Nobody puts baby in the corner: An afternoon of toys and dancing

Today we became advanced, philosophical thinkers, discussing the various interpretations of common sayings. Even though some young adults do not have the capability to complete this assignment in their own familiar language, we were trusted with the task in Spanish. How would you explain, “From the fallings of the tree, they make firewood?” Despite the difficulty, it was rewarding that we understood such sayings in a foreign language. Who knew that we would go back to Iowa with philosopher written on our resumes?


In addition to our attempts to be deep and studious, we also explored the topics of fables. Using the talents of Aesop, we discussed the fable of the lion and the mouse. This fable was a good reminder that we should not discredit the small ones in our lives, for they might be mightier than us in the end. In a team setting such as this, it´s important that we not only grow individually, but also help each other create the most memorable and interesting experience in Peru. Our classes here at El Cultural have given us the chance to problem-solve together and truly bond as a group.


Part of the late morning was occupied with a trip to a local toy museum. At first glance, it seemed like we had stumbled upon a haunted doll house, full of eyes watching us. Once we became accustomed to the antique dolls hanging on the wall, we could appreciate their stories. This museum, constructed by toymaker Gerardo Chavez Lopez, showed the progression of toy making and the favorite pastimes of generations before us. El museo de juguetes (museum of toys) displayed trinkets of all shapes and sizes, ranging from prehistoric clay figurines to barbie dolls from the 60s. The museum was organized by toy category into four rooms: girls, boys, most popular, and prehistoric. Rocking horses, military figurines, and wind-up animals were also common toys displayed. This visit allowed us to be transported back into childhood and remember the simple joy that toys bring.

The highlight of the day was attending our first dance class. We were quite intimidated when this handsome, young man walked in with such ease. Picture the smooth movements and firm posture of a male latin dancer...this was our instructor. Our first dance class consisted of learning the basic movements of the Marinera, a traditional dance for this area that has great significance to Trujillo (In February, there will be a national Marinera competition held in this very city.). This dance illustrates the beginning flirtatious interactions between a couple. Unlike other latin dances, the woman takes the lead and decides whether to accept the efforts of the man in his quest to win her love and attention. Our instructor explained that the different instruments played during a song indicate a change in the series of steps. The series of steps we attempted to master today included movements that resembled grapevines and toe taps. Using a kleenex as a handkerchief, we put on our dancing shoes and tried our best. Although we didn't have voluminous, flowing skirts and elegant suits and sombreros, we improvised and used our best acting skills as we stumbled along to the music. In the end, we were able to dance with our partners gracefully, with quite a few laughs along the way. In the next week, will continue to learn different series of Marinera, in addition to other styles of dance. Stay tuned to see more of our wild, daily adventures in Trujillo!