March 14, 2010

In briefing, the inauguration was a success. Our six families arrived early in the morning to help prepare the inaugural feast and to get their daughters situated for their first daunting evening in the dormitory. Throughout the morning, mothers busied themselves gutting the cuyes and cleaning the house, fathers readied the...

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Primera minca

Primera minca Faena, as it is know in the Sacred Valley, has no direct translation to English. It comes from the rich Incan tradition of communal labor. Schools, rural communities, community associations all require faenas. These faenas are used to improve water supplies, maintain communal land and build community buildings. On...

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And the Rains Continue

In Ollanta on a dismal and sodden morning. Today marks the third day of March and consequently the first day of school in Ollantaytambo. The rains continue and the newspaper reports ‘Otra Tragedia’ as the Quesermayo River inundates the Pisac region leaving seven dead in Taray and hundreds more without...

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Soccer and Chicha

Yesterday Alex and I spent the afternoon playing pick up soccer with a group of guys who get together most days. It felt good to have an afternoon off from working on the dormitory, but it also felt productive. A big part of working in a town like...

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Yachay Wasi

At two in the afternoon yesterday we exited the office of the Ollantaytambo town judge having just signed a two-year contract for the building that will become Yachay Wasi. That’s the name we’ve decided to call the dormitory. It means “Casa de Aprendisaje,” or “House of Learning,” in...

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Three Cups of Mate

In the summer of 2008, a tall idealistic American sat down with his frail and pensive Andean goddaughter in the rural community of Socma. Shrouded by the dramatic mountains of the Sacred Valley, he questioned her about her educational future. High school is not an option, she retorted. She would...

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