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where is laura? Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers. Rainer Maria Rilke

Arrived in Cusco

PERU | Tuesday, 7 March 2006 | Views [800]

After my 13 hour bus ride, I arrived safe and happily in Cusco.

For the next month I will based out of the office of this group, Ayllu Yupaychay. For the last 8 or so years they have been working with kids in very remote, rural indigenous communities, facilitating art workshops. They have worked with over 40 schools.

For most of these kids it was the first time they used paint, or had the opportunity to draw. What they have produced is an amazing testament to their  internal sense of pictoral representation, design.. based on their culture and upbringing. The organization was started by a woman from the US, also named Laura, an artist in LA who decided to move to Cusco in 1991. Since then she has worked closely with people from the surrounding communities to develop and make sucessful these art workshops. I got connected to her through my friend Hector in Berkeley. She was his link to work in the US, and he helped in many ways with the development of this project. His sister, Yovanna, works in the office, and I´m excited to meet her later in the week.

They are in the process of opening up a  new museum at the end of March of April to publicly display this work. They have secured this huge old colonial house, 2 floors, internal courtyard, deep blue trim.. it´s a beautiful space.. and hopefully I will be here for the opening, which will be both an exciting culmination of these years of work,  and new beginning for the organization. 

Not sure exactly what my role will be in all of this, but, as all non profit arts organizations go, help is always needed, and with the opening there is a lot to be done.. so stay tuned.

For now, I´m staying in the office, I have a nice room off the kitchen, with good computer (with skype!),reg phone access, and stacks of books about Andean culture, religion, and Cusco to keep me busy for weeks.

So far, I´ve met the main office administrator and accountant, Mary Luna, a very sweet woman, who will no doubt help me improve and practice my spanish. I had lunch today with her and her 20 yr old daughter at this woman´s house a few buildings down. You have to call to let them know you are coming, and you eat at a big table set up in their living room. It was delicious, almuerzo, 3 soles = $1. Everyone brings tupperware, anticipating the large portions to take some home. Everyone at the office ususually goes out to lunch together every day at 1pm en punto.  Earlier this morning, I also met Rosi Blume, the soon to be general manager at the museum. She is a very classy, blonde haired lady, who speaks flawless english, originally from Lima, still has a lot of city in her. Moved to Cusco after marrying Peter Frost, a brit, and well known writer of travel guides (his guide to cusco I bought today...) who has lived here over 30 years. They are both taking very good care of me, anything I need they keep telling me.. it´s very sweet, and I feel like quite the welcomed  guest... invited to stay as long as I like.

There is a market a few blocks away. I stocked up on veggies, etc today. All the women at the market call me (not just me) mami or mamicita as I´m wandering around aimlessly looking for goods. Mami, que buscas?

All in all first very successful day. Cusco is sure to be a very worthy and interesting place to spend the next month... pictures coming soon.

Tags: Culture

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