Educating Peruvian Youth

E22-Teach the Heart to Inspire the Mind

E22-Teach the Heart to Inspire the Mind

Cindy was my Spanish tutor whom I met through Thomas ( from the previous episode) who worked with him through HOOP- the non-for-profit that provides lower-income students with opportunities for higher learning. Cindy’s primary job was to teach English to children living in lower socioeconomic areas and provide them with the tools to learn English and other languages. 

I needed a teacher who wouldn’t judge me for the eclectic Spanish I had learned over my months of traveling throughout different Spanish speaking countries and inconsistent studying.

Cindy embraced my enthusiasm and created a soft landing pad for me to fall and make mistakes on without embarrassment. Like the one time I was trying to describe how beautiful the volcanos were and instead of saying “ Los volcans de Ariquipa son moi hermosa” I said “Lost volcans de Arquipa son moi hermano”- which means brother. She could never stop herself from laughing but never made me feel like she was laughing at me- it would become an inside joke between the two of us. Together, we were able to be reflective of our our languages and criticize them together- the difference between scary and horrifying or avoiding the mistake of mejor, major, and mujer. She was someone I was able to play and nerd out within the land of languages.  

As my Spanish improved, Cindy’s story became clearer and I she taught me more than just her language- the history and problems of her country, the gender inequality, and the day to day musings of living in Peru, which is what we discuss here in this episode. Forgive the screeching of cars and the shouts of Spanish in the background- you are getting the live action soundtrack to Arequipa Peru. Here is her story.

In this episode, we discuss

  • How she decided to learn and teach English

  • What it is like to be a teacher

  • What makes her happiest when teaching

  • What it is like to teach English

  • What it is like to teach Spanish

  • Why she believes learning other languages is important

  • Why she believes learning English is important

  • What teaching English and Spanish provides her

  • What affect her social work has had on her community

  • Why she enjoys social work

  • What it is like being a woman in Peru

  • How gender roles are changing in Peru


Note: Quechua /ˈkɛtʃwə/, known as Runasimi ("people's language") in the Quechuan language, is an indigenous language family, with variations spoken by the Quechua peoples, primarily living in the Andes and highlands of South America  (Wikipedia).