Thursday, July 14, 2016

Closing our experience in Cusco--and Peru


It is hard to believe that today was our final day in Cusco. As a group, we decided we’d spend our last day sightseeing, shopping, and resting in preparation of our long journey home. We started with a visit to the ancient citadel of Saksaywaman, located in the northern part of Cusco. Saksaywaman (also Sacsayhuamán) is a Quechua word meaning “speckled (or marbled) falcon,” because it was considered the falcon that guarded the former capital of the Inca Empire. It is located on a hill overviewing the city. The views there are absolutely breathtaking! Saksaywaman consists of a large stone fortress constructed over a period of over 70 years. The walls are composed of enormous stone blocks fitted perfectly together without the use of mortar. Some of the stones exceed a height of 30 feet!  Based on what we learned from one of our tour guides earlier this week, we know that this was a holy place, because mortar was not used when building the wall. It is commonly called a “Royal House of the Sun,” because people would go there to worship the sun god and other lesser deities. Each year, a Peruvian ceremony Inti Raymi (Quechua for “sun festival”) is held at Saksaywaman on June 24 for the winter solstice—the shortest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere. Thousands of tourists from around the world make the trip to Cusco and celebrate with music, costumes, and lots of food.

Our next stop was to Qoricancha. It was once the most important temple in the Inca Empire and was dedicate to Inti, the sun god. From a bird’s eye view, the temple once resembled rays of sun shining in all directions. Similar to Saksaywaman, the builders of the temple had mastered the art of masonry, as demonstrated by their use of large stone blocks fitted together without the use of mortar. Today, the stonework is all that remains. At one time, the doors and interior of the temple were covered in gold sheets! Hundreds of years ago, people came from near and far to participate in religious rites at the temple, while high priests used the temple as an observatory. A gorgeous courtyard is located at the very center. After the Spanish conquered the empire, most of the temple was destroyed, and they used its foundation to build a cathedral. The Santo Domingo church and monastery were built beside the temple on higher ground to signify the Spanish conquest. Today, the upper level houses displays of beautiful modern art.

Lastly, we visited an Indian market to buy souvenirs. The market is home to aisles upon aisles of vendors selling everything from paintings, jewelry, ceramics, scarves, hats, clothing, and toys. Afterwards, we returned to the hotel, and we all packed up our belongings and prepared for our morning departure.

~Kimberly Sanders

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Visiting the Panticalle school

Today was the day to visit Panticalle, a school deep in the Andes Mountains! We began our journey at 5 am with backpacks full of blankets, school supplies, and UofL shirts that we were going to give to the teachers and students of the school. After a 3 hour (beautiful) bus ride through the Andes we arrived at our destination. Except a slight get to Panticalle we would need to hike down the mountain. The school lies in a valley in between mountains that stand 4,316 meters (14,160 feet) tall. So our hike began and an hour later we were welcomed to Panticalle! As a warm welcome we were given oca and añu, a potato like agricultural product farmed at the school. We were also given cups of coco tea, a widely suggested remedy to help with the altitude. After enjoying our welcoming gift, we were greeted by the principal, Olga Valverde, as well as by the 2 teachers that teach there and the 12 students that attend Panticalle. Elizabeth Paredes, one of the teachers, told us all that she has been teaching at Panticalle for 25 years! As a present to us, we were given Quechua workbooks by one of the teachers, Mr. Rufino Chuqui Mamani for us to take back to the US. He wanted us to use these workbooks to share a part of their culture in our classroom, which I think was an absolutely amazing gift. 

