Moo Moo for Malcorancho!

Monday, September 29, 2014
Malcorancho, Cochabamba, Bolivia

As you can probably guess from the title, we are now in cow country .

Jean Carla, our local director, led us to two buses and we took a 45 minutes bus ride from the city of Cochabamba to the small rural town of Malcorancho, after stopping at a super market to get lunches for the week. We all got dropped off two by two to at our host families house and settled in for the night.

It has been early mornings so far, meeting up at Craig and Jeremy´s house to walk about 30 minutes to the school we have been working on.

The first morning we waited a little longer for Jeremy, who was trying to get a turkey that he let in, out of the kitchen. Their yard is pretty hectic, full of turkeys and rabbits and cows nearby.
At work, some of us have been tiling the floor of one room, others have been stuccoing the walls in another, and partners have been going together, with the help of Alicia (team leader), to teach English in several classrooms.

The first day we worked at the school Katy and Craig went off to teach . They came back at lunch and told us that they worked with 1st and 3rd graders, 30 kids to one classroom. They were exhausted. But the next few days we sort of got the hang of teaching, and again Alicia was a huge help since she has taught English before.

The second day at lunch, Geoff and Arvind left the bleachers to play soccer with the local kids at gym class. Shortly after the girls followed and there was a huge soccer game, girls vs. boys. It was very fun but difficult at times as we had trouble not stepping on the very little kids who were trying to play as well. Geoff loves to talk to the kids and try to teach them soccer phrases in English.

The walks to work are pretty interesting and beautiful as well, sometimes we see cows close to the edge of the road or even sheep in the middle of the road. The mountains in the background are gorgeous when it is sunny and there´s a blue sky. We are always getting strange looks from the locals, but if we say Buendia first they open up and say it back and are very friendly . The other day we were walking back and a little girl yelled to her mom ¨Estan los gringos, mommy!¨ (There are the gringos). A gringo is a foreigner, someone who is usually from the U.S., and does not look at all like they are from there.

Thursday the school had a huge assembly, with all 800 kids, for Youth International and another group that had been helping with the school construction. A farewell to the other group and a welcome to us. They set up a line of chairs outside in the gym area in front of all the kids. Some of the teachers gave a speech and a few kids and teachers came down the line putting confetti in our hair and hugging us. We also danced with the kids as the school´s small band played some festive music. Afterward some of the parents prepared a questionable lunch for us, but it was a very nice thought. Throughout the lunch we were all trying to pick the mounds of confetti out of our hair.

As it is a very different living experience than Cochabamba, it has been tough, but equally rewarding working on the school.

We are very excited to be going to see a professional soccer game (on Sunday the 28th) and for next week to continue working on the school and with the kids!