Some parents in Karhuacalla had children participating in our