Monday, May 23, 2011

Asanquiri at last!

Waking up Monday, Luc’s wife Carol cooked us a wonderful breakfast , and we made plans to leave. Based on our needs and Luc’s schedule, we decided to stay in Asanquiri for a full week; from Monday the 23rd to Monday the 30th. After stopping by a supermarket to stock up on food for the weekend (when the cook and all of the students go home) and picking up a two students and the head professor at CECTFIA, we were off to Asanquiri!

The supposedly four hour truck ride to Asanquiri and CECTFIA quickly got out of hand. After about an hour of making good time through the countryside of the Cochabamba department and marveling at the almost Mediterranean climate of the area, we stopped for a lunch of cow tongue, spicy chicken, and mystery soup in a small pueblo and Luc and the professor, Marcario, stocked up on supplies for the school.

Little did we know, this was the last town with a paved road we would encounter. After wrapping everything up, we headed out. About 2 miles later, Marcario mumbled something and Luc stopped the car sudeen, got out, and popped the hood, only to discover a pretty serious oil leak. One hour, a bottle of 10W40, and a pretty tall estimate later, we were once again on our way. Pretty soon, we began the three thousand foot climb to CECTFIA and Asanquiri. The view out of the window was nothing short of stunning, and we’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

However, what you don’t see in the pictures are the terrifying hairpin turns on the side of steep mountainsides, the box of chickens constantly peeping for attention in the front seat, and the fine layer of dust that ultimately coated everything. We pulled into CECTFIA just as the sun set over the mountains behind us, and set about unloading the truck. After getting settled in to our home for the week in the professors’ dormitories, we sat down for a impromptu cup of coffee and chatted with Luc and Macario, and later joined by Mario, the Asanquiri-CECTFIA liaison. Pretty soon, Luc made it clear he had to go back to Cochabamba to get his car fixed. And so, after giving him several thank you’s for the ride up and wishing him luck, we watched our contact drive off into the sunset, while wondering what to do next.

Following Macario’s lead, we went to the kitchen and got our first taste of student life at CECTFIA. As we entered the kitchen, we found all of the students gathered around a table, forming circular loaves of bread dough and tossing them into the oven. After some awkward holas and attempts by us to help with the bread, we were able to make our first steps toward building a relationship with the students. Soon, all of the bread was finished and we shared a few pieces with the students and did our best to learn names. When the students went to bed, Macario pulled us aside, and asked if we could pull together a full-day lesson for some of the students tomorrow. We obliged, and set about making our lesson plan. Soon enough, it was time to go to bed and we all crawled into our beds for the next week.

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