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Crossing the river before summiting 17,500 Pico Austria. Photo by Ella Williams (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest, 2nd Place), South America Semester.

A history lesson with a great outcome

Due to my absence on the trip to nation q`eros I got the opportunity to profound my knowledge about peruvian politics, which is inevitably connected to incan history as well as peruvian economics. During a talk with a history teacher from the school “Sagrados corazones de Jesus” Itza and I got all incredibly excited and thrilled about the connection between incan and peruvian culture today as well as the way Spanish imperialism has influenced for example the reality of women here today. One topic which we discussed was the genocide the Spanish committed on the Incan culture ,which led us to the topic of my reality as a German student to the holocaust and the second world war. This made us talk about the lack of education and sensibility about this in Peru ,which at the end resulted in me having the opportunity to talk with teenagers of a peruvian school about my reality of the second world war.

So let me tell you more about my 2 hour talk with a classroom full of 24 exited 17 year olds and the message I tried to convey. First of all, it was on its own a special experience to talk in spanish infront of peruvian teenagers staring at me and trying to convey the importance of history to them (but I hope I managed). I started of with the sentence ” Solo quienes conocen el pasado, tienen un futuro” by Humbolt ,only to give them an impression of what we were going to talk about. After this I tried to explain in how far I identify with the second world war and the fact that I as a German citizen and don`t feel responsible for the holocaust. Important to me was to explain that we should all be sensible and learn from our past and the past from other cultures, that we will only then be able to create a better future. Additionally I tried to ensure that everyone understood that at the end we are all ambassadors ,that we should not reduce ourselves on the country we are coming from but our personality as well as the fact that everyone can stand up for their rights, including the boys in that classroom for the girls!

After I had finished my talk the class bombarded me with questions, some less sensible than others, and made me reflect about the life they are living and the opportunities they have in their future. I deeply hope that my message was understood and that it will be spread within the friends and families of the students.