When you start to plan a route around Peru, Trujillo isn't one you would think of first, however when I started to create my South America itenerary I decided the best way to start was to combine Spanish learning and English teaching. So Trujillo became top of my list as I stumbled across a fantastic organisation based in the city centre.
Espaanglisch takes volunteers from all over the world and asks them to teach English to Children and Adults in several different schools.
My first week was memorable, I blogged a little then
Now I want to finish off the story of a very memorable time. I started off rather nervous at the thought of teaching alone but once I learnt the basics from Mary Beth (the excellent coordinator at espaanglisch) I soon fell into my element.
I am extremely sad to leave Trujillo, not because it is the prettiest place or the most historic or even the most fun, I am sad because I was part of a great team and felt needed in the schools and classes. As many teachers said goodbye today, one speech in particular sticks in my mind. 'Thank you very much for your time here David it has been great for the children to carry on their studies of English, more than that though it is the fact that you come here and show that you care and want to be part of their lives. That I am thankful for'
I truly loved going to school each day no matter if it was going to be a crazy day or not. Believe me some of the classes were a little hectic. On the flip side it was a great feeling when a concept like a verb or piece of vocab was grasped and you can see something click! Everyday I arrived to a whole host of hugs and smiling faces, it was very difficult to get any names memorized but it didn't matter as long I was there helping them to enjoy English!
Working in three different schools I could see the differences in level of care and discipline, the school funded primarily by charity work (Una Sondrisa Del Amor) and a School headed by a Religious man who believed in free education, were both very organised and ran very smoothly. Unfortunately the same can't be said for the other school ran by the state, teachers didn't seem to care as much. The kids however were just as cute and attentive.
My last day was not only a day of verbal thanks, I was given all sorts of presents and lovely cards, I didn't feel deserving of such love but it was a great feeling to see I had made an impression. One of the greatest presents was a diploma from the school to say I'd completed my 'Sondrisa' experience. Which I will keep safe and hopefully find a nice wall space for it.
Teaching adults on three evenings a week was another challenge, as the weeks went on my classes grew from one person (a girl who I had regular intercambio sessions with) (language exchanges) to a whole group. Every week I had to set out my topics and then create a one hour lesson plan for each, things like reflexive pronouns and past perfect are subjects I've not been familiar with, they are just things I use without knowing so I had to revise my own language a little as well.
All in all I must say teaching adults is a lot more difficult, you can't go into a classroom and be silly and fun for an hour, they are paying people and therefore expect a more serious approach. The kids on the other hand were an easier audience. One of the classes always started with a national anthem exchange! Another decided to take the concept of 'hes bananas' and turn it into my name being 'Banana' as I left that school, children were shouting 'Adios Banana'
Of course Trujillo was not just about the teaching, I managed to get to the beach every week at least once. Huanchaco is a lot more touristy and load of fun. Several sunsets were watched, papas eaten (a stuffed potato which has become my favorite Peruvian snack) ultimate Frisbee games and parties attended! I also rented surfboard for an afternoon but with the waves scarily huge and no instructor to guide I certainly struggled. It was however hilarious to some of the locals as they watched me get dumped time after time in the waves.
I managed to get a really touristy day in with 'colonial tours' it included a visit to two parts, in the afternoon the Chan Chan area built by Moche people,very interesting to see the hierarchy and traditions of these people at 4 different areas, the best of which was the actual city itself which spans over 20km. The morning was by far the best part. We toured the Huaca del sol y la Luna which is still being heavily excavated. Unbelievable Site. Firstly the museum that accompanies it is very modern and the picture of how some of the Moche graves were found, really puts things into perspective. The tour was equally impressive, getting to see how they built one layer then filled it in to make a second and so on. There is still so much to find, especially in the city that is built between the two temples and the sun temple itself has a lot of work left to uncover several layers of history. Felt special to be a site that isn't yet finished, it is a new experience for me, normally a historical place has been fully excavated and nothing more will be found.
Managed to enjoy a salsa lesson and put it into practice at a big club night, I didn't do badly in the class but out in the wild failed miserably! Got to sample many of the Peruvian dishes...papas need to get a second mention along with pastry snacks that were delicious. Cerviche is a fishy meal and although isn't my favourite, it was still very delicious and felt healthy! Took part in some local football games and a visit to the local swimming pool which cost all of 1sole (about 30pence) was invited to the annual spring parade http://dtoddinsoutham.travellerspoint.com/4/
and of course sampled the amazing transport system, consisting of crazy combi rides, taxis with 8 people crowding a four seater and the ironically named micros which were huge and equally manic. Road in Peru seem to have one rule and that is you have to accept at every turn someone is going to pull out in front you and in turn you have every right to cut people off if it gets you to the destination faster. So many potential crashes and yet I saw only one in 1month (certainly better than Perth!)
I must give a special mention to Estelle and Jennifer, two Volunteers who stayed around the same time as me, really enjoyed their company as well as constant accent teasing. It was great to have them there as I didn't feel like the only new person in the ranks. We certainly had a lot of fun.
David and Carmen residents and owners of the house were always on hand for quick Spanish tips and hint to keep us safe and well, David( the manager of Espaanglisch) is one of the most social and happy people I've ever met. His English, Spanish, French are so close to perfect he almost fluent.
MaryBeth also needs to be mentioned, fantastic coordinator and organiser. Her job title could also be translator, tour guide, restaurant selector, fun creator! Many others! I can't sing her praises enough. There was a day where we took the girls from next door aged 6 and 8 to the beach. It will be one memory I will hold very close. The girls loved it and so did we, it appeared they hadn't managed to get to the beach often so the experience was a bit of a novelty. I felt like a parent watching my children. Loved every minute.
The teaching was a test to see how I would fair in front of 30 or even 40kids, from what people have said I didn't do badly which makes me feel confident if I pursued a career in the childcare/education sectors!
Trujillo in general Is not the prettiest of cities but it was extremely friendly and welcoming to 'gringos' very fond memories of my time spent there and as I say sad to leave.
Gracias a todos y voy a regressar!