Laser-tagging with Mantay!

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This past week was an exciting first for GirlSportWorks and las chicas dinámicas—we played laser tag! It was definitely a successful and exciting activity for GSW and one that we are hoping to continue in the future. Our first week in Cusco we discussed field trip possibilities with Carly and Ali, and when they told us that laser-tag had just made its way to Cusco we were instantly intrigued.

I have been a big fan of laser tag since the countless birthday parties I attended in middle school and was thrilled by the opportunity to try it here in Cusco. There was one issue: our girls at Casa Mantay had zero idea of what laser tag is. Now I consider myself a pretty accomplished Spanish speaker, but describing a game with fake guns attached to vests where you run around a maze lit by black lights was not really in my vocabulary. So in the weeks leading up to our adventure to LaserGame, Larkin and I resorted to telling the girls that we were going on a fun surprise field trip.

When we arrived in the afternoon to pick up the girls, we were surprised to see that a few of them had their babies with them. I tried to explain that there was going to be a lot of noise and commotion, but they explained that the only other option they had was to miss the field trip. After a few awkward minutes, I eventually had a minor epiphany when I realized that I knew far less about babies than my teenage students. Ultimately, it was up to them to manage their babies on the field trip, and so we set off on the bus with ten girls and three babies.

LaserGame was empty when we arrived, a fact that probably didn’t bode well for business, but was a nice accommodation for our group. The girls were definitely a bit confused at first, but once the very nice French man in charge finished explaining the game, their enthusiasm for the upcoming game was almost on par with their desire to pose for pictures in the vests.
As we descended the stairs into a black-lit maze, pulsing electronic music began to play, and I was more than excited. I did find it hilarious, however, that the vests spoke to us in English, and so I was the only one that understood the thirty second countdown. For the first round, Larkin sat on the steps with our three girls and their babies. We understood the desire to watch the game, but were also anxious about the sleeping babies.

Once the game started the girls got into it quickly as we chased each other through the maze and tried to shoot each other through the various sniper windows that had been put in the walls. All our doubts about the girls’ interest in the game were completely shattered, which was awesome to see. Our doubts about the babies’ ability to stay asleep also were shattered—they didn’t make a sound! After the fifteen-minute game ended, three older girls took over taking care of the babies so that others could play. We played a second and then a third game, too.

Although I sat out the second game, I came ready to play the third one and was determined to win. After having played once, I felt that I knew the best places to run to stay protected, while also being in a prime position to shoot the members of the opposing team (although I accidentally shot my teammate Larkin a few times). I’ve played many a game of laser tag but this one turned out to be my first ever win, and I was ecstatic … although all I really did was beat my teenage students on their first day ever playing laser tag.

The girls have already begged us to bring them back for another field trip, and we are definitely going next semester! It turns out that a really nice French man and his wife opened LaserGame in Cusco, and business hasn’t been great since laser tag is such a foreign concept here. Before we left we promised to do our best to help drum up business! Perhaps a fundraising collaboration between LaserGame and GSW could be on the horizon…

–Caroline

Here’s a link to the rest of our photos from the field trip! http://tinyurl.com/pqmossx

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