We set out last Thursday morning excited and ready for a day of classes at Pacca in the strong Cusco sun. Pacca is an hour outside of Cusco, and we take three types of transportation to get there: taxi, colectivo, and mototaxi. As we drove up the bumpy dirt road, the final leg of the journey, we saw a few girls in the school uniform walking down the road, away from the school. We stopped and the girls ran toward us, showering us with kisses. They excitedly told us that it was Dia del Estudiante (Students’ Day), and they were going on a trip to Killarumiyoq, picturesque ruins about 20 minutes from the school by car for the day.
Change of plans! We wouldn’t have any official class and would instead join them on their field trip. We turned around and headed to the ruins with them. There were no organized buses for the school’s field trip, so we all waited for buses to pass, flagged them down and piled in. When we got to the ruins, the girls started running every which way to explore the caves, huge rocks, and Incan trails. The teachers let them explore and take silly pictures for a while and then called them all together for a competition between the three grades. The competition included potato sack and wheelbarrow races, which resulted in lots of cheering, falling, and occasional shrieking. After the races, the girls sat down for some food and had some time to play volleyball and soccer ball, at which point we had to head back to Cusco for our afternoon class at Santoni.
This spontaneous and fun day proves once again that being flexible with the girls and the schools is not only necessary, but that things always turn out well in the end when we are. Schools operate very differently than they do in the States, and recognizing this early on has really helped Ali and me adjust and work well with the schools and the girls.
Hasta la proxima! (Until next time!)