After the greetings, we sat in on one of the lessons for the day. The lesson was taught outside, something that I would love to incorporate in my classroom one day. The lesson for the day was having students read through a recipe on how to prepare trout, potatoes, and a mixed salad (which we would be having for lunch). The curriculum behind this was reading, comprehension, and application. Students read ingredients followed by the steps for the meal. Then students completed the steps as they read through them. This idea of this lesson is something that I feel needs to be incorporated more in US education. These lessons not only get students out of their seats, but also teach by doing which is a strategy of teaching that I have seen to be more effective in the classroom. These students were very involved in the lesson as they all were reading, went to get the ingredients, and even helped gut the trout! After the lesson, we had a bit of free time. Some of us played soccer with the students. While lunch was being prepared, we got to sit in on a lesson in the classroom. The school has 2 classrooms. This is a multi grade level school, however the classrooms are divided into grades. In one classroom are students grades 1-3, and in the other are students grades 4-6. Although this school allows students to stay up to 6th grade, it was said that most go to another school nearby for grades 3-6. Then if they choose to go to secondary school, the closest school to attend is in Ollantaytambo which is about an hour car ride away. Just some brief details about Panticalle, now back to our experience in the classroom. The teacher was teaching students about the different types of potatoes in Peru. Students first went to the board and drew the types of potatoes then wrote the name of the potatoes. After this activity, students turned the types of potatoes and words learned from the recipe into sentences. I really enjoyed watching this lesson and seeing how engaged students were. I was also surprised that the style of teaching here is similar to teaching in the US. After the lesson, it was time for lunch! The teachers, parents (and students) prepared for us a meal consisting of trout, potatoes, and a mixed green salad made of fresh vegetables farmed at the school. We enjoyed lunch with teachers, students, and visitors to the school that day. Then we took pictures, said our goodbyes, and started our journey up the mountain that we had previously hiked down to get to the school. After about an hour and a half, we had made it back to the bus! Our day at Panticalle was complete! 

Our day was such a wonderful, eye opening cultural experience. Now that you've heard about our day I would like to share some background information about Panticalle. As I said earlier, Panticalle is located in the bottom of the valley of the Andes Mountains, so the only way there is hiking. Not only do the teachers and students hike down and up the mountain everyday to get to school, but all the students have an additional walk from home. It was said that most students walk an hour or two before even getting to the top of the mountain that leads to Panticalle. The dedication teachers and students have for education is truly amazing. I know that in the US if just to get to school consisted of a straight uphill walk up and down a mountain, most would never come to school. Panticalle is also unique because it is a school that is part of the Intercultural Bilingual Education system. The bilingual part of that means that the school teaches two languages to students which are Quechua and Spanish. It was very neat seeing this put to use in the lesson. The first half of the recipe was in Quechua and the second half was in Spanish. It amazes me how many of the students could read in both languages at a young age. I don't even know two languages at 20! The intercultural part of that system means that their curriculum combines language and culture. An example of this is that Quechua is a native language so it is taught because it is part of their culture rather than English that is not widely spoken in this region of Peru. The US education system does incorporate intercultural curriculum into education, however they are lacking the bilingual part. I personally think Spanish should be a part of US education. There is an increased amount of diversity in the US with Hispanic becoming a large portion of our country's population. Additionally, when traveling abroad Spanish is widely spoken in many countries. I wish that I would have been taught Spanish during my primary grades of my education. If there was something that I think is truly amazing about education in Peru it is their feel of community in the classroom as well as their bilingual education. 

Our day was finished with a group dinner at Papacho's. Then it was time to get some much needed rest after a busy 3 days! Tomorrow is our last day in beautiful Cusco! 

~ Taylor Hanna

Monday, July 11, 2016

In Machu Picchu

Today was our highly anticipated visit to Machu Picchu.

Our day began bright and early (4am) to ride a bus, a train, and then another bus to take us to our final destination. We had gorgeous views of snow-capped mountains and streams as the train navigated through the mountains. Waking up long before the sun and taking various forms of travel was exhausting, but well worth it.

Machu Picchu is absolutely breathtaking. It is one of the Wonders of the World, and rightfully so. The ancient Incan ruins are prominently featured within the lush mountainsides of the jungle in the Andes Mountains. Machu Picchu was built in the 1440s by ancient Incans and its name translates into "Old Mountain," a title given by the locals. We had the opportunity to see Machu Picchu from a bird's-eye view and walk through the ruins, on the same ground the Incans once walked. Viewing the ruins at different angles and heights only intensified its ancient beauty. In addition to the lush vegetation, llamas also roamed the ruins. Llamas are larger and stronger than alpacas. Alpacas cannot handle the heat in the jungle area of the mountains.

After seeing Machu Picchu and taking more pictures than we will ever know what to do with, we shopped in the local market and ate lunch at a buffet in town. Although we could have stayed and admired Machu Picchu all day, we had to make our journey back to our hotel In Cusco to prepare for our visit to the Panticalle School tomorrow.

