To celebrate the seventh birthday of Los Cachorros, we had three days of festivities this past weekend. On Friday night all the kids and staff of Los Cachorros (accompanied by a brass brand from a local school) walked through the main streets of Ayacucho with candles and anti-drug and anti-domestic violence banners. Peruvians love street protests/marches/processions, and although there seems to be at least one a day in Ayacucho nobody seems to mind when streets and traffic are blocked.
Saturday morning was filled with activites, games and dancing - the boys in the permanent shelter who I work with put on their version of "Thriller" and all the staff did a traditional Peruvian dance. This involved a line of eight men (jumping and doing "sexy" shoulder movements) facing eight women (in very short skirts). After seeing such dances in Ayacucho and especially during Carnaval, it was a fun experience to don the traditional outfit and entertain the kids. On Sunday we held the "premiere" of the twenty minute movie that one of the other volunteers has been working on with the kids. For the event the boys were all dressed up to look like movie stars and they loved the paparazzi-like attention that we gave them as they walked down our improvised red carpet. Apart from the celebrations at Los Cachorros, in the last few weeks:
- As well as teaching English and PE, I started giving computer classes - when they obey the rules of the house and do all their chores and school work, the kids earn time on the computers we have for them in our study room. Usually they just play a war/shoot 'em up game, so I was pleasantly surprised when they liked my "learn to type" game;
- There was an earthquake. It measured 6.0 on the Richter Scale and its epicentre was just south of Ayacucho - thankfully there were no injuries or damage done to the city;
- On a trek with a few friends (Ayacucho is great for trekking - the city is at an altitude of 2800m and it is surrounded by mountains) one of the guys fell into a gorge! We were trying to descend into a dry river bed, when the ledge he was on gave way - we couldn´t see him but heard the ledge breaking, his cursing and then the sound of him and rocks falling. Very luckily once we got down to him all he had was a badly scraped arm.
What with taking part in a street procession, doing a traditional dance and experiencing an earthquake I feel I've had a very Peruvian (and fun) few weeks.