We have officially completed our first week of classes and afternoon activities! The students are getting used to their daily routine and had many wonderful and new experiences this week. Monday through Friday, the students have classes from 9am-1pm. This summer, they are taking grammar, linguistics, literature, and culture. At 1pm they go home to eat lunch with their families and then return to the school around 3:30pm for afternoon activities. Below are a few pictures of the students hard at work! On Monday, we did theatre and sports as our afternoon activities. This week in the theatre workshop we played a few games so that the students got to know each other better. During sports, some students enjoyed playing soccer and basketball outside while others did yoga with Alysa or played ping pong inside.
On Tuesday the students did dance and chorus in the afternoon. This year we are fortunate enough to have Mario lead the dance workshop and Juan Carlos lead the choir workshop. Both instructors are from the Viña area and have extensive experience in dance and music education. While these activities may be out of some students’ comfort zones, everyone participated and did a fantastic job. The dancing looked great and the singing sounded wonderful!
On Wednesday afternoon, the instructors surprised the students with a trip to the beach. They enjoyed a few hours of soccer, exploring the shops on the boardwalk, and just hanging out on the beach. Even though the water is very cold this time of year, some of them were daring enough to stick their feet in the ocean!
On Thursday afternoon the students had an orientation to the three service learning projects they will be doing over the course of the program. They actually had their first service learning experience this weekend. On Saturday we spent the day helping out at the Mapuche community in Reñaca Alto, a neighborhood in Viña del Mar. The Mapuche are an indigenous group from south-central Chile, but there is a local group here in Viña whose members meet regularly and celebrate Mapuche holidays together. On Saturday we helped the members of the community to prepare the space for the New Year celebration that took place on Sunday. Students helped to prepare food for the celebration, build a railing for a stairwell, and paint the ceiling of the building where some members of the community offer classes. The students did an excellent job and had a lot of fun, too!
After preparing everything for the celebration, we were invited to participate in We Tripantu on Sunday, which is the Mapuche New Year. It was a beautiful ceremony and a wonderful opportunity for the students to take part in a tradition that many Chileans themselves have never experienced. Of course, the food at the celebration was wonderful and the students ate enough sopaipillas (fried bread) to keep them full for a few days.
We have had an amazing week filled with different activities and we are looking forward to our second full week in Viña! We will have classes Monday through Friday and continue with afternoon activities as well as some more service learning work. Please check back for an update next weekend!