Saturday, July 19, 2014

Week 6- Pomaire/Isla Negra

What a fun week we've had here in Viña! Of course we always have our classes and our usual afternoon activities, but this week was special and we'd never heard the students laugh as much as we did in Week 6.

The rainy weather on Monday meant outdoor sports weren't an option, so we put together a ping-pong tournament and a few group games inside. Becky was our ping-pong champion, but Kevin made her work for it and came in a close 2nd place!

Becky overseeing our ping-pong tournament

Nunca en mi vida (a game combining Never Have I Ever and Musical Chairs)
 is a new favorite among the students.

A few of the boys continued their tradition of imitating the instructors and dressed up like Mark. What a good-looking group! :)
So many Marks!

Choir class was especially fun, because several of the students got the chance to play instruments and accompany the group. Lynn finally got her hands on a ukelele and Maddie, Lindsey, Evan, and Aaron kept the beat as we decided on the songs we'll perform at our Farewell Show this coming Wednesday. It's hard to believe the Program is almost over, but the students have come a long way with their musical abilities in just six short weeks.
Our "ukelelista"!

Lots of music to learn before our Farewell Show on Wednesday!

Our accompanists for our music from Rapa Nui (Easter Island).
Evan is playing a traditional percussion instrument made from a hollowed out log.

Maddie on the maraca, Lindsey on the Peruvian cajón, and Aaron on the guitar.

Dance class this week was half dance class, half fashion show. Mario and a friend modeled the typical dress that accompanies the dances we've been learning in class. For our farewell show, we'll be performing dances such as the huayno and cacharpaya- and wearing the folkloric costumes that go with each style.

Chilean folkloric costumes

Group pic with our dance instructor Mario!

Mario also led the students in a fun activity- coloring in a map of Chile to show all the regions we've learned about in class. It's impressive how much the students know about folkloric music and dances from all over the country!

Easter Island folkloric costumes

Playing Karaoke during break

On Thursday, we took the students on a surprise trip to Con Con. First, we visited the University of Valparaíso's School of Sea Sciences and Natural Resources where two marine biology students taught us about local marine life. Beatriz and Rodrigo, our guides, explained to us how the ocean currents along Chile's coast account for its diverse populations of fish, birds, and aquatic mammals. They lent us binoculars so we could watch the sea lions play on the rocks off shore. We also had the opportunity to collect some sea shells found only in Chile to take home with us.

Walking along the coast, on our way to our surprise activity!

Learning about local marine life with marine biology students from the University of Valpo.

A protected marine reserve. Our guide Beatriz taught us about the birds
and sea lions that inhabit this area.

Group pic with our guides and local marine biology experts!

Jota Pom sporting his new seaweed extensions.

Our second stop on Thursday evening was the dunes of Con Con! Many of the students rented dune boards and rode up and down the dunes until the sun set (a breathtaking view). We had a BLAST.

Sunset over the Dunes of Con Con.

These two are a constant source of entertainment :P

We convinced "Princesa" (Meena) to go down the dune!
She even got a little bit sandy and didn't care!

On Friday, we went to Pomaire and Isla Negra for our last excursion. Pomaire is a small town close to Santiago, famous for its excellent Chilean cuisine and its ceramics- particularly pottery made from greda. The students enjoyed a typical Pomaire breakfast at our guide Marisol's house, then headed to the touristic center of the town for some souvenir shopping.

Pomaire is famous for its traditional Chilean food!

The kids had some pesos burning a hole in their pockets.
We went crazy souvenir shopping!
Fingers crossed that all these ceramics make it to the US intact!

Once we'd bought ceramics for all of our friends and family back home, we headed back to Marisol's house for Pomaire-style empanadas and a pottery workshop.
Marisol leading us in a pottery workshop. Here she's showing us
how to make a decorative bowl.

The highlight of the workshop was when the students got to sit down at the pottery wheel and try it themselves! They're not greda masters just yet, but they did a great job for their first time!
Lynn, very proud of her creation.

Marisol made some miniature animal ceramics. Maddie got a turtle!

We've seen it all... Princesa got her hands dirty making pottery!