~ Caitlyn Sampson

Sunday, July 10, 2016

In the Sacred Valley of the Incas

We were very eager to try out the breakfast at Casa Andina, with hopes and dreams of something other than soupy eggs to accompany fruits and grains. We mounted the steps to the 4th floor at 7:30 am to find French toast, rolls, slices of bread, thin yogurt, cereal, fruit juice, coffee, less soupy eggs (but still very moist), and  small pieces of watermelon, pineapple, Papaya, and banana. After so many repeated days of the same breakfast, our hotel continental breakfasts have become mediocre, at best, to us.

Regardless of our individual feelings on breakfast selections, we were filled up and ready to head out for our adventures in the mountains. Our tour guide met us at 8:00 to take us to the Chinchero, Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley), Ollantaytambo (Inca ruins), and Pisac. We were to leave Cusco (11,000 ft above sea level) to reach 12,000 (abs).

Leaving Cusco we had had no idea the astonishing views we would encounter. The snow capped Andes, the humble farms, and the beautiful traditional attire of the people in the towns we passed through were incredible. We even had our tour bus stop to let us take pictures of the view along our route. We learned that whole village will work on one farm as a community at at a time.

Our first stop was at Chinchero. Here we learned about the construction of the buildings. If it’s an important building, usually you will not see mortar between the rocks. Many buildings have a foundation created by Incas, and on top you can see a physical change in construction of the building when the Spaniards colonized the country. At the church (an important building based on the non-mortared foundation), we saw a change from rock to adobe that was painted. The Spaniards told people from Chincheros that the walls and ceilings of the church must be painted. So, the church has a plain foundation and very beautifully painted walls and ceilings. Even though the Spanish oppressed the peoples of this area, they still carry on traditions of carrying Christian figures through the town on certain holidays. We got to witness the recessional of a wedding and preparations for a wedding to follow at the same church. The steps were littered with confetti. Our guide, Fernando, told us that when there is a wedding in the village, the whole village must be invited.

At the end of touring the village, we went to the market that occurs once a week. Textiles are bought and sold, shoe repairs take place on this day, and a plethora of foods are available to purchase and eat. We saw some of the guests from the wedding (with confetti in their hair) eating in the dining section of the market. They prepare sheep’s heads in a soup/broth  and eat every bit of it. Our tour guides favorite part of the sheep head is the brain. We ate cherimoya and passion fruit  from the market.

We continued ventured down through parts of the Sacred Valley and eventually made it to Ollantaytambo. The Inca ruins at Ollantaytambo are a sight of incredible human feats. The rocks used to build the walls for the ruins were brought over from the other side of the mountain. We can still see that paths used to roll rocks to the top of the tiered farming platforms. Food was grown in the valley area and on these platforms because of the rich supply of water and nutrients. We could see the remnants of the food storage buildings high in the mountains nearby. Every structure within the ruins was built with regard to the position of the sun, the seasons, and the amount of wind. The ruins are positioned where we can see the sun shinning on the farming platforms during the summer season. During the same season, the sun will shine on the water fountain, casting a shadow only inside the Chakana (a cross-like figure used by the Incas). The food storage buildings were built high in the mountains so that they received a large amount of wind to keep their crops cool.  Unlike many Inca ruins, this location does have a military fortress at the top. Many of us hiked all the way to the top to look around.

Weaving our way through the Sacred Valley, we made a stop for a lunch buffet at Tunupa. There was a variety of traditional dishes from an alpaca stew to tres leches cake. The food overall  was very delicious. And, it was in an absolutely gorgeous setting. There were even animals for us to feed. Emily, Alyssa, and Caitlyn fed alpacas with grass.

From there we took off for our final stop before heading back to the hotel. We arrived at Pisac to take a look at the Inca ruins, the farming terraces (or andenes), and the empty tombs in the mountain. Unfortunately, looters removed many of the mummies from the tombs. Now farmers live at the top of the mountain to keep guard of the remaining Inca mummies within the holes in the mountain. We took off for home right after I got very sick.

Of our group of 11, we had 2 who battled altitude sickness and 1 who was  getting over a stomach illness and 1 with  the stomach illness was just beginning. Each of these individuals were troopers.

~Katelyn Keighley

Saturday, July 9, 2016

In Cusco

Today was a very laid back day. We traveled to Cusco from Lima and the view from the plane of the mountains was breathtaking. When we landed we went to our hotel and then walked around the city for a bit.

