Teaching English and Learning Rich Incan History

(Written on 6/25)

Saturday was another day full of new projects and adventures. To begin the day Grey, Ethan (Utah State undergrad), Melina and I headed to a nearby college of education here in Cajamarca to teach business and English to local students. Grey and Ethen taught business while Melina and I took up the English course. Our English class was held in a large outdoor courtyard setting surrounded by two stories of classrooms.  We allowed the students to inquire about English words and phrases which would benefit them in their current and future lives. The hot topic of the day was travel, as one student expressed much interest in international travel. We detailed a hypothetical process of arriving at an airport to check-in luggage all the way through baggage claim to end their travels. Melina was helpful by elaborating and describing in Spanish the significant processes which occur while traveling abroad via airplane. Our students expressed much interest in the topic through their questions during class. English class was a success for the small amount of planning that took place.

DSCN6639.JPGA mural posted at the entrance of the college captivated Melina and I. It depicted the initial hostile conquering of Incan territory by the Spanish Crusaders. Painted within the mural was a fearful Incan leader being manhandled by conquistadors while hundreds of Incans were slain by their Spanish captors. The mural was moving in reminding me how forced hegemonic conformity transformed this region. It surprises me that more Peruvians aren’t bitter regarding their past. Many Americans nowadays point to the Crusades as Christianity’s form of extremism comparable to the radical Islamic jihad which is destroying many countries in this current age. Peruvians, while remembering past violence by foreign invaders, seem as a majority to be content with how the story of their country has played out.

DSCN6668.JPGDSCN6651.JPGIn the afternoon, Melina and I ventured to the baños sanctuary grounds where the pozos are located to check everything out during the daytime. Upon entering the grounds we came across a man with a giant hawk resting on his arm. We stopped to admire the beautiful bird of prey, and the man allowed us to place his bird upon each of our forearms. This hawk was heavy with strong gripping talons. DSCN6656.JPGThe man then pointed us in the direction of more rescue animals, which lead us to ten minutes of gawking and making monkey sounds at a small Abu (Aladdin) looking rascal playing in a large caged-off grassy area. DSCN6675.JPGPerhaps the most compelling part of the baños grounds was its museum. Within it were a multiplicity of 100-400 AD Incan artifacts and sculptures so well-maintained that one would believe they could be under 100 years old. Each set of artifacts were grouped by the respective tribe which sculpted the human and animal idols. DSCN6676.JPGA shocking display of broken, yet preserved bones of a young female human sacrifice was enclosed in a glass case. Witnessing preserved results of such barbarism further informed me of certain wicked rituals which select Incan tribes partook in to appease their pagan gods. This helped me draw conclusions on perhaps why the Spanish crusaders took such violent and drastic measures to address what they perceived to be a wicked culture. Whether or not the conquistadors actions were justified depends on who you ask.

For dinner eight of us volunteers dined over salad, French fries, and skewered cow heart with an assortment or sauces. It was delicious.

I am thankful for today’s fulfilling and insightful experiences. Melina and I both taught and learned. Peru continues to intrigue me in the best of ways. Be blessed.

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