May 16, 2010

Sing, Dance, Paint and Play

At the base of a cliff

We began the week with a lecture on race and ethnicity, then enjoyed workshops on contemporary praise songs and dances from the rain forest, highlands and coast.  We headed south several days later, traveling to the Lurin Valley to spend a day and a night at an orphanage.  We painted the dining room ceiling and the outside play area using brushes and paint provided by a North American donor.  Then we spent time playing with children of all ages before heading off to bed.  The next morning we met with the administrator to learn more about the orphanage.  To our surprise, most of the children have been brought here by parents who simply cannot afford to feed or clothe them.  They typically receive a Sunday afternoon visit once or twice a month from family members.  They not only attend school but also participate in talleres (workshops) where they learn a trade such as baking, farming or animal care.  We finished the week with a hike in the Lomas de Lucumo protected area, a welcome chance to enjoy some serious exercise, bright sunshine and fresh air.  Our guide, Norma, taught us about the history of the area — 10,000 year old cave paintings, seasonal migrations of shepherds from the highlands in search of forage, the development of haciendas and cotton plantations and the secret religious ceremonies carried out by Afro-Peruvian slaves.  We also learned about a unique ecosystem, a ravine watered by fog and inhabited by birds, snails, insects, foxes and hares.

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