For lunch we went to Don Tomas and I tried a Peruvian twist to ravioli and it was fantastic. After lunch we all took time to relax talk to our families and adjust to the altitude before we went out and explored the nighttime life of the city. For dinner we went to Incanto where I had alpaca pepperoni pizza and it was better than I thought it was going to be. Today was relaxing so we can enjoy the week to come! We have a busy week ahead of us.

~Kayla Hall

Exploring in Cusco

Today we had our last breakfast in Lima, which was so bittersweet. We had an early flight to Cusco this morning. My anticipation of seeing Cusco for the first time grew every half hour on the plane! As soon as I walked off the plane, I immediately fell in love with Cusco. Everyone was attached to their phones as we all took an abundance of pictures of the beautiful city we had just arrived in. 

Once we got settled in out hotel rooms we went to Don Tomás for lunch. I decided to order a dish I grew familiar with, that I had eaten in Lima, ají de gallina, which was so delicious! After lunch everyone went to their hotel rooms to rest from such a long morning of traveling.

A few hours later, a couple of us wanted to see a traditional Peruvian dance performance. We got to witness some of the night life in Cusco on our way to purchase tickets for the dance performance. We walked by the beautiful Qoricancha. The group fueled up at dinner to prepare for our fun-filled day of exploring in the Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo tomorrow!

~ Alyssa Jones

Friday, July 8, 2016

Rural education, gender gaps, and Human Resource Development

Hola from Peru! This morning, we enjoyed our next to last breakfast at the IBIS hotel. Shortly after, we headed to Universidad de Pacífico where we first heard from Ms. Maria Isabel Ponce from the Ministry of Education.

Maria discussed education in rural areas as well as intercultural bilingual education (IBE) in Peru. It was very eye opening to hear the struggles that these children face by living in rural areas. There are 3 elements that seem to define what "rural" is. The first element is that the students in these areas live in extreme poverty. In addition to the negative impact of the elements of poverty, there are other elements that distinguish it as being a rural area, like being malnourished. More than half of the children in rural areas ages 0-5 are malnourished! How can we expect for them to function in school and get an education when they do not have the proper nutrients to survive?  The next factor is that the schools and the population itself is highly scattered in this area. There are no main conglomerates. All of these factors come together to portray the rural environment, although trying to describe what is rural in Peru is not an easy task! We also found out that almost half of the IBE schools have teachers that are not qualified to teach in bilingual languages!

The next speaker we heard from, Magrith Mena, talked about the gender inequality in education in Peru. We found out that men earn 30% more than their female counterparts in the labor market. There are currently many gender inequalities that need to be examined more deeply. One is that gender equality is much more complex than just "boys" and "girls."  Another limitation is that we try to homogenize all woman and all men. Other gaps like mother tongue is also very numerically different.  Non-poor students are ranked closely together in regards to gender, but those that are poor have a larger gap. The next indicator looks at the total population at secondary schools. The age higher than what we expect as the "norm" (2 years older than the expected age), in both rural and urban areas are the ones that are more vulnerable to experience a lag in education according to their age, is much higher in rural areas. If we keep watching only the national gaps of gender, we will not see progress. It is important to represent both male and females in regards to gender equality. Her presentation was wonderful and extremely interesting, especially for a group of all women!

After our two presenters, Dr. Aliaga and I grabbed lunch at Papachos. It was delicious! I had a "pepper" burger with cheddar, shoestring fries, mushroom, and all different kinds of sauces.

After lunch, we headed to the Catholic University to speak with Prof. Paloma Martínez-Hague, who is part of the Human Resources area at the school of business at the Catholic University of Lima.  I got to specifically speak with her about human resource development (HRD). We discussed about how HRD is currently in the practitioner stage. HR is much more informal in Peru. When discussing research, Peruvian companies are just dealing with survival and not really focused on the research. Peruvians look at life in the "short term" and they want their money now. They are less likely to invest in an HR team. It was very interesting to talk to her about HR and I was very glad to have this personal meeting with her!

For dinner, we went to a beautiful restaurant named La Rosa Nautica. They had a selection of seafood, chicken, and much more. It was right on the beach front in a beautiful scenery both inside and out.

