Monday, 27 May 2013

coming to an end

So my year of adventures is coming very close to its end. When I first got the email confirming my flights back to Australia I cried. I have now gotten used to the idea of coming home but I´m not so sure that it will be for very long.
In the last few months I´ve passed a lot of time as a backpacker (well kind of cheating, as I left a big suitcase at a friend´s house). In the absolutely spectacular coffee region, I had a very interesting tour of a coffee farm, I learnt the whole process involved and why Colombia is so famous for its coffee – the picking process is all done by hand. I already knew the other reason – it is really delicious. Towards the end, the lady separated the ready grains, grains with defects and grains without. They were two very noticeably different piles. She indicated the good pile and said ´this is what we export´ and the bad one and said ´this is what we drink in Colombia´. The injustice and senseless of it left a big impression on me.
When I first came to South America, I knew there would be no way I would be leaving before going to The Amazon. My desire to go came from a book I read as a teenager, an account of a British woman who lived with a native tribe, who were living without influence from civilisation. Even though I had been told where I was going, Leticia, is a touristy, expensive town and visiting a native tribe would be almost impossible, I still couldn´t leave without going.
So I flew to Leticia and discovered, surprise, surprise, it is a touristy, expensive town. But luckily I had a contact there who told me of a beautiful, peaceful hostel, half an hour out of the town, where I passed a lot of time with other tourists, surprisingly mostly from Australia and New Zealand; playing cards, swimming in an amazingly beautiful river and walking in nature. I hadn´t spoken so much English since I left Australia, it was funny to hear so many expressions I had almost forgotten.
And then finally I managed to go on a real camping adventure. A guide – a friend of a friend of a friend, took me and another traveller from New Zealand camping for a week in the jungle. The first day we walked for seven hours, a narrow path covered in branches, with many rivers that could only be crossed by walking across slippery fallen down tree trunks. There were many beautiful and wonderful adventure things; spotting a snake right in front of my path, walking at night time with glowing mushrooms as the only light (when we turned off the torches), sleeping in hammocks, swimming in the river at night time without light and canoeing on a river with the most spectacular scenery. The most adventure was when I went swimming in a whirlpool, thinking I could swim back and then having to get rescued in the canoe. The funniest thing was when we had to walk for 3 hours in the pouring rain and I fell up to my neck in water. The worst part was the mozzies. I never got to experience the life of untouched tribes, but it was definitely worth going.
Then with only weeks left in Colombia, for the first time since leaving Australia, I returned to a kindergarten, to El Nido, the lovely little kindergarten in my most favourite part of Colombia, El Carmen de Viboral, a rural part of Antioquia. I was so happy to return to see the lovely teachers, who have all become good friends and of course the beautiful children. I had a really happy time there, working in the kindergarten and staying with one of the teachers and her family. All the time I just felt completely apart of everything, in the kindergarten and in her house, like an Australian in Colombia, but not at all an outsider or even a guest. I was of course very sad to leave from this beautiful part of the world with so many beautiful people, but I left with the feeling that I won´t be gone forever.
I then came to Quito, Ecuador for a week. Again I have been very fortunate to be received by a friend of a friend, a Steiner kindergarten teacher, in her home with her family. I have been so fortunate to be welcomed and to be made part of this kind and fun family and a very lovely kindergarten.
The kindergarten is another wonderful example of a dedicated teacher working with few resources and an abundance of love. The kindergarten consists of a grass space with bad traffic noise and about four metres square of inside space which functions as play space, kitchen and bathroom. But rather than complaining, the teacher works very creatively with what she has, making use of everything and all the space and regularly takes the children to a local park.
For me there are two big things to be experienced while travelling, one is adapting to new situations; new people, culture, language, food, living standards, climate; everything. Getting used to new ways, and most importantly building connections and relationships. The other is leaving them all behind. For me the first part is easy and I love it. The second part however is not easy. Sometimes I feel like I am getting used to it, that each farewell is easier, and sometimes I feel like travelling just sucks. But actually, it doesn´t, but it can be hard.
In the last year I´ve been incredibly fortunate to meet so many amazing, different people, who have welcomed me into and shared with me their lives, from whom I have learnt so much and who have been incredibly generous and helpful. It has been so wonderful to make many meaningful connections with many amazing people.
It has also been very important to me to have made connections between my people in Australia and my people here. In my last few days with El Nido in El Carmen, the Glenaeon community held a fundraising night for El Nido and raised a thousand dollars!! Thank you so much for everyone involved! Also wonderful news from The Q´ewar Project in Peru; thank you very much to Jackie Rowlings who made a donation for the purchase of fitted shoes and three pairs of socks for each child in the kindergarten. With the cold winter and rainy summer, this will make a wonderful difference to these children who pass most of their time outside and a lot of time walking.
So now.... back to Australia.

