Monday, June 27, 2011

Flaming Tails, Guinea Pig Bets, and a Machete

Regarding Last Friday, 6/24/11
Delayed Post. Boyfriend has been stealing all of my internet time ;)

Starting to get excited. 

Last Thursday, we had our first school visit. Seeing the kids here and getting a chance to interact with them in a school setting was really great. 

Last Friday, training was a bit of a free day and was easily the most fun we have had at training since our arrival. In the morning we played traditional games in the US like red light/ green light, musical chairs, etc. In the afternoon, the staff here shared with us some events and games that are common in Peru. 

These activities began with our tech trainers demonstrating a dance in which ladies wearing paper tails are chased by men with lit candles. The men try to light the tails up while the women shake their butts to prevent their tails from catching the flame... all the while dancing very well. Some of us took part in this after we learned what it was. I did not volunteer for this one, but it was really funny to watch ;) 

Next, they moved us to an area in the grass where a curious looking set-up had been arranged. As the photo in this post shows, there where little cardboard houses situated in a circle around an upside down box. We quickly learned that under the box sat a cuy, or guinea pig. Even in English I prefer calling them cuy because it's shorter than 'guinea pig' and, well, cuter. Cuy are everywhere here. Not to have as pets though, to eat. Anyway, the situation at hand can best be described by comparing it to the one and only Chicken Drop game, as made famous by Grand Marsh, WI as the showcase event at the annual corn 'n tater fest. Ok, so I know it's not the only chicken drop, but it's surely the best. Back to the cuy. The way it works is that bets are placed on the houses surrounding our little man. Each house has a number on it and players pay 20 centimos per house. After putting in your 20 centimos, you get a number. If Mr. Cuy chooses your number/ house, you win the prize sitting on top of that house. We played several times and he never chose my number :( I could have continued this for hours though. I hope this game is popular wherever I am going. 

Last, the pinata tree. This is called a Yunza. A small-ish tree was placed in the ground and covered in fun things. Presents, balloons, streamers, toys, candy, mandarins, etc. We danced around the tree for awhile throwing flour and confetti at each other, swinging around partners by the elbow, and drinking some juice that was a substitute for what is normally chicha (I'm too lazy to give you a link. Type of beer-ish drink). A pair of our language/ cultural facilitators was dressed up as the 'godparents' and eventually began passing around a machete for us to each take turns trying to knock down the tree. As none of us knows how to use a machete, this took awhile. After several whacks and pushes, we gave up and knocked it over. I came out of the deal with a yo-yo and a little yellow dinosaur I named Connie, who is a male. 

It was a really great way to finish out the week and begin our weekend, also a nice way to learn some fun stuff about what lies ahead of us. Until next time :)

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