~ Emily Griffin

Thursday, July 7, 2016

A visit to the Colegio Carmelitas

After spending the morning at Universidad del Pacífico, both groups joined together at Colegio Nuestra Señora del Carmen (Colegio Carmelitas, or Carmelite school), a private Catholic school in the Miraflores district.  We met with the primary section principal, señora Rosa Ana Dongo.  Although this is her first year as principal, the school is CELEBRATING 60 YEARS in existence!
It was clear from our conversation and a tour of the school that there is a focus on academics as well as on enhancing students’ personal experiences.  In the classroom, teachers use small groups to create a sense of belonging and build positive relationships between students.  In these small groups, students select their own topics and engage in activities to develop research and problem-solving skills. During the school day and in afterschool activities, students also have the option of participating in workshops for the arts and sports including music, dance, visual arts, volleyball and basketball.  The pictures below include some of the student performances and art work that we had the privilege of enjoying.

La  señora Dongo also shared information about the instructional strategies, school-wide approach to positive discipline and teacher selection process at Colegio Nuestra Señora del Carmen.  This school was an excellent example of how to balance students’ academic and developmental needs.   I learned a lot and look forward to hearing more from the Comparative Education group who will return to the school tomorrow.
~ Faneshia Jones

The process of decentralization in the education system

Today the School Leadership Preparation group headed over to the Universidad del Pacífico for our morning session. We had the good fortune of meeting with Mr. Ricardo Manuel Muñoz, who works with the Peruvian Ministry of Education. He spoke with us about the arduous task of decentralizing education here in Peru, a process that began in 2003. The main goal of decentralization is to ensure quality resources are efficiently distributed to schools. Unfortunately, with the restructuring of the government, new roles and functions were not clearly defined, and thus, there has been a great deal of ambiguity as to what the unique roles and responsibilities of the national and regional governments are.

Mr. Muñoz further explained how local units of educational administration, called UGELs, were created to aid in overseeing schools and distributing materials. In recent years data has been collected regarding these institutions to aid in creating a standardized process for implementing UGEL design. The UGELs are quite diverse with some serving more rural communities, while others are in major metropolitan areas; some are located several hours away from the schools they serve, while others are within walking distance; some are in districts where there is no running water, while others are equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Given the educational diversity and economic disparities throughout the country, it is no surprise that it is challenging to regulate UGELs. Despite these impediments to progress, there is hope. The national government is continuously working to overcome obstacles to decentralization, and Mr. Muñoz estimates that it will about another ten years to remedy the current problems.

After our presentation by Mr. Muñoz, we enjoyed lunch at La Baguette, a café a block away from the school. We ordered burgers and other sandwiches, including chicharrones (a sandwich with pork, sweet potato, and onion). The café also had a large assortment of pastries and other desserts. I ended my meal with an alfajor, which is a confection consisting of two round cookies with a filling between them. My personal favorites are alfajores de manjar blanco (manjar blanco is a caramel filling very similar to dulce de leche). It was so delicious that I ordered a second one to go! After lunch we joined the rest of our group at Colegio Nuestra Señora del Carmen.

~ Kimberly Sanders

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

At Colegio de la Inmaculada

Our morning in the classrooms of Colegio de la Inmaculada had an interesting development:  the staff, teachers, as well as the students were all celebrating Teacher Appreciation Day. According to my third grade teacher, Teacher Appreciation Day is pretty much celebrated as a holiday in Peru. When I arrived in Profesora Melissa’s classroom I immediately noticed the abundance of presents the students gave her. The next thing I noticed was how her classroom had beautifully transformed, decorated with balloons and pictures of all the students along with a ‘thank you’ message on the chalk board from her students.

The Teacher Appreciation Day festivities began with an assembly for the entire student body. During the assembly students sang a song they dedicated to their teachers (which I heard my third grade students practicing in music class yesterday). After the song, all the teachers, (as well as Kayla, Taylor, Caitlyn and myself) were invited to sit in our own section separate from students; while the high schoolers supervised the elementary students for the remainder of the celebration. The teachers smiled from ear to ear as they watched and hysterically laughed during the mock game shows and dance off between some of the teachers.