Canoeing on the Amazon river

Trying fish after nine years as a vegetarian - DISGUSTING!!

Camping cooking

El Carmen de Viboral - my favourite place in Colombia - walking back from a picnic with Diana, a teacher from El Nido and her two daughters.

El Nido - making bread

El Nido - Morning greeting
New shoes at Wawa Munakuy

Sunday, 3 March 2013


Six weeks ago I sadly left Andahuaylillas behind and came to Colombia. It wasn´t so easy to leave, I really loved it, I was at home there, but now I am having a great new adventure, and for sure I will be back.

I came here with the purpose of volunteering in the kindergarten of a Waldorf social project in Bogota. I had email correspondence with the project´s director from Peru, but was waiting until I arrived to confirm the details. Very fortunately for me I have a Colombian friend here with whom I stayed when I arrived and helped me so much with everything.

After two weeks here anticipating the work with the project (and ofcourse enjoying myself as a tourist in a new country), I finally met with the director. I was suprised to learn that the director of a social project had his office in the most expensive, fanciest part of Bogota and even more suprised when I entered the fanciest, most luxurious office I´ve ever been in. The director didn´t seem overly pleased to have a volunteer and asked what I would be able to contribute to the project, as if a visiting teacher working for free wasn´t enough and told me I´d have to pay for my own transport and accomodation, which would work out to be quite expensive for a volunteer, as the project is very low on funds. I was, to say the least, a little disappointed.

I decided to work for atleast a week with the project and in the meantime, look for other options. I thought that I might try something different altogether, find a real job teaching English or some other kind of volunteer work. But when I went to search on the internet, the first thing I typed was Waldorf Colombia. I guess I hadn´t quite given up altogether. I found a website with a few lines written in Spanish and a phone number. Very nervous, as I´m still not comfortable speaking Spanish on the phone, but with a really good feeling, I rang the number and spoke with a very kind man. A few days later we met in the university and walked around im the rain. He has been working with Waldorf education in Colombia for 20 years and told me all about how the movement has developed and about what seemed like every single Waldorf school and initiative in Colombia. I was most interested in one kindergarten and one school. Both he assured me have pure intensions behind them and as all good schools should be, generally inspired to improve humanity though education. And importantly, both in rural, beautiful parts of Colombia.

So I passed the next week volunteering at the first project and at the same time organising a visit to both schools. I actually didn´t have a bad week at the project, I was with a teacher and assistant who had a class of 33 children between 2 and 5 years. I admired them for their positive attitudes and constant smiles, working with what I consider to be impossible circumstances. And they were obviously very grateful to have an extra person.

The whole process of organising the visits to the schools wasn´t so easy for me. I was doing it with very short notice, hoping to go as soon as possible. I was always nervous to write emails and make phone calls to new people in Spanish and anxious waiting for the replies. It didn´t help either when my credit card stopped working two days before I left. The whole process would have been impossible if I wasn´t with such kind, helpful Colombians and if I couldn´t speak Spanish reasonably well enough.

But it was all completely worth it as I found exactly what I was looking for. After flying to Medellin, Colombia´s second biggest city, I took three buses and then walked half an hour up a moutain (Luckily I am now an expert packer and have only a small backpack for over a month), and arrived where I have been staying at the house of the gardening teacher, where he lives with his 17 year old daughter, who also works as an assistant in the kindergarten. Below the house is an incredible view of The Andes with scattered houses and many trees and above is a natural reserve, perfect for bushwalking.

I have done many lovely things here in the beautiful nature, climbed a mountain, swam in a natural lake filled with lotus flowers and another beautiful river, gone horse riding, rode on a speedboat and climbed a famous rock, which compared to Uluru is tiny, but has the most incredible view I may have ever seen. And all the Colombians I´ve met are such good people and really pleased to have foreign visitors. So far I have stayed in five different people´s houses, and always felt very welcome and comfortable, only one of whom I knew before arriving in Colombia. 

And the kindergarten is just amazing. I feel so happy and blessed to know that such a wonderful place exists, with so much love, here in rural Colombia.

