Back to work

Since something did not sit so well with my stomach on Tuesday, Wednesday converted itself into a lay-in-bed-for-most-of-the-day-even-though-you-would-much-rather-be-doing-other-things kind of day off work. It involved chatting with a friend online, starting a new book, listening to music, eating in very small portions, overdosing on tea, and trying convince my lovely host mother that no, I had not eaten food outside of her kitchen within the previous 24 hours.

I ended up going to my second rehearsal with the awesome people I met at Monday’s rehearsal. At the rehearsal we were short by two university students who have night classes on Wednesdays, but it was reassuring to have our maestro take a seat like the rest of us and fill in for one of the missing 2nd violins. And as any dog lover would do, I was sure to get lots of puppy love from the maestro‘s dog Harry (both prior to and after playing) to supplement my medicine in the form of music. Result: I felt 110% better  when I returned home.

Yesterday the Internet was not working AT ALL at the Centro Esperanza (CE) office and I was the witness of a very head-strong co-worker of mine explaining to a customer service representative at the internet service provider office the definition of providing a service and what customer service is (supposed to be) all about. (Context: the sporadic Internet connection over the past month has been driving the CE staff and volunteers crazy and making our jobs much harder than they have to be). Result: the Internet was working today at the office.

I attended a session with kids yesterday which involved a dance class followed by a music (zampoña, pan flute) class. It was a lot of fun to participate, if only for a few songs, in dancing to music from the Amazonas region of Peru when I took a couple breaks from analyzing the gender inequality in ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ and ‘Cinderella’. I have been tasked with ‘re-writing’ the stories (while trying to keep to the story line) to make them more inclusive and respectful of the female gender. I’ll present my analysis of the stories and my ‘new versions’ at a workshop next Friday for the women ‘promoters’ who work to offer sessions with children at the 11 different CE program sites. The theme for August is the promotion of reading. Naturally CE wants the promoters to be able to highlight the importance of the ability for parents, especially mothers, to be able to analyze a story’s text themselves. choosing stories which promote equality and the development of healthy ‘autoestima‘ (self-esteem).

Back to yesterday afternoon, in which the zampoña class is always my favourite part. I am still learning to get a good quality sound out of the instrument and I really should do what I tell the kids to do: practice everyday! However, even more satisfying than having the kids or myself playing a passage correctly is having the kids play in unison, in time. Curious about what song we are learning? Here is a performance of Llorando se fue” (Crying, she left) by Los Kjarkas, one of the most popular Andean folk music bands in Bolivian history. Since Peru and Bolivia share the southern part of the Andean mountain range, they are also both home to the Quechua and Aymara indigenous peoples who share cultural and linguistic elements, such as the use of the zampoña

And for your viewing pleasure, this is what a zampoña looked like in the eyes of the young artists in the La Ladrillera last Saturday. I divided the kids up into four groups, each charged with drawing a different item from observation and then filling in the extra space with drawings from their imagination; someone is holding the group object in each photo.

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I am stoked to head back for drawing class number two tomorrow afternoon, but it is time to put the finishing touches on my the materials for the youth group I have yet to guide tonight…¡feliz fin de semana! (happy weekend!)

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