Chicken King, Sore Hips, and Politics

It’s hard to believe that we only have one day left of Spanish class here in Trujillo! We have learned so much in these two short weeks, from talking about our future goals and our families to learning some of the local slang. Today we focused on two important aspects of grammar: how to properly accent words in Spanish and how to distinguish words that sound the same but have different meanings (called homophones). However, just because we had to learn grammar techniques doesn’t mean it had to be boring! We had a little friendly competition between our two classes in which we had to write sentences on the board using the vocabulary words and grammar techniques we have learned. Congratulations to the Chicken Kings on a great win!

Grammar wasn’t the only thing we had to look forward to in class today. In yesterday’s blog, Kathy talked about our attempts to learn an “Afro-peruano” dance (my sides are still a little sore from all the hip shaking). Today, some of us got the chance to experience “Afro-peruano” music by listening to a song entitled Ritmo, Color, y Sabor (Rhythm, Color, and Feeling), which we then had to translate into English. This song tells the story of the African struggle for freedom and celebrates the beauty of African culture. This type of music is a wonderful example of the African cultural influences that are present in Peru.

After our designated few hours for lunch, which doubled as a study time for most of us (we have an exam tomorrow), we had a lecture on the political system in Peru. Our lecturer talked with us about some of the current issues that the country is dealing with, which included the major problem of the “brecha social,” or the vast inequality between the rich and poor. We were shown various historical pictures of the country’s educational system and discussed the problems of trying to nationalize education in a country where many of its schools do not have the money to purchase sufficient amounts of textbooks and supplies for their students. Also, as a result of the poverty issue, many students suffer from malnutrition and therefore do not perform well in school. Our speaker told us that in order to improve the educational system and the country as a whole, it is necessary for all Peruvian citizens to be taught English because of its significance on a global scale. It was interesting to see the similarities between the educational dilemmas here in Peru and those in the United States.

As the perfect follow up to this lecture, we got another opportunity to visit with some of the English classes here in El Cultural, although this time the students had a more basic understanding of the language. In the class that I visited, the students were able to ask us questions about the United States and our opinions of Peru. We were asked many questions concerning our hobbies, places we have visited, and most importantly how we celebrate birthdays and Christmas in the U.S. The students told us that parties in Peru always include plenty of feasting and dancing, and we learned about a few of the many different celebrations here in Peru, including El Día de Pollo a la Brasa (otherwise known as Chicken Day). It was great to help students practice their English, and we benefited from learning more about life and the culture here in Peru. Although we only have a few days left in the country, I know that we will make the most of them. Thanks for reading!

The Peruvian students displayed a considerable amount of skill using the English language, especially since they hadn't taken very many courses.