On Monday, we had our second sports class at Los Nogales. We started the day teaching English to 4th 5th and 6th grade, then quickly ate a hearty lunch to give us enough time to return to play with the girls before officially starting classes. We were playing soccer against the boys (winning, as usual) when we had a pleasant surprise waltz right through the door: Luz Marina! She was one of our more dedicated members of Chicas Dinámicas in the past, but graduated to secundaria for the new school year. Luckily for us, she still lives right around the corner from Los Nogales, which means she can pop by and say hello whenever she has time!
We had her sit in on the class and take on a leadership role so we could catch up with her afterward. It was great to see her out on the court again, but she was also noticeably bigger and more mature than her younger classmates. Where in the past we’d had a bit of trouble with Luz and respecting the profes when we were speaking, she was listening intently and not protesting when we disciplined the girls with a few laps. The change seemed almost immediate, as it had been about 3 months since we had last seen her.
After class, we hung around for a bit to catch up and see how she was doing in her new colegio. She casually shared with us that she had been chosen for three sports teams at her new school – soccer, volleyball and swimming! We remember interviewing her mother at the end of last semester, and she was concerned that Chicas Dinámicas didn’t continue into secundaria. She was worried that Luz wouldn’t get the same opportunities to be free and expressive, as girls do not have as ample opportunities as the boys to engage in sports. Yet, she has nothing to worry about, as Luz will be very busy practicing for these three sports! It really spoke to her ability as an athlete to be chosen for different teams, but we weren’t surprised at the news after watching her grow as an athlete over the course of last semester.
We were surprised when Luz coyly shared with us that she had also been elected the Class President! Although a strong athlete and quite bubbly in Chicas Dinámicas, we saw significant growth in Luz’ helpfulness and behavior over the course of the semester. It really shows how far she has come to know that she is now taking on a leadership role in her new colegio.
So, to see her excelling after Chicas Dinámicas was so exciting for us. We both felt a warm feeling in our chests at the thought of our girls becoming leaders in their classrooms filled with both boys and girls, unafraid of speaking up and doing well. We know that all throughout Cusco, other strong chicas dinámicas are doing the same thing, but it is great to hear first hand from our lovely alum, Luz!
–Alika and Lydia