This week the Chicas Dinámicas had a real treat at our rural, all-girls school of Pacca. Pacca girls live at the boarding school on a rotating schedule: they spend two weeks at school where they eat, sleep, work, and learn together, and two weeks at home pursuing some form of vocational training. Many girls supplement their education with jobs in the city – for example, we often visit our fifth grade student, Flor, who sells juice smoothies in the central Cusco market. While living at Pacca, however, although separated by grades and time away from school, the girls experience the solidarity of true community.
Every week we marvel at the girls’ positive attitudes and respectful, earnest dispositions that are fostered by Pacca’s tight-knit community. This was never more evident than on Thursday, when over a steaming bowl of beef and potato stew, Director Eli told us that the professors wished to join in our sports class that afternoon. We and the girls were immediately thrilled by the idea, and what ensued was an afternoon of fun, teamwork, and lots of laughter as all of Pacca turned out to play several hours of kickball and soccer.
While everyone excelled at playing the favorite local sport of soccer, kickball was a novel experience. We appreciated the girls’ good humor and patience as they improved, and also enjoyed the bit of amusing chaos that resulted from learning all the rules in one afternoon. The field erupted in laughter when Ruth Clara chased Nelida in the opposite direction with the ball, and again when two girls collided together and toppled over first base. We also discovered that many of the professors were more competitive than their students! Eli made a dozen home runs, but no one bothered to keep track of points – the important thing was the joy of exercising and playing together out under the bright sun and clear Peruvian sky.
The respect, camaraderie, and positivity woven into life, school, work and play at Pacca was tangible and inspiring on Thursday afternoon. We greatly admire the professors for getting their hands dirty with their students, and for modeling the kind of teamwork and leadership we value at GirlSportWorks. We hope to foster that community in all our schools and model those positive values in all our interactions with our Chicas Dinámicas.