Today we went for a morning hike up the mountain, Quiak, that overlooks the town of Pachaj. We’ve had our eyes on it since we arrived and the students were excited to finally be able to hike it. Armando’s son, Antolin, was our guide for the day and he explained the significance of the mountain, the legends, and the ceremonies that are still held there.
In the afternoon we caught a ride on a camioneta or “chicken bus” to take us to town for some shopping at the market. These school busses are bought in the US, refurbished, and given more personality and style. This particular one was finished with a flat screen TV playing the latest Transformers movie and it brought us home bumping Latin and US pop music on it’s surround sound system. The students were excited, to say the least.
Market day was a nice change of pace from the tranquility of Pachaj. The streets were bustling with street vendors and shoppers. Students worked their way through the crowded streets alongside their Spanish teachers to learn the names of products, foods, and how to bargain for a fair deal.
We capped off the day back at Chico Mendes with a team cook-off using ingredients from the day’s haul. Students worked in teams of 3 to create the best dish and they presented how they made it in Spanish. It was hard to judge a winner, but with such an amazing feast, we all won!