The kindergarten, El Nido, is new and tiny. It began three years ago, with two teachers, both very enthusiastic and dedicated to Waldorf education. For the first year they each had a small group of children in their own homes. Now three years later the kindergarten has two classes of 15 children each, in the mornings. In the afternoons they run art, craft, music  and English (which I enjoy assisting) workshops for local primary school children.

What has struck me as so inspiring about the project is the relationships, positive attitutes and dedication of the staff. At the end of each day we all sit together and discuss the day and once or twice a week stay for a longer meeting and all prepare and share lunch together. Everyone is absolutely equally respected and respectful and willing and enthusiastic to both give opinions and listen to others. In South America the hierachal society is very strong and I believe this is a very rare thing that I am apart of. In the two weeks I have been here, I have not heard a single person complain, even once. I think in any kind of working environment that is something quite amazing. And ofcourse, as always, the relationship between the adults and attitute towards work transfers to the children who are always recieved with absolute love and respect.

I am always curious about how Waldorf schools actually run in developing countries, as since they are not public schools, they recieve no government funding. Money has always been a struggle for El Nido. The purpose is to educate local, rural children whose family cannot afford to pay enough fees to support the kindergarten. They pay about $10 a month and the rest of the money comes from sparatic donations from small institutions and individuals in Colombia. 

My first thoughts were that it would be wonderful if I could help raise some money to buy new materials. To replace the old, ugly, very heavy table that´s impossible to clean, that we constantly need to move around the room and cover with a table cloth and then a horrible plastic sheet, to buy proper sized paper so there´s no need to cut each sheet of paper in half with child sized scissors, to replace falling apart paintboards and margarine containers that are used as paint jars and maybe add a few more lovely toys. Or even better, so they are able to supply a nutritious lunch for the children or atleast fruit. But actually they just need donations to continue with the kindergarten as it is.

I have translated some information about El Nido and will be uploading their newsletters periodically in this blog

If anyone is interested to support a wonderful little kindergarten, I recommend this one, as they really lack financial support and as I have learnt, the smaller the projet, the further a small amount of money goes.

I will upload photos in a few weeks, when I get back to my computer.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Andayualillas Part 3

With time I am seeing more of the reality of the poverty here and how it really affects people´s lives.

I have now had my own small experience of the realities of living in a place of poverty. After two weeks of a bad cold it got worse and turned into bronchitis. As I was hardly able to get out of bed, a local doctor from the village arrived and I was told I would need to take injections of antibiotics or else it could easily turn into pneumonia. A nurse working at the project came to give the injections but on Christmas day didn´t arrive. Worried that I would miss one, Julio and Lucy took me to the local medical centre in Andayualillas. I was taken into a tiny room and soon after a young child was bought in with a terrible cut on his head. The doctor said that he needed an injection. The nurse showed the child the small needle they would use for him and also the much bigger needle that they would use for me and told him if he cried they would use the big needle. As the boy screamed and cried and the nurse repeatedly threatened to use the big needle another nurse gave me the injection. As the bed was occupied with the boy, they gave me the injection while I was standing. I felt a horrible, strange pain and very soon fainted. When I came to I was unable to breathe properly or move for quite a long time. Julio, who was with me, was not told what had happened and in my dazed state I was left to explain.

The next day the nurse attending me from the project went to the medical centre to see what had happened. It turned out the nurse from the medical centre had mixed the injection incorrectly, used double the quantity, put in two instead of one and put it in the wrong spot. I am now perfectly healthy and if I hadn´t recovered I could have easily gone to Cusco or even Lima and paid to see a better doctor, indeed the fortunate women working at the project always pay to see better doctors in Cusco. But for many people living here, like the little boy with his cut head, and all over the third world, this is the only reality of medical care that they will ever know.

One of the women mentioned one day that she would like to send an email. I assumed that she wouldn´t know how to use a computer so I took her to the internet cafe and discovered that yes, she really didn´t know how to use a computer. Hard to believe a woman who can knit the most exquisite doll´s clothes, without looking, while chatting, was unable to move the mouse to the right spot. After half an hour of typing and three lines completed I helped her send the email only to discover the account was blocked and wouldn´t send. I then discovered the account had been opened four years ago by the German women she wanted to email, and not been used since then. So she had been waiting four years to write an email.

We had a paint therapist here from the US some weeks ago, giving art lessons for the women. For most of them it was the first time they had ever painted. For the ones that had it was  with the project with another visiting paint therapist.

