Our first few weeks back to Cusco have been a whirlwind! As we stepped off our last 26-hour bus ride from Lima, it definitely felt like home returning to this city that only nine months ago was foreign territory. Seeing familiar buses, street signs, and knowing with complete certainty when a cab driver was trying to overcharge us, we felt great. We were welcomed back from our three months away with warm hugs, familiar food, and of course, tons of rain.
These first two weeks back have been filled with us running around the city, coordinating parent meetings and presentations to introduce the program for the semester. As a general rule in Cusco, it takes about four meetings to actually accomplish the thing that you came to do, which is part of the reason we’ve been so busy. With the exciting new addition of the school Miguel Grau (more on that soon!) and a second class each week for Casa Mantay, there has been a lot to check off of our list before we could officially get started for the year.
So far it has been refreshing to see the girls’ faces light up as we reintroduce the program to them. The administrators at each school were happy to finally see us walk through the door so that the girls would stop interrogating them about the start of Chicas Dinámicas. The fourth graders are especially entertaining because this is their first introduction to the program, and they were extremely excited when they learned that there were no boys allowed. Starting with class presentations was the perfect strategy, as the girls could go home and talk up the program to their parents right before we present at the parent meetings this week.
We can’t wait to get started with our first classes later in the week and to see these new girls join our team. While we definitely feel the absence of our graduated sixth graders, we know that the energy and enthusiasm that we have already seen in these fourth graders will begin to fill the gaps.
– Lydia and Alika