After the assembly all the students walked back to their classroom as their teachers were excused to get breakfast the school provided for them. While my teacher was out of the room eating her breakfast, the P.E teacher came in to supervise. I quickly began to realize that not only was this day a break for teachers, but also for students as well. The students took a break from their regular, rigorous schedule and played games and watched movies for the remainder of the school day. I am certain Teacher Appreciation Day was a treat for everyone, especially since the students had an early dismissal, not to mention that the teachers have a day off tomorrow.

After a short morning in school, our group decided to go to an amazing Peruvian restaurant, “Pescados Capitales”. The meal I had was by far one of the best meals I have had in Peru thus far! Not only was the food delicious, but the restaurant itself was so beautiful. We then decided to go to the Indian Market to begin to shop for souvenirs. I was immediately mesmerized by the colorful scarves, alpaca blankets, and the llama figurines. We ended our fun-filled day with a tasty meal at “Tanta” for dinner.

~Alyssa Jones

A thank you message on the board

Ms. Jones and her classroom at the Inmaculada

A day in Caral

Today started with a four-hour bus ride to the ruins of Caral, north of Lima. Caral is the second oldest ancient city in the world. It is 5,000 years old but was not discovered until 1994. It is made up of 23 complexes with two main areas. Archeologists in charge of this site indicate that this town was a peaceful one because the only weapons that were found thus far are the ones used to hunt down food.
This civilization also built multiple pyramids. These pyramids were the most sacred of this society; it is where they would keep their temples and the people of most importance to the city lived right next to it. The pyramids always stared with a plaza where the public ceremonies, dances and activities would be held. The stairs led to the temple where the private ceremonies would be held inside the pyramid. All the pyramids that they built were truncated, flat at the top instead of pointed like the ones in Egypt. It has been theorized that only important people had access to the temple.
Among the discoveries is a Quipu, which is a counting system built on threads. It is estimated that population that lived in this society was about 3,000 people. One of the facts about this society is that they traded with other civilizations for goods.
There are 100 people still working on uncovering more about this city every day. The excavations suggest there is a cemetery in the area, but they have only found four bodies thus far and one is theorized to be a body used in human sacrifice for an offering to the Gods. It is believed that the people left the town due to weather instead of an invasion because no weapons were found and no bodies of fallen warriors.
We ended our tour at the center where there was a Wanka or standing stone which was used as a solar clock and was right by the main street which lead to the rest of the city.
We ended our day with a lunch at Bolivar restaurant in the city of Huacho where I had tacu tacu con lomo saltado.  This plate is made out of rice and bean mixture with a sauce and a steak-like meat on top with cooked onions and tomatoes.
Today we learned about ancient people, I can’t wait to see what is in store for tomorrow.

~ Kayla Hall

Eating a lomo saltado con tacu tacu in Huacho

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Teacher appreciation

We (the Comparative Education group) began our day with a second visit to Colegio de la Inmaculada. It was a shortened day of school because of Teacher Appreciation Day in Peru tomorrow, July 6th. Inmaculada will be closed for Teacher Appreciation Day. The teachers at Inmaculada received gifts and special treats from their students throughout the day. They were also honored onstage at an assembly. It is clear that teachers are held to a high esteem in Peru, based on what we saw on our time spent at Inmaculada yesterday and today. We were also included in the Teacher Appreciation festivities and invited onstage. 

After saying our goodbyes at Inmaculada and receiving thank you gifts from the administrators, we ate a delicious lunch at Pescados Capitales. It had many Peruvian fish specialties that everyone enjoyed. After lunch, we stopped by the Indian Market in Lima to shop for Peruvian souvenirs. The vendors offered a wide variety of brightly-colored and beautiful items. Llamas tended to be a common theme on the goods, which is not surprising, considering that they are indigenous to the Andes. 

One of the most interesting parts of the day was when Taylor Hanna, Dr. Aliaga, and I sampled some Peruvian fruits. We ate chirimoya and granadilla. The chirimoya has a white flesh with many black seeds, but has a sweet flavor and is a popular fruit amongst Peruvians. The granadilla is in the pomegranate family. We used spoons to scoop out the seeds, taste the juices, and swallow without chewing. It was a delicious, yet interesting experience.

To finish our day, we had dinner at Tanta in Larcomar. Tasty meals were enjoyed by all. I look forward to trying more Peruvian cuisine and exploring Peru as the trip continues.

