Greetings from Kelly and Kristin! This August marks the beginning of GirlSportsWorks tenth year anniversary in Cusco, and we are very excited to be taking over as the new Program Managers. During the weeks of transition it was an honor to work with Megan and Liya as they celebrated the end of their year in Cusco during which they accomplished landmark projects including the renovation of the courts at Luis Vallejo Santoni school and the new partnership with Goals for Girls. As Megan and Liya bid farewell to their students at GSW’s four different schools, the incredibly strong relationships they had built with each of their students was very apparent. Seeing the abundant heartfelt letters, gifts, and goodbyes they received was bittersweet, but also made us very excited to continue the GSW mission and build new relationships with the girls.
Our first weeks in Cusco also overlapped with the Olympics so we took this time to present an inspiring story about the Peruvian Marathon runner, Gladys Tejeda. At each school we presented a video and an article telling her rise to Olympic honor. On hearing her incredible journey the girls sat transfixed, and it is not hard to understand why. Gladys grew up in the small, poor mountain town of Junin. She qualified for the Olympics while competing in only her third marathon. Tejeda’s story is a wonderful example of what we can achieve with determination and it also is a celebration of female athleticism on the international stage. After this presentation we took the time to discuss what it means to be an Olympian, in sports and in daily life. And for many of our students, this meant standing up for one’s friends and working hard to achieve a good education and a good career.
So far, we have loved getting to know all the students who have welcomed us with such enthusiasm. A new game that we introduced to our English classes at Los Nogales and Pacca is called “matamoscas,” or flyswatter. As we call out different words or phrases that are taped to the board, two students attempt to be the first to “swat” the correct phrase in order to earn a point for their team. Not only has this game been tons of fun, but it’s also a great teambuilding exercise that helps the students review what they have already learned and go over new topics as well.
While we have definitely needed to take the time to adjust to our new life here in Cusco, this first week has only made us more excited to take charge over this incredible program. This hallmark year for GirlSportWorks is bound to be a great one so please stay tuned for more updates to come!