Week 1:

Traveling to a different country for an extended period of time can be daunting. Simply making sure you remembered everything you need seems like an impossible task in moment. Although once you arrive its no long relevant. You buy anything you forgot and take it one day at a time. Arriving in Lima was an exciting moment, getting ready for the road ahead. Theres a joy in not knowing whats to come or what to expect. I arrived first and after few hours everyone was together. We all clicked pretty quickly, despite from being from all over the world. After we all found each other we hopped in taxi, which took us to a bus, then the bus took us to a taxi and the taxi took us to where we were staying for the night. Arriving to where we were staying was one of the biggest reliefs of my entire life, i don’t think I’ve ever been so tired from traveling. 

The next day waking up in Chincha Alta was surreal. To plan for a trip and then suddenly be there is an exciting moment. After waking up we were able to have breakfast and visit Social Creativa and see where we would be teaching. What I found most striking was how open and welcoming the people were to us. As soon as we walked into Social Creativa we were welcomed with kisses and hugs from everyone. I think we could all be a little more welcoming of friends we haven’t met yet, through the first two days that is what I took away, from this beautiful country with such beautiful people. 

Tuesday was our first day of classes, and I think we were all anxious to get started and meet the children we would be working with. As with most first days with a new teacher the students seemed shy and cautious. Although, as we worked with them throughout the class they began to open up and have a bit more fun with us. I was also able to go on a mini tour of the city today to  see where the main plaza was, the grocery store, and most importantly where the best chocolate could be bought. 

Wednesday Uggy and Irina taught the morning class and after the class we had a bit of a break, so we were able to explore Chincha! We found a little place to grab lunch where were paid 8 sols for soup, rice and chicken, and jello. After we went in search for the market place which we found out was under construction. During this time I learned that in Peru they don’t close off construction sites, and you can walk right through them. Which is a little nerve wracking when your walking right next to an operating backhoe. We then went for some ice cream and finished off our day teaching the night away. 

Thursday was our first day of the dance on camera class, which I was super excited to explore and collaborate on. When we walked in to the classroom both Sarah and I were delighted to see we had quite a few talented hip hop dancers in class. For the class we thought it would a great opener to make a mini film to show the process of how a dance film is made. We started by splitting the dancers into groups and having them choreograph mini routines. After they were finished creating we went outside and began filming them in different locations around Laran. We were able to get a ton of great shots, including an awesome shot Sarah was able to catch with herd of goats crossing right behind the dancers. 

Friday our fearless leader became quite ill, so Uggy, Irina, and I had to carry on the classes without her. I had the pleasure of watching the morning class that Uggy and Irina teach. I find that I learn quite a lot from observing how other teachers teach. Since the four of us are from all of the world each of us have a very different teaching style, which has been a joy to watch in the process. 

Saturday we decided to go on a bit of a Peruvian adventure, unfortunately our fearless leader was still a bit under the weather. Despite that Uggy , Irina, and I pressed on. Our plan was to travel to Tembo Colorado, so we hopped on a bus out of Chincha Alto headed for Pisco. Once we got off the bus we managed to find a cab to take us to Tembo Colorado. On the way I was struck by how different the landscape was from one direction to the next. On one side you could see huge majestic mountains and on the other side sweeping sand dunes. Once we arrived and finished haggling the taxi driver, we explored the ruins. The ruins were a bit like a maze as you wondered through them. Although they were quite small, compared to many of the other ruins around Peru, it was definitely worth the trip. After Tembo Colorado we headed to Pisco for a quick lunch then we were back on the road headed to Paracas. The ride from Pisco to Paracas is pretty short, but the strong smell of fish made it seem like it was a much longer ride. In Paracas we were able to find a few small handmade craft stores, with which I went a bit shopping crazy as I adore those kinds of places. We also hung out in a very cute bar where we had our first Pisco Sours of the trip! After we finished our drinks we headed back to check on Sarah who was beginning to feel a bit better. 

Sunday we got up bright and early to cook pancakes for our lovely host family. After breakfast we headed over to a sugar plantation named San Jose where we learned about different aspects of the plantation life, tools they used, and the slaves quality of life. The neatest part of the tour for me, was when we went into the catacombs beneath the plantation. These catacombs were used to transport slaves from the ocean to the plantation, a fifteen mile journey that the slaves made chained and blindfolded. I found wondering the intricate maze of narrow tunnels and stairways fascinating and a daunting reminder of the past. 

Vanessa x