I am also seeing the poverty with the children in the kindergarten. There are some five year old children who often ask for my help with putting their shoes on. At first I was a bit surprised, as five year old children are usually capable of putting on their own shoes, except that these children can be wearing shoes that they have clearly outgrown. With one girl in particular, since mid November, twice a day we struggled together to get her feet into her tiny shoes and every time she would say, ´´My mum says she will buy me new shoes for Christmas.´´ It is inconceivable to think of an Australian child waiting until Christmas for shoes that fit, but then I can´t help think, what is better, being grateful for well fitted shoes or demanding a new Iphone.

As usual, leading up to Christmas, the lunchtime conversation turns to the gifts the children will be receiving. There is one girl expecting a bicycle but the rest a very excited to be receiving new (probably second hand) clothes. As part of the Christmas gift from the project, each child received soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste. I can just imagine a child from Sydney receiving toothpaste as a Christmas gift!

There is a very cheerful, confident little girl, very skinny and missing half her teeth. I naturally presumed she had some kind of accident, until I actually saw inside her mouth and heard from a teacher that her teeth have decayed from malnutrition. She is not the only child with brown, decaying teeth.

In the kindergarten there are warm showers. One day after climbing partway up a mountain, the director offered the children to have a shower. Oh they were so excited! A hot shower! For the majority of these children this is the only opportunity they have for hot showers. Afterwards they were all talking about the experience, how the water was really warm, how they were allowed to use so much soap, to cover all of their arms and legs! One girl said that there is hot water in her house and my immediate thought was that her family must be wealthy.

For a few mornings the water was off at the project. This doesn´t happen so often because they are actually connected to a different, much better, water supply then the water supply in the village, which is frequently off. I remember the water supply being off when I worked in Sydney and of course someone immediately drove to the shops to buy enough water for all the things we usually use it for. Here I walked with the cook and a few children about one hundred metres to a neighbour and filled up buckets from her water supply. During this time I learnt that there are children in the class without water, whose family collects water every day from a nearby river.

One Sunday I was pleased to be invited to pass the day with one of the kindergarten teachers and her eleven year old daughter. She is living in the village in a little rented house. Her house consists of a bedroom, a tiny kitchen with a dirt floor, a bathroom with a tarp for a door and a small outside area. When I arrived we prepared the lunch, spaghetti bake, and as she doesn´t have an oven we walked ten minutes to a public oven which we payed thirty cents to use. We then went to a nearby developing community where she and many other people are constructing their own houses. And by constructing their own houses I mean they are really constructing them themselves. Every weekend they all go to continue building.  As there is no electricity everything is being constructed with hand tools.

I asked about the water and electricity and was told they expect to wait at least three years for it to come. The eleven year old daughter quickly added, with a happy smile, ´´But it´s very pretty, there are many animals and little birds´´.    

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

still in Andahuaylillas

Now I have been in Peru, as a volunteer, at the Qéwar project for two months and I really feel a part of everything, I am always happy and comfortable here. I feel like I could just stay here forever!

I had a really nice visit from my mum, which seems like a very long time ago! We travelled to the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca, Macchu Picchu of course, spent some days in Cusco and I had the pleasure to show her around the project and Andahauylillas and introduce her to all the lovely people here.

I have been busy with the kindergarten, I am helping the teachers, translating songs, games and stories, and mostly just sharing ideas. Two weeks ago we had a meeting with the parents in which I gave a talk about the importance of play and why children shouldn´t watch television. It was very difficult but a good experience to prepare in Spanish! I was soooo nervous someone would ask a question that I wouldn´t understand, but mostly they are so shy and don´t say a word. As each parent arrived there was a brief form for them to fill out. I was surprised to learn that at least three of about 20 parents were unable to write their own name.

I also visited another (kind of) Waldorf kindy in Cusco. The teachers are a middle aged couple and the kindergarten is inside their house. There is a small courtyard in the centre as a playground and a small inside room also. I gave my talk at their parent meeting, I am pretty sure my popularity as a speaker is more to do with me being a foreigner then because of anything that I have to say. It was very interesting the difference between the two groups of parents; Andahuaylillas and Cusco are less than one hour apart but the people and their lives are so different. In Andahuaylillas only one parent spoke the whole meeting and the majority didn´t look at me the whole time but in Cusco they all spoke nonstop, sometimes four at once.

