Our girls are ROCK stars!
Literally! This Sunday we took our Nogales group rock climbing with a program called Escalando Esperanzas. Our girls were strong, fearless, and undeniably dynamic!
I awoke at 6 am on Sunday morning to a barrage of WhatsApp messages and the sound of rain pounding our roof. Parents were asking if we were going to cancel the field trip due to the inclement weather. However, after living in Cusco for 9 months, I have come to learn that the weather is predictably unpredictable. Rain at 6 am was no indication of what the weather would be like in a few hours. We packed up some emergency frisbees and jump ropes, but continued optimistically on with our original plan.
By 9 am the rain had nearly subsided, and we set off for La Roca Cachimayo. The parents of our students were very excited about the field trip, so we decided to allow family members to come along. Luckily we had been able to rent a huge gold bus, so all our students, parents, siblings, and 40 sandwiches that Danielle and I had prepared for the day were able to fit comfortably inside.
When we arrived at La Roca, the sun was shining and sprits were high. The Escalando Esperanzas director, Chalex, started off the day with a safety talk. He explained the importance of helmets, harnesses, and the rope to safe climbing (no free solo-ing here). Then the girls were split up into three teams and given face paint to identify themselves. Finally, it was time to start climbing!
La Roca, the rock face we were climbing, was an intimidating sight to behold. The first three girls who climbed—Alejandra, Maria Fernanda, and Krystall—approached the climb with some nerves but also with incredible determination. Their moms along with the rest of the group were enthusiastically cheering them on and chanting their names from the ground. Maria Fernanda’s mom yelled that she would buy her daughter whatever she wanted if she made it all the way up (as long as it cost less than 10 soles). Danielle and I were so proud and impressed to see our bite-sized students bravely and steadily clamber up this massive rock. Bolstered by the support of their parents and peers, all 3 of them reached the top. When they touched down they were a bit shaken, but beaming from ear to ear at their accomplishment.
Once all the girls had gone, the moms and Danielle and I had a chance to climb. Like their daughters, the moms eagerly took on the challenge. Trying the climb for ourselves made Danielle and I appreciate our students’ courage even more. We are twice their size and more than twice their age, but we still felt ourselves shaking with nervousness and physical exhaustion as the ground grew farther away. But the sounds of our students chanting “Tu puedes profe Adrianna!” “Tu puedes profe Daniela!” encouraged and reassured us.
We left Cachimayo with sore forearms and shoulders, but with full hearts. It was inspiring to witness the power of community as parents, siblings, and classmates supported one another to achieve a feat that is both mentally and physically difficult. Thank you to Chalex and all the volunteers with Andexplora Escalando Esperanzas for giving us this opportunity and motivating girls to keep climbing!