Volver a Cusco

Coca leaves

I have safely arrived in Cusco, and have started to settle back into life here. I endured a self-inflicted 6 hour layover at the Lima airport, and after 11 departures and arrivals to that airport, I still don´t know who its namesake, Jorge Chavez, is. The scenery on the flight to Cusco was incredible, with snow-capped mountains poking through the clouds right below us.

My first day included a visit to the Spanish school to take care of the paperwork, plus a surprise test to measure my level. Even without much sleep, I think I did as well as I could. I shopped for some groceries and necessities, and discovered they were out of my favorite Quaker chocolate porridge. Sadly, the next day, even the little tag for the chocolate variety was gone. And, as I can´t seem to buy anything without having a return, I successfully returned a faulty deodorant stick whose little wheel just spun around fruitlessly.

Later the first night, the volunteer coordinator for the Pilcopata organization, Erica, came by to see me and we had dinner at the Cafe Yanapay, where I saw Yuri, the organizer of Aldea Yanapay. She seems to be doing a great job, and has the knowledge and experience to run the program.  All in all, a pretty productive day for not having any real sleep for 20 hours.

On Tuesday I returned to Aldea Yanapay.  I was early, and as I waited outside, a woman came by to check out the place.  It was virtually the same experience I had when I first visited, with me in the ´welcoming, experienced volunteer´role this time!  Hopefully I´ll see her back there.  Sadly, I discovered that nearly all the kids are new.  I´m not sure what happened to all the kids from last year…  Only Clara, the deaf girl, was there.  She recognized me immediately, and ran to give me a big hug.  I had printed out a huge photo of her and another girl playing jumprope, so she was thrilled when I gave her that.  Yuri renovated the building next door to the school for the older kids, which seems to work out well since there are so many (adorable) little ones.  My favorite little girl and her sister seem to have moved away :(

So I´ve already met a ton of people – the new volunteers, people at the school and at their weekly dinner, and I can´t wait to get back into it all!

Finger Puppets – perro, chanchito, penguino, mono, gato