As a traveler, I like to take my time learning about the place I’m visiting and digging past the “tourist” stuff to see the “local” side. Don’t get me wrong, I love to visit the tourist stuff on my travels, but I always want to see what more a place has to offer. One thing I absolutely love about Gate 1 Tours is they almost always have a way for you to get a local perspective of the place your visiting ( Dinner with Locals, Cooking Lessons). On this trip, I participated in every option they had including visiting a local preschool in Cusco. Shortly, before our trip Gate 1 created a partnership with a local preschool in order to help them get supplies that they need, and give back to the community. They asked all the travelers in our group to bring any items we were willing to donate with us.
For those that wanted to participate, we had the opportunity to visit the local preschool and meet the children, while dropping our donations off. I love that we had this chance while we were in Cusco, and I was surprised that more people didn’t participate.
This preschool was set off the main road, behind multiple homes. Most of the children had arrived by the time we came, but we could still see parents walking some of their children to the school. When you walked inside the school it was one big room. On one side they had tables and chairs set up for their main learning area. On the other side of the building they had a play area set up.
One of the boys arrived late, but insisted on sitting next to his best friend. One of the teachers found an extra chair, so they could sit next to each other.
The children were very shy when we first got there. The longer we stayed the livelier they became, and then we really were able to see their personalities! They were a great group of children, and their antics with each other put a smile on our faces.
The teachers were kind enough to go over the current lessons the children were learning. From conversations with the teachers and the parents we spoke to at our dinner, there is a huge emphasis on teaching English in the school system. They want to give the children of Peru more opportunities, and English is a main factor of that. During our dinner our tour guide was telling us that it wasn’t always easy, because by a certain age the children surpass their teachers in speaking English. At that point there isn’t much more for them to do until they get university, where they are around international students and better trained teachers.
This little boy was not shy at all! He seemed to be the most confident out of all the children, from the beginning. When it was his turn to introduce himself, he stood up, puffed his chest out and happily exclaimed ” I’am Anthony”. He then pointed to each child and named them before sitting back down. He was happy to tell us all sorts of stories while we were there.
The children really only cared about the snacks and candy that were brought, and they happily ate them while we were there. The teachers were especially happy about all the supplies we brought. I hope all the supplies we brought will help them out. This was a wonderful, eye-opening experience. It makes you happy to have what you have.