Wednesday, August 11, 2010

First Post from Peru

The days I've spent here so far have been so eventful and exciting that I feel like I've been in Huaycan far longer than six days.

My first evening here was fairly uneventful. After 12 hours of flying, one hour in the immigration line (my passport now has its first stamp!), and two minutes in customs, I finally found my ride. LLI's house manager Sarah and the two other volunteers (Kristen and Elizabeth) came to pick me up. Elizabeth left on Wednesday, so I only got to spend a couple of days with her. But Kristen will be here for two more weeks, and Sarah is here for the next year. And then Tara, who's from Australia, came on Friday and will be here a few months. They're really nice, awesome people and have been helping me learn everything, so it's great to hang out with them.

The next morning, I had orientation with Lara, the co-founder of LLI. I got my schedule and learned that I'll be teaching Friday through Tuesday. Since LLI teaches lots of classes on Saturdays and Sundays, Wednesday and Thursday is the volunteers' "weekend." So I have several classes each day, and each is about an hour and a half. Besides that, I will be spending a decent amount of time traveling to and from class and preparing all my lesson plans. To clarify - Huaycan is divided into a couple dozen zones. I'm living in Zone D and will teach a lot of classes in the basement of the house where I'm staying. But I also teach in Zones I and Z. Each zone is fairly small, so getting to another zone is not a big deal, but it can take up to a half hour each way between combis (more on that later) and walking. I'm scheduled to teach a lot of English classes, from intermediate Spanish for teens to beginning English for 6-9 year olds. Then I also get to teach weekly classes on chess and math and help with sports, dance, and art.

Huaycan is a very easy place to like, and I'm finding that I like it more each day that I'm here. While Lima is loud and crazy, Huaycan is a calm, friendly place. It's not really a nice place in terms of appearance. But when I go to my classes that are partway up the mountains (or foothills as they call it) and look down on Huaycan, it's easy to see beauty in it. When I go to Zone I tomorrow, I'll take a picture.

Classes so far have been great. The 6-9 year olds are absolutely crazy and sometimes difficult to control, but they're so adorable that it is completely worth it. I sat in on one of my friend's classes on Thursday, and a student's little sister came. She was 4 and mumbled everything she said, but she was so excited to talk that we sat together and talked for an hour and a half. The little kids are also really loving. A half hour after we meet, they usually want to hold my hand as we walk, won't play games without me, and love to talk with me.

Then other days I have 10-13 year olds, who are absolutely great and work really hard. Then one of my favorite classes is the conversation club for teens and adults who want to come in and practice their English. It's a really casual class where we just talk about anything. Last night we played 2 Truths and a Lie to practice telling stories, then worked on vocabulary with another game. Everyone was laughing, and by the end I was treated more like a friend than a teacher.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't that the greatest thing about teaching kids? You're so immediately welcomed into their community. I'm so glad you're first experiences are going so well. I'm so excited to keep reading more.