AYP: Hot Chocolate, Graduations, and Mosqoy 6
We have had such an exciting past few months with the Andean Youth Program! Juan, our Resident Advisor, arrived and set to work immediately on developing and maintaining programs at Casa Mosqoy. He has encouraged our students to take initiative and work together, and since his arrival, we have been able to plan weekly activities, from movie nights to English and French tutoring lessons. Students are once again eager to participate in community building workshops: we are planning a chocolatada for the community of Cancha Cancha at the end of December. It’s one of the more isolated communities Mosqoy works with, a beautiful village nestled against incredible peaks that is only accessible by a three hour hike–no roads reach the village! All Mosqoy students will hike up with supplies, and prepare and serve the entire community hot chocolate and spread Christmas cheer. (Check out some of Juan’s blogs here and here)
We would like to congratulate our newest graduate: Rolando Huillca. He has officially finished all of his final projects and exams for sheet metal and construction mechanics. Juan and Kristina attended a beautiful graduation ceremony held by his institute, Senati. The event started an hour late, as we were waiting for the honoured director of Senati to arrive, but once in full swing we enjoyed sharing in the celebration of achievements of students from 8 programs. Each student received a medal of graduation, diploma, and their final transcripts. Interspersed in the ceremony were cultural events: we listened to a heartfelt recitation of Peruvian poetry and heard traditional Andean folk songs.
Casa Mosqoy successfully completed one sexual and reproductive health workshop in which all the students completed an introductory “What do you know” quiz and learned reproductive anatomy, labelling and understanding the purpose of each organ, how pregnancy occurs, and the development of a baby. Due to scheduling conflicts with Ayni Wasi, though, we have had to postpone the rest of the program to January 2014. We are so excited to complete our program, which includes contraceptives, sexually transmitted infections and diseases, healthy relationships, and sexuality and are very excited to make this an annual collaborative program with Ayni Wasi (check out their blog on the experience here).
Our Executive Director, Ashli, arrived mid November and AYP has been busy working on selection for Mosqoy 6, our next cohort of students. We have some amazing candidates that we are excited to share with you soon, and we continue to offer the opportunity of sponsorship to four more communities. December will be incredibly busy for Kristina and Ashli as they trek through the Andes to hand out applications to our weaving communities and recommended areas from partner organizations. We are so excited to accept a new generation of students into our program and continue providing opportunities to marginalized and at-risk indigenous youth of the Sacred Valley.
We would also like to welcome our two new short term volunteers, Emily and Oscar. They come to us from Australia, and it was serendipity when they approached Ashli and Kristina in a restaurant in Ollantaytambo to see if they could support Mosqoy in anyway. Emily is a psychologist and social worker who focuses on homeless populations in Australia. She is working with Mosqoy on researching potential social worker and referral programs throughout Cusco and the Sacred Valley for AYP participants, and she will be a resource for AYP volunteers to develop in-house counselling programs. Oscar is an architect from Melbourne who will be supporting the Casa Mosqoy Design Project that Mosqoy is working with along with Pratt Institute in New York (PrattSIDE program). He will be assisting in researching typical architecture styles in Cusco, and looking in to potential contractors for Casa Mosqoy construction.
We are moving into the New Year and rainy season with optimism and positivity, with big plans for what 2014 will mean for the Andean Youth Program!