On Sunday, 20th of March, the Sacred Valley Project celebrated the start of its’ second operational year and inauguration of the new dormitory building. This 2011 school year, with twelve students and twelve families, management will surely be a tricky issue. However, the families and students alike have impressed us with their promptness, dedication and responsibility. Everyone showed up early Sunday morning to pitch in with all the to dos before the start of our inauguration. Furniture was rearranged, our lavish inauguration meal was prepared and some last minute renovations of the new home were completed.
Though not as extravagant as our first year’s opening fete, the day was a veritable success. The young women were calm and helpful, the mothers worked wonderfully together to prepare our lunch, and even the weather cooperated. The clouds cleared, the sun shone through, and we were all left in awe of the spectacular scenery surrounding the dormitory and town of Ollantaytambo.
Helping out in the kitchen, I was given the chance, nay the privilege to learn how to clean and cook the cuyes (guinea pigs), a special treat usually reserved for large celebrations and special events. Though a bit doubtful at first, I soon learned how to season the perfect cuy, and the mother’s of the young women of the dorm now avow that I am ready to meet my husband! Indeed!
In all, the mothers and sisters pitched in to make a delectable meal of cuy, rocoto relleno (hot peppers stuffed with ground beef and vegetables), tallarin al horno (baked pasta with olives) and choclo (good ‘ole corn). The meal was enjoyed by absolutely everyone, even the newer additions to the dormitory (a puppy named Osito and our boisterous watchdog, Doky).
As with all great inaugurations in Peru, chicha was present for the thirsty, plenty of hugs and complimentary words were shared, speeches were made, and our stomachs were filled until they nearly burst. The students of the dormitory sang a few songs for those in attendance, and Yesica, one of our second year students, even donned a dress and courageously sang a solo for the crowd in attendance. The occasion was merry indeed, and left me on the verge of tears.
Another year to come, and though it will surely entail a slew of work, we have no doubt that with the positive collaboration of the students and their families we will be able to advance and grow!