I have some friends here around my age which is really nice. There are two German volunteers; Sandra and Martina and I have made friends with the kindergarten teachers and some of the women who make the dolls. It is very interesting for me to hear about their lives which are so different to mine. In particular I have made friends with one girl, aged 22, a year different to me. She is studying nursing in Cusco and has one older brother who is working in the jungle to pay for her student fees. When she finishes her course, she will work to pay for his study. Each morning she wakes at 5.30am, cooks lunch for her parents and her and leaves to study in Cusco. She returns at 2, eats lunch with her parents and works from 3 – 6 (or when it is busy, until 8) Then she studies until 11pm. On Saturday she works a full day and studies on Sunday. Her mum passes the day caring for their sheep and her dad passes the day drinking. She will finish her course in July and wants more than anything to work as a nurse in Canada. She doesn´t have the money or at the moment the time to go to classes, so for now is learning from any English speaking person she meets.

I have done some travelling with with Julio, Lucy, Sandra and Martina to Puno (The Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca) and Arequipa. I really love to see beautiful places, explore the area, try different foods and drinks, admire local handicrafts and all these things but my favourite part is meeting interesting strangers on the bus, both Peruvians and travellers. My least favourite is most definitely the music on the bus.

On the weekend we sometimes go to Cusco or other nice places nearby. We have been to discos with some of the Peruvian girls who are much milder partiers and especially milder drinkers than Australians (and Mexicans). One night we went to a disco in a nearby, slightly bigger village. It was a concrete room covered with graffiti, no tables or chairs, a one sole (40c) entrance fee and a tiny bar with one type of drink for sale – a horrible brand of beer. The German girls and I felt like we must have been the first white people to ever enter, as when we did everyone stopped dancing to turn and stare and whistle.

It´s really interesting the separation between the areas tourists do and do not go. In Andahuaylillas there is a famous church that brings busloads of tourists every day. But outside the plaza where the church is, apart from the other volunteers, I have only once seen other foreigners. And it was such a strange occurrence that afterwards two people asked me if I know who they are. In Cusco the central part is completely designed for tourists, but go two streets away from the centre and there are no foreigners. When I walk just ten minutes from the centre all of a sudden I go from being a regular person, hassled to look at paintings and buy sunglasses, to a complete novelty. Children come to me to speak English, which is usually ´hello´, followed by something elsenot understandable or ask how to say ´how are you´ in English, men constantly call out at me, and if I ask for directions I am usually asked why I am here.  

Also I have been walking in the farmland. Everywhere there are little plots of maize, growing in the valley and partway up the mountains and tiny little mud brick, usually one room houses dotted around. It is so beautiful and different I feel like I am walking in a dream. The people are very friendly, they always call out hello and sometimes just wave at me and laugh. I passed two water catchments for the irrigation. They don´t look very clean, are about the size of a big family swimming pool and had people swimming in them.

 Last weekend, the German girls and I finally climbed one of the Andes Mountains. We left at 5.30am (to avoid the midday sun), the sky looked perfect, a few clouds but not too many. We felt well prepared with all our water, lunch, sun hats and sunscreen. We found a path and started off. After about 10 minutes the path disappeared and soon after the rain started. So we had a great adventure, climbing through bushes (some very spiky) and freezing in the rain. But the view was so beautiful (when it wasn´t blocked by mist) that it was definitely worth it. Next time we will try one of the many surrounding mountain with clearly defined paths.... (and bring rain jackets)

For October and November everyone is very busy with doll orders for Christmas. I have been involved with different stages of the making process and every time I am just amazed by the amount of detail and care taken. The curly hair alone takes over a day to make, there are different styles of underwear for boys and girls, each head is weighed at least twice, and for each piece of clothing, the bits are extracted by hand, then washed by hand and then brushed with a toothbrush. Everyone is working very hard, the women are given the choice to work two hours overtime each night, but no one as hard as Julio and Lucy who spend almost all their waking hours co-ordinating the orders and making the dolls. I have really come to understand that it is only with such an incredible dedication that something so amazing can be so successful and help so many.
I have now decided that I will stay here for Christmas, I think it will be so lovely, and I would atleast like to be able to spell Andahuaylillas before I leave.  The longer I stay, the longer I want to stay!


Aa little village an hour and a half walk from Andahuaylillas

The view from the mountain

Wawa Munakuy, the kindergarten

The playground
Lake Titicaca

And finally... the dolls! 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Andahuaylillas, Peru

I have been in Peru for three weeks and I am very, very happy here!

I am living at the Qéwar project, a Waldorf project in a little village in the Andes. The project is run by Julio and Lucy, a couple who were living in Lima and ten years ago made a decision to move to Andahuaylillas and help the people here. Since then they have worked extremely hard and dedicated their lives to this very inspiring project. For ten years the Qéwar project has been making Waldorf dolls. There are now 46 women and a few men employed fulltime and over 20 women from surrounding farms who work on Saturdays. They are all very grateful to have humane employment. There is a lovely kindergarten for the village children and afternoon care for the children of the employees. A ceramics section is also in development.

