Thursday, September 14, 2006

now it's time for the real thing

Orientation week officially ended on Sunday, as we all moved into our own living situations, but due to Monday being September 11th our directors decided to have us stay out of the city center and attend an all day English teaching workshop headed by WorldTeach. September 11th in the United States might refer to the attack on the Twin Towers in New York, but here in Santiago de Chile the same date might recall memories of the 1973 coup and the beginning of General Pinochet's Reign of Terror. Lena and I didn't know the micros, or buses, would stop running quite as early as they did on Monday, and thus waited to find a cab for a few hours. Luckily the cab driver didn't charge us too much extra to get us home safely, despite a few minor fires in the streets. Most of the protest action took place far away from where we were going, and many people stayed inside this year as not only was it the anniversary of the coup, but this year it was also the 20th anniversary of the asassination attempt on Pinochet. For more information on Chile, Augusto Pinochet or Salvador Allende, and the coup of 1973 I recommend starting with the BBC's country profile on Chile.

Meanwhile I put up some photos from orientation week, and you can see them here. Even though we've only known each other for one week, the 17 members of the Class of Septiembre 2006 have spent nearly every second together-- especially since we were all staying at the hostel together. We are even passing around the same persistent cold / sore throat, and I cannot wait for it to start getting warmer. True, when the sun is out and directly hitting you, it can get quite warm. But in the shade and at night, it becomes so cold I can't stop shaking (there's no heat). I think my body is in shock and protesting my clothes-packing decisions. The good news is that the next 5 days will be full of festivities as Chile prepares to celebrate its independence day on September 18th. Monday is sure to be full of street parties and shows, with the traditional music, dance (Cueca), and food already saturating every moment of the entire month of September.

Work at the institutions has begun. I am working at San Francisco de Regis along with Lena. The Catholic run home is in charge of 30 girls from ages 4-15. We will be providing activities in music, dance, futbal, art and art history, and hopefully! digital photography. Fortunately there are computers onsite, which is one step closer to successfully implementing the digital photography program so many people have helped me build. I am currently working on the lesson plans, and will keep updates of our progress. Until then, besos.

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