Monday, May 11, 2009

catching up

Hi guys,

sorry I´m letting the blog slip so much. You know how eventually, even when you have only time you just get busy? Well that is happening in my life these days. Saturday I went to the plaza at 9am cause I was told there were going to be dances to help dedicate the new cathedral they just finished building. Sure enough, there were people there in costume from lots of the different dance groups and I waited ALL DAY. Through all the important people talking about the project and through them giving certificates to each and every person who gave money and through giving out mother´s day presents and hours and hours and hours and hours of boring town business just waiting for those dang dancers to dance. And they never did. sigh. But by the time I figured out they weren´t going to after all one of my students bought me lunch and then invited me to a beer and there was a puppet show that was really amazing. I got some photos but they aren´t particularly good cause I was far away. Then a little girl sange two or three songs - she couldn´t have been more than five years old in her traditional costume and sang and danced and it was very cute. Then her in about ten years did some singing and dancing. I had some moments of really falling in love with this town during that afternoon. The way they are supportive. That people´s grandparents were born and died in this town. Their parents were born and expect to die here. My contemporaries were born here and expect to spend their lives here and there is no reason to think that the five year old girl who was singing wont become the 16 year old girl that was singing and the 16 year old will be sitting in the audience with her husband and babies and probably many of the mamas at some point or another sang and danced in front of this town. Then the band came and everyone danced for many hours. So I was literally in the plaza from 9am to 10pm without leaving which is a long day to sit in the dang plaza.

I´ve been thinking a lot lately about the way we in the US are groomed for independence from the time we are old enough to be taught anything and how much of a driving motivator that is for us. Teaching kids independence and making sure to find it as adults. And here, it is absolutely the opposite. You are taught that being part of your family is the most important thing and that you are taught from the earliest that you are part of a family and that relationship superscedes all. People even married with kids live at home as they are putting their money together to get their own house. And if you aren´t married there is absolutely no way you would leave living in your mother´s house. Maybe to study in Cusco, but you still have a room here and come back often. I´m not sure which of these approaches I appreciate more, but I hadn´t really thought so much about it until watching the opposites in action.

I wanted also to send along an update on the kids in jail. I was in Cusco last week (to collect packages but the stupid post office was closed) and went in to visit them and found that in great part due to volunteers talking with the police as much as possible, things there have changed really significantly. There is a whole new group of people in charge of the kids now and the policies are fantastic. Most kids are now spending an average of 3-4 days instead of 3-4 weeks. They are doing more to look for their families and get them reunited or to get them into programs set up to help. There is a person soley dedicated to figuring out what all the different programs are and how the police can work with them to get these kids placed well and quickly. So when I was there there were only a handful of kids and while they were still sad and hated being there, the dispair levels were at an all time low. I am so glad that at least for a little while things seem to have really improved there.

Yesterday I went on a hike that I´ve been wanting to take for a while to some ruins behind Ollantaytambo called Puma Marka. We left at 10am and didn´t get home until about 6pm. About three hours walk there - lots and lots of pretty hard uphill but I´m getting better at that every time. Then a long walk through the valley from high on a hill which was a great view of everything with stops to eat fruit and drink water and visit. My guide was the same student that I spent time with on Saturday and who is wooing me. We´ll see how that goes but he is awefully nice. Anyway, we finally got to these ruins and from far away it looks just like maybe two houses and a sort of a wall and I was a little disappointed that we had bothered with this killer hike for this but then when you get there they unfold to be all sorts of really great buildings and graineries and a huge wall around them all. They have not been excavated or renovated at all - they just keep the weeds down a little so that was really great. It´s super neat to see how it really has actually held up over the last 700 years. Because it´s hard to get to and people don´t really know about it, there are no entrance points or people working or signs or rules. No idea what it used to be or anything and we were the only people there all day so we just got to walk around and make up stories and pre-suppose what any of it might have been. I´ve never had quite that experience in ruins before, it was really magical. Then we took a much short cut/goat trail down the mountain that was hard but fun as we were slipping and sliding along - we did this because it was threatening to get dark before we got home so we decided that if it was dark we would be better off on the main road down in the valley than the hiking trail along the mountain. Then we just mellowly walked home along the road and practiced Quechua which I still find so so hard. All in all a really wonderful day and I´m glad I finally made it back there. You can also go by car, so Mel and Matt - this is one to look forward to.

Oh probably there are a million more things to say but I will leave it for now. I was going to post photos but this computer wont read my camera so I will do that soon.

Love you,

No comments:

Post a Comment