It is very, very peaceful living here and everyone is sooo kind, friendly and welcoming. Andahuaylillas is very tiny and traditional. There are about 2,500 people living in the village and many farm animals. While walking I often pass cows, herds of sheep and women in traditional dress.  There are a few cobblestone streets in the centre of the village, but mostly the roads consist of dust and rocks. Most of the houses are made from mud bricks. I have heard that it is common for houses to have televisions and music players but no toilet or separate sleeping area for people and animals. Surrounding the village is farmland. Mostly families own their own plot of corn, wheat or potato, and eat it themselves or trade with neighbours.

I pass the mornings in the kindergarten, which is very nice and simple. The children are really adorable and always have big happy smiles!! They all have a great openness to the world, ready to receive and do everything the day has to offer. Today with the children, we planted potatoes, maize, quinoa and wheat in a small plot above the kindergarten.  A few times a week we walk with the children to the farmland. There we watch people working, at the moment they are ploughing the fields to prepare for a new crop. The children love seeing many animals and people working. I am very impressed by how far and competently the children walk, better than many adults in Sydney!!

Then in the afternoons I sometimes return for the afternoon care but I usually sit with the women and knit doll´s clothes. Well, I learn to knit doll´s clothes, I am very far from knitting any clothes of selling quality! I am being taught by a most amazing women, possibly the best knitter in the whole world. She has six grown children, studied knitting fulltime for three years and has been knitting professionally ever since. And she told me she still feels like a little girl when she sees all the beautiful knitted doll´s clothes.

Now I look forward to a visit from my mum, next week!

Just five minutes walk from the kindergarten

Helping the farmers


Sunday, 5 August 2012

So I will back track a little because I have had many adventures since I last wrote. I have now come to understand why this is not such a common thing that people do. Because it is really, really hard.

My first week after school finished I did many fun things with very nice company. I watched the sunrise over the ocean, spent a very, very fun day exploring a cenote, a place kindof like a lake with secret caves and great snorkeling and went snorkeling with enormous turtles! The turtles were absolutely incredible, one old big guy stayed right underneath my friend and I, close enough to touch for over five minutes!

I then took six days travelling on my own from Playa del Carmen to near Mexico City. Altogether I spent 35 hours on the bus and visited three towns. It was very interesting but probably not my favourite kind of travelling. I saw three beautiful waterfalls, one cascade Aqua Azules (blue water) was so far and incredible, I walked beside for an hour and didn´t yet reach the top. I also took a tour of old mayan ruins and stayed in a very pretty small city, San Cristobal. I liked walking through the outskirts, the further I got from the centre, the poorer the living conditions, the more people stared at my white skin and the more easily people smiled. I met with other travellers and spoke Spanish with many, many people. Everyone was so friendly, whenever I was somewhere on my own; in a restaurant, a shop, on the bus, at the bus stop, almost always someone would talk with me. It was so nice and made my adventure much more enjoyable.

My favourite part of the trip was while I was waiting to change buses on the road next to the jungle, outside a single shop with cheeky local girls out the front selling bags of fried bananas. While the other tourists stood around looking bored and tired I asked the girls if they would like me to braid their hair. One teenage girl was brave enough and although I didn´t think I did such a bad job, they all passed the rest of the time laughing and repeated to me what I thought was, ´now she is your daughter!´

I arrived in Cuernavaca Sunday night, ready (kindof) to begin the course Monday morning. The first week was incredibly overwhelming and it might just be the hardest thing I´ve ever done. By the second week I began to really enjoy it and make friends and I could see how well my Spanish was improving. I still need a lot more time though. Learning a language takes so much time and effort, I now have so much admiration for people who can speak two and even more languages!

Despite all my external adventures, of course the most interesting has been my internal experience. After going through a period of feeling unusually miserable and very confused, to the point that someone suggested I have a melancholic temperament, I made the difficult decision that I am not going to stay and work for this school for the next two years. I came here to work with disadvantaged children so that´s what I will do, and unfortunately it´s not possible with this school.

I have been researching Waldorf schools and projects around Latin America, at the moment I think the first thing I would like to do is return to the Qéwar project in Peru (where they make the beautiful dolls). So now I look forward to a new adventure!
The Cenote
Snorkling with Sonja from Germany
Aqua Azules

My classmates at the Waldorf training