeological discovery only second in importance to Tutankamun´s tomb! There was so much gold and silver and amazing jewellery it was unbelievable! Unfortunately we couldn´t take any photos but google images has it pretty much covered: http://images.google.com.ec/images?hl=es&q=lord%20of%20sipan&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi
There was, however, a bit of an unfortunate event near the end of our time in Trujillo which resulted in me having my camera, money and phone stolen. I guess going for 6 months in South America without any sort of robbery would have been almost a miracle, but I was gutted about losing my photos of Macchu Picchu, sob! Here´s how it happened:
We´d just finished a tough day at school and I´d been told to prepare for an extra class the next day at school which I knew would take the whole evening. We hopped into a combi (one of those van things I told you about) and I sat near the door at the front facing backwards. So there I was, chatting away to Tim as the combi did it´s route, picking people up and dropping people off along the way. Then, at one stop, the door slid open and some people got out. Just as we were pulling away, I felt my bag being snatched from my lap by a young man hoodlum outside the combi. It took a few seconds to register what had happened and then we were shouting ´Pare!, Pare!!´ to the driver and Tim and I were out and running. Having flip flops on slowed us down so Tim dropped his bag and un-flip flopped himself and was charging after the now 3 robbers completely barefoot. I soon lost sight of them and began to realize what sort of neighbourhood we were in, and what was actually in my bag: camera, lesson plans, book, phone, money, bank cards etc etc. There were lots of locals coming out of their houses to see what the commotion was about, but no one seemed willing to tell me which way the robbers had gone. Then a freaky old lady shuffled up and grabbed my arm screeching, ´No reporte. No reporte!´ and proceeded to lead me up the road. Stuff you I thought, I bloody well will reporte and ripped my arm free.
I rounded the corner, by this time a soggy weepy mess, only to see Tim advancing towards me on the back of a police motorbike! He jumped off and we were ushered towards a plain white car which the locals assured us was a police car and to prove it the driver showed us his handcuffs….? Ah good, just what you want to see as proof of identity. Anyway, after forcing him to show us his paperwork, I wasn´t going to be taken twice in one day, we got in and the ´policeman´ drove us to the place we´d last seen the robbers. Another policeman chatted to a group of very dodgy looking guys and disappeared round the corner. 10 minutes later he was back with a black plastic bag, with my bag in it!!!!! I couldn´t believe it! Hurridly I checked the contents to find everything there minus my phone, camera, money and pencil case? I couldn´t believe they´d found the actual bag though, which I had been quite sad about losing cos it was from Bolivia with llamas on it.
Then it was off to the police station to file a report where the nice policeman took his time writing a very thorough account of what had happened. After we´d finished I saw the policeman who´d found my bag and told him I wasn´t bothered about the camera, just the memory stick with pictures of Arequipa on it. ´Arequipa!!´ he said, seemingly alarmed, and disappeared inside. 5 minutes later and a gang of police were off to find my camera. So unbelievably corrupt it was fascinating! They obviously knew who the robbers were and where they lived and were blatantly getting a cut from the profits. Unfortunately they returned with nothing (it´d probably already found its way onto the black market, which, incidently, a student told me I could probably go to and buy my camera back from) and we had to return home a bit shaken, but nonetheless safe. Quite an adventure though, and I still managed to finish my lesson plan before 1am!
So, the last day of school arrived. It was being held at the local community centre for a bit of fun and one class had been learning a song whilst another had prepared a short version of the jungle book complete with costumes and scenery. Each kid had 45minutes in the swimming pool too (an absolute nightmare for Tim), while I had to stay in the deserted school for 90minutes to teach my final class of secondary kids the lesson plan that had been muddled together after a robbery and a late night.
The whole day was a great success and looking at how much fun the kids were having, and knowing the backgrounds they all came from, it really made us feel that we´d made a difference, even if only for a few weeks. We were actually really sad to leave the friends we´d made and had a fantastic last weekend staying in the nearby beach resort going surfing, eating cebiche (raw fish) and generally relaxing after a tough month. And then, it was off on the road again…..