Hi there! I’m David. I am a volunteer teacher with HOOP and will be in Arequipa for 2 months teaching English in the Kangaroo class (the second highest level). In this blog I will be describing my experiences with HOOP and the beautiful city of Arequipa.
I arrived in Arequipa early in the morning and spent the day adjusting to the altitude. Arequipa is 2,335 m (7,661 ft) high, which is enough to leave you winded after climbing a flight of stairs. Taking it slow for the first few days will help you with the altitude immensely, along with Sorojchi Pills or mate de coca and drinking LOTS of water. Luckily, the views of the volcanoes surrounding the city and the perfect weather make relaxing very easy.
|The views are hard to beat|
Although Arequipa is home to nearly a million people, walking around the bustling city has a sort of smalltown feel to it. Restaurants, hostels and shops line the stone streets wherever you go and the Plaza de Armas (the main square) is always full of locals and vendors. The buildings of white volcanic stone that the city is famous for gleam in the strong Altiplano sun. Once outside the city at the project site in Flora Tristan, however, the scene changes dramatically.
After a 30-45 minute ride on the combi (small buses that run just about everywhere in Peru) out
of the city center, the paved road turns to dirt and the plaster buildings become fences of
stacked rocks around thirsty dirt yards.
The HOOP school itself is a modest building with a corrugated tin roof and 4 classrooms,
although what the building lacks in splendor it makes up for in spirit. The students’ smiling faces
greet you at your classroom door every day, quick to laugh and eager to learn. Every one of them
is sweet and bright.
|The HOOP school|
After just one week of teaching classes I have already grown to appreciate the strong sense of community and partnership between HOOP and the families of Flora Tristan. Despite having little themselves, the students’ mothers put together fundraisers for our organization to support us.