We’ve been busy in Sucre. In the mornings we volunteer at a nursery which is a short bus ride out of town, in the afternoons we have Spanish lessons and in the evenings we teach conversational English to locals (yeah that’s right, I’VE been teaching English).
The nursery is a tiring but amazing experience. The moment we walked in the door the kids were flinging themselves at us as if they’d known us forever. This nursery is run by a few of the kids mothers. It’s basic (the place itself doesn’t even have an address) and mostly funded by organisations like our language school (The Fox Institute). The kids on the whole are great and some of them are from very difficult backgrounds. Our Spanish is still quite basic and the kids speak a mix of Spanish and Quechua so our verbal communication is extremely simple, although it hasn’t seemed to matter much. They’re physical and boisterous, but friendly and fun.
Lunchtime is hilarious. The portions they give the kids are massive and we have about 30 minutes to feed as many of them as possible before we leave for our Spanish lessons. Starters is a bowl of soup with chips or potatoes in it and their second course is a decent sized plate of meat, rice and chips or potatoes (and this is even for Rosa Maria the one year old). The younger ones then usually begin falling asleep at the table and in their food, in which case they’ll have cold water splashed on their faces and be ready for round two. It sounds quite rough on the kids but apparently a lot of them may not get much to eat at home, so these meal times are very important and you can see how much the nanny’s care about them.
Spanish is more difficult than we thought and I’m certainly struggling with the verbs especially (much more difficult than English). Edith, our teacher is great though and good fun. On Friday, the second half of our lesson was spent in the kitchen with her, cooking a traditional Bolivian dish called Saice which we we’ve made for ourselves since (kind of like a Bolivian bolognese made with sweet chilli instead of tomatoes).
For our English students in the evening, we normally ask questions about Bolivian politics, education, etc and then correct their English as we discuss. Otherwise, if they have questions on gramma, we’ll get to the nearest Internet cafe and download a lesson plan to go through with them the next time we see them. All the students have been great and it’s been interesting for us to find out about life in Bolivia and about the English language!
Sucre as a city has also been really nice and reminded us both of Arequipa in Peru. It’s been hard work for us here but we’ll definitely miss the people, especially the kids.