Clara AYP: Welcomes, Hikes, Dances, Interviews …and tiny little bus seats
¡Hola a todos! I’m Clara, the new communications coordinator in Cusco. I arrived in Peru on June 4th and will be staying in Casa Mosqoy for two months. I’m a complete travel lover! I’m German, but have moved to Spain to complete a dual degree in International Relations and Business Administration at the same university where Kristina earned her Masters. For me, the whole traveling addiction started with a one-year exchange in Brazil when I was 16, and continued with language and environmental-purpose trips to China, European adventures, and hiking Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
I am looking forward to spending the next two months capturing the lives of the students, visiting their families and communicating everything that is going on in Casa Mosqoy with you, the donors and all the members of our organization. If you have anything to “communicate” with Mosqoy, just contact me!
I was very warmly welcomed by everyone here, not only by the nice airport pickup from Kristina and two students, but also the bienvenida (welcome) poster in the House and the first dinner with everyone. These have made my first days in Cusco very fun!
Once I got here, my first tasks were to get to know all the students and volunteers, as well as the beautiful city of Cusco. After an orientation about my job and bureaucracy for my university, Kristina sent me on a 3 hour long tour though the city and surroundings, with lots of wonderfully exhausting hiking involved (after just a day at 3500m above sea level, this is not as easy as it sounds, I promise!). Also, she and Stephanie showed me the best places to eat and have coffee around the city. I got to know “Bety” and her amazing fruit stand at the market, where you can get almost a litre of fresh juice for around 4 soles. I tried pizza with alpaca and avocado with Stephanie and Erick. They also took me out on my first Friday night here, beginning with salsa classes. I also tried the famous “Pisco Sour”, which is not really my thing, but apparently it is the most typical Peruvian drink made out of Pisco, lime, egg white and sugar syrup.
Another very Peruvian thing is the small combis (buses) that take you everywhere for 70 centavos. They have so little leg space that Erick and I always have some difficulties trying to squeeze in. We either end up rolling together like a ball and holding our knees right below our chin, or just twist our legs to the side so everyone who walks by has the chance to bump into us or step on our feet. It’s hilarious, especially when you’re on the 40 minute ride to get to the center.
My first weekend was great. I went to Ollantaytambo, a small town where many of our students come from, with Kristina and a friend from my hometown Munich that came by for the weekend. It was one of the main holidays of the region (Señor de Choquekillca), which did not only mean colorful dances, but also intense traffic and long wait times just to pass the small village Urubamba. But once we were there, it was wonderful to see the variety of dances and costumes they had prepared, try their traditional food and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of parades and music with mountains and ruins in the background. I put together a short video about the dances and the bullfight afterwards, so just click here to watch it!
After my first week here, I must say I am really happy to finally be back in South America. I am enjoying speaking Spanish every day and exploring a new culture, living the more relaxed, friendly and colorful lifestyle of Latin America again.
What really fascinates me – and luckily is also part of my job – is discovering each student’s story. In my first week, I have already held many hour-long interviews with the students and am surprised how open, friendly and alegre (happy) all of them are. They are certainly very special people who each bring their own positive attitude towards life and already have impressive plans for the future. I am excited to work with them, but also to go beyond that and build friendships that will allow me to share both my own and the Peruvian culture with them. Also, as a language freak – I studied German, English, Latin, French, and Chinese in High School, learned Portuguese in Brazil, and have been working on my Spanish for the last 8 months while living in Spain – I am super excited to adopt the Peruvian accent and become more fluent while I’m here!
I will keep you updated about my experiences here, maybe throw in some more videos and pictures, and do my best to let you know how everything is going in Peru!
Have a great summer everyone! ¡Hasta Luego!