~Caitlyn Sampson

Ms. Sampson and her class at the Inmaculada

Monday, July 4, 2016

A Day at Colegio de la Inmaculada!

Our day began bright and early for the CE (Comparative Education) group. We were off to spend the day in the classrooms of Colegio de la Inmaculada, a private Catholic school in Lima. The other group spent the day at Universidad de Pacífico before joining the CE group at the school.

At Colegio de la Inmaculada, I was placed in a kindergarten classroom which I was very excited for because kindergarten is one of my favorite grades! An awesome component of this school's curriculum that I noticed right away is that they begin teaching English to students in pre-school and continue throughout their education. The classroom I was in had a teacher who taught using English and another who taught using Spanish. The morning began as an English classroom with the afternoon having curriculum taught in Spanish. During the morning, I interacted with students by reading them a book, going through a phonics poem with them, and helping the teacher with class activities. During the afternoon, I got the chance to observe teacher/ student interactions. Through interacting with students and the teachers as well as through observing, I soon discovered that education in Peru is very community directed. I absolutely loved all of the class activities including singing, dancing, and games played together throughout the school day. One of my favorite activities they did was "the shoebox." The class has decorated a giant shoebox with all the students names on it. Each week a student's name is drawn and that student takes the shoebox home. They fill the shoebox with things meaningful to them, bring the shoebox back and present their "treasures" to the class. All the students were beaming with excitement to find out what was in the shoebox. This activity connects students together by having each student share a bit about them and their life away from school. I also noticed that the proper greeting is a hug, rather than a handshake often used in the US. Teachers would also hug and kiss each student before they left at the end of the day. I really liked the strong sense of community within this school, and wished the US had more of this in their education system. 

After spending the day at the school, the CE group met up with the other group and got a tour of the campus of Colegio de la Inmaculada, including a bus ride to the top of a mountain that left us with an amazing overlook of Lima. The school, which consists of primary as well as secondary education, is a beautiful (and huge) campus, although the best surprise was this school's own zoo! Yes, a school with their own zoo! Their zoo consisted of deer, emu, llamas, Pumas, jaguars, native South American bears, and birds (and that wasn't all the animals). The zoo started as a place for unwanted exotic animals to go, and has hopes to find homes for these animals in the wild one day. What a wonderful way to end a fulfilled day at Colegio de la Inmaculada! 

After a quick rest at the hotel, our group headed to dinner at Madam Tusan, a restaurant known for their "Chifa". Chifa is a type of Chinese food that blends with Peruvian and African flavors. It was delicious! After a full day (and a full belly) it was time to get some rest for another day at Colegio de la Inmaculada tomorrow! 

~Taylor Hanna

Ms. Kayla Hall with the students in her class

Making good friends with these welcoming teachers at CI

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sites of old and modern history

Our second day in Lima was filled with a little bit of history and a whole array of beautiful sites. We started our day with a group breakfast at the hotel which included coffee, juices, fruits, cheeses, eggs, pancakes (sin jarabe) and a wide variety of breads – our favorite is the cake that tastes even better with a little bit of butter. We fueled up for our trip to the gorgeous Larco Herrera Museum.

The thrill rides offered by the taxi drivers got us quickly to the museum where we were greeted by the most breathtaking flowered walls; the colors and designs made us give our cameras quite the workout. Sprawling vines of reds and purples met the subtle greens of the cacti standing tall nearby. Even the doors gave pause as we marveled at the aesthetics. We followed the floral walkways to the entrance to the museum exhibits.

As we entered the exhibit we came face to face with Peruvian pottery, paintings, tapestries, and jewelry that dated back as early as 2000 b.C., with the more modern pieces in the collection dating in the Colonial Era (1532 a.C.). We were lucky to have Dr. Aliaga there to point us to the more poignant pieces, especially since some of us did not read all of the English translations for each piece. We were wowed by the intricate scenes painted on pottery that depicted fearless warriors or were made to honor deities. We also got a glimpse at domestic tools used throughout different eras and we loved seeing the jewelry rooms that would put any Tiffany’s & Co. to shame. As hard as we tried, we could not get our phones to let us face swap into the most stunning headpiece of the collection. There was one room of pottery that depicted scenes that would make any mother blush.