After we'd finished in Pomaire, we hopped back on the bus and headed to Isla Negra, where Nobel prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda lived. The students explored his home and the beautiful rocky coast of Isla Negra. They really enjoyed seeing Neruda's unique furniture and odd collections in this house that's half-ship, half-train.

Chillin' outside Pablo Neruda's home in Isla Negra

These kids crack us up!
Levi and Chris enjoying the gorgeous ocean view

Monday, July 14, 2014

Week 5 - Santiago

Monday, July 7

Today, we had class during the morning and sports in the afternoon. Mark assigned a homework for culture class in which students had to prepare a Chilean dish with their families, several students brought samples of their dishes including Lyne, Madalyn and Maddie. One of the favorite dishes was calzoncillos rotos literally ‘ripped underwear’ which is pastry covered in powdered sugar. Students also enjoyed time playing soccer, basketball and enjoying a nice summer day. Several students showed up and a surprised Jordan with their fashion sense.

Five fashion-forward gentlemen #chileanhipster
Playing  'Ninja' during sports
Lyne with calzoncillos rotos

Tuesday, July 8

After classes today, we had choir and dance classes. Juan Carlos taught us a classic song about Valparaíso while Evan and Aaron accompanied him on the cajón peruano and guitar. During dance class, Meena was in the middle of the group playing la torre or ‘the tower’. Mario also taught students several dances from Easter Island while Becky served as his willing participant.

Evan and Juan Carlos getting down on the guitar and cajón peruano
Aaron playing the guitar

Wednesday, July 9

Since the weather was so cold, we ended up cancelling our trip to the botanical gardens. So, we had another movie night. Mark and Jordan brought some snacks and students enjoyed the movie Tarzan. We enjoyed the low-key afternoon activity and students went through several bags of cookies. Before the movie, we all played a rousing game of ‘Honey if you love me’ and Raquel Ramos, one of the ladies who help maintain the church during the week for us, got into it as well.

Thursday, July 10

Today was our service day at Reñaca Alto. Today we planted trees along the street and were able to make it back to the Mapuche community we had helped a few weeks ago. Maggie helped out by picking up all of the trash behind the group while they were planting; Laurissa, Isacc, Jeramy, Savanna, Matthew, Lauren and the others planted trees. On the ride over we took a van selfie and managed to get the whole group (minus the driver).

Van-selfie, Víctor, the driver was busy, otherwise, he would have made it in.
Jordan and Laurissa finishing up planting a tree
Maggie cleaning up behind the group.

Mateo couldn't be happier

Friday, July 11

We are Santiago-bound for our day-long excursion to Chile’s capital. The day started early with the bus ride to Santiago and our first stop, the Museo de la Memoria which chronicles the history of the Pinochet dictatorship and human rights in Chile during the 70s and 80s. The museum guide was excellent and students were able to connect what they learned in culture class to the tour.
Posters from protests against the dictatorship in Chile

After lunch, we went to the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art with our tour guide, Vania. We had two museum tour guides. Vania then took students on a walking tour of the city which included La Moneda, the presidential residence, and the Catedral Metropolitana.


Despite being under construction we were able to enter the Catedral Metropolitana in Santiago
We ended our trip to Santiago in Cerro San Cristóbal. Some of the highlights of the trip was the statue of the Virgin Mary at the top and, to get to the top of the hill, we went up in a funicular. Students were able to take pictures and buy souvenirs. We were pretty worn out after the long day but it was great to spend a day getting to know Chile’s capital city.

Santiago de Chile - Riding the funicular up Cerro San Cristobal

Funicular portraits

Saturday, July 12

This was our last community service day in Reñaca Alto. The community had organized an event to pick up trash in the grounds of a park that they are clearing for a city park. Chris found one of the biggest catches of the day while many of the other students helped put up signs after the trash pick-up.
Eliana, one of the event organizers, explaining the history of the park

Savanna, Meena, Lauren and Maggie taking a break

When the clean-up event was over, many of the students climbed up the hill to take pictures of the epic views from the hill and see an abandoned quartz mine at the top.

Evan giving Theresa a hand up the hill
Mateo contemplating the vista