Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Longest Journey - Day 3

I hope everyone is doing well! Last night I arrived to Ica from Laramarca after having finished our assignment there. The first shower in nearly two weeks sure felt amazing. Before I get into the details of my experience in Laramarca I want to finish my Longest Journey account.

When I last left off I had just woken up sitting upright in a pickup truck after having suffered one of the worst night´s of sleep in my life. After thawing out and getting some decent food in me I was back to my normal self and had almost all but forgotten about how terrible last night had been. The gleaming light from the sun and the incredible view of the Andes sure helped the process. We proceeded to spend that morning figuring out the details of Steven and Ben´s stay in San Gayaico before loading up into the truck once more and heading in the direction of Cordova. As it turns out Anthony and I were given the ´privilege´ of sitting in the bed of the truck for the duration of the 6 hour journey. It wouldn´t have been so bad had the roads been paved. But with them being dry, dirt roads, we were left with thick layers of dust covering our faces by the end of the day´s journey. After two or three days of just roughing it you start to lose the sentiment that makes the whole situation seem unbearable. You start to embrace the simplicity of life by surviving with only the bare essentials. Our journey took us down and out of the Andes into the desert, only to make a near 180 degree turn and head back into the Andes before making it all the way to Ica. The reason for this our driver, Oscar, told us is that the path directly from Sangayaico to Cordova was too dangerous. I nearly laughed out loud because from the looks of the roads we had been driving on this passage that he was speaking of must have been a pure nightmare. As dusty, treacherous, and long as this day´s journey was, we were handed an incredible award for all of our troubles in the form of an unforgettable sunset over the Andes. This was not the only gift as after the sun had set, the stars above were visible in a way that I had never before seen in my life. It was as if you took a black sheet of construction paper and tossed a handful of rice down on it. Purely magnificient. Unfortunately I was unable to capture the stars in any photographs. But that is alright. I´m sure the photo would not have done the sight any justice.

Around 8 o´clock or so we arrived to a bright spot among the darkess of the surrounding mountains. Anthony and I could not hear any of the commentary going on inside the cab but we correctly assumed that it was our final destination for that day. Sure enough, after an hour of winding toward the small town, we had arrived at Cordova. After having been in Sangayaico the previous night, Cordova seemed like a metropolis. The concrete road entering the street was lined with well constructed buildings which ended at the foot of the village where the main plaza, church, and school could be found. Unlike in Sangayaico, the school´s personel was waiting for us with a satisfying dinner of bread with cheese and hot tea/coffee. It was a very warm welcome that ended shortly with the four of us (the interns) falling asleep on some simple yet comfortable foam pads on the floor of one of the classrooms. The following morning we woke up to the beautiful vistas of the Andes and the sound of children filing into the school around 8 am. As we had come to expect, the children were completely intrigued by the four Americans who had arrived to their school seemingly out of nowhere. I will have to say the way these kids take to us after such a short period of time may be one of the most gratifying feelings I have yet to experience in my life. It truly gives you the motivation you need to make a true difference in their school and in turn their lives. After a quick morning bite to eat, Anthony and Steven began their introduction to the school´s staff and facilities. At each sight Norma, the representative from the Peruvian Ministry of Education, and Edwin, from Huaytara´s Branch, had a formal meeting with all of the school´s teachers and directors to formally introduce the assistance program on which we were about to implement into the school over the next few weeks. While this was taking place, I spoke more with Oscar, our vehicle´s commandeer, who is also a professor and computer repair handyman. Most people here are fans of football so for me that is a common topic of conversation. But beyond that he has an interest in learning english so I acted as a human dictionary and grammar teacher on his behalf. At that point I was requested to act as a helper in one of the classrooms. When I entered all of the students had their XO computers out and were using a various activities. Some of them even had ´How to Play Chess´ Books out and were playing the chess activity against the computer on the XO. Which I may add is near impossible to beat. I have since made it a goal of mine to conquer this robotic force that is the XO. I worked with the kids for another hour before deciding that it was time for us to set back out on the `trochos`(mountain roads) and wind our way to Laramarca. Our final destination on the trip. See my next entry for the rest of the day´s events.

We made it to the desert only long enough to snap this photo.

Anthony and I after 5 hours in the bed of the truck.

Amazing puesto del sol.

Your luggage will be dirty starting now.

Elementary school in Cordova where Anthony and Steven worked for three weeks.

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