In such a beautiful setting we could not bear to eat lunch anywhere else. We had to eat at the Museum restaurant where we tried new Peruvian dishes. I had the Lomo Saltado which consists of stir fried beef tenderloin, onions and tomatoes. This is served with French fries and rice with corn. It was absolutely delicious. Rodney sat across from me with his order of aji de gallina. It was a strange yellow hue of chicken stew that looked so good I stole his dish from him. That is one meal I will have to have before leaving Peru.

After filling up with lunch we headed back to the hotel to regroup. We then left for our bus tour of the city. We were able to walk to the buses and found the John F. Kennedy park full of children, adorable food vendor carts, and a hoard of cats! The stray cats live in the park and there is actually a committee that feeds them. We boarded the double decker bus across from the art being sold at the park and took off to see the hundreds of parks, homes of influential Peruvians, and the gorgeous views around the city and next to the beach.

We immediately got into taxis to see a truly unique experience. We headed to the Parque de la Exposición: Circuito Mágico del Agua. When we entered the park we saw a tiny locomotive ushering little kids and their parents around the lighted fountains. Dr. Newcomb, Faneshia, Emily, and I made a stop at the dog show that was happening right when we got there. We made it to the main show just in time for the glory of the light, sound, and water show to begin. Images danced across that water spraying from the fountain—using the water as a screen—in time with a concert of songs we loved… My personal favorite was “El Cóndor Pasa”, which I knew from Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Trouble Water album. Several of our group members enjoyed a stroll through an arched water tunnel before running to the center of a fountain that sporadically starts and stops as you make your way to the inner circle.

We ended out night with a delicious, but chilly dinner. We ate outside, overlooking the ocean at Mangos at Larcomar. With our stomachs full, we toddled back to the hotel to get a good night’s for tomorrow's fun at school.  

~Katelyn Keighley

At the Larco Herrera Museum

Huaca Pucllana
Parque Kannedy in Miraflores

At the Water Show, Parque de la Exposición

Saturday, July 2, 2016

A wonderful first day in Peru

Yay! We are finally here! It was a great flight, and even the 6 hour layover wasn't too bad. We arrived late and we were all exhausted. This morning, we woke up, had a wonderful breakfast with fresh fruit, juice, bread, and coffee. We headed out on our first adventure. We walked to see the Pacific Ocean, just a few blocks from our hotel. The sight was beautiful. There were huge waves crashing, people sightseeing, and the weather was just right.

As we left in our taxi, I felt like I was hanging on for dear life! I could literally high five someone from my window to their car. On the expressway, we even had men approaching the car to try to sell us drinks. It seemed like every car had some kind of weird figure hanging from the rear view mirror. One car had a monkey hanging and another a giraffe. I have never seen such a sight! Everywhere we turned, there were people outside making a living from their small carts of products or little open shops in the middle of the town. Stray dogs were everywhere and no one seemed to notice or care.

We got to the historical downtown part of  Lima. The pictures don't do it justice, it is beautiful! The architecture, colors, and beauty was one of a kind. We got there at the perfect time because we got to watch the change of the guard being done in front of the Presidential palace.

After this great experience, we left for the San Francisco church and catacombs. We walked through a tour of paintings, the library, and even through all the catacombs-- 25,000 bodies to be exact (bones of the deceased). It was such a good experience and a neat place to discover with my classmates. The place we visited was created  by the Spanish in the 1600s. There were paintings brought from Europe and even a last supper painting. However, this one was different because it was created in 1696, and it was more so related to the Incas. You could tell this because there were fish and Guinea pigs as part of the course of the supper--both Peruvian delicacies.  We even saw part of the architecture that was made of bamboo to resist earthquakes.

Next, we headed to lunch at La Buena Muerte ( the Good Death restaurant). We were all confused by the menu, so thankfully Dr. Aliaga could translate for us! I got fried marlin and lemonade (it was good but could've used some ketchup) and some of the others got ceviche which is raw fish cooked with lemon juice!

Afterwards we got our tickets for the football game! We rested and headed right back out for a full night of soccer, I mean football! It was an exciting game between Universitario de Deportes and the Deportivo Municipal at the National stadium. I am so glad I went!

To finish up the night, we got dinner at Pardo’s Chicken.  It was so delicious! I even tried a cows heart—“anticucho”. It tasted like steak, very delicious. We got back to our hotel and headed to bed. What a wonderful first day indeed!

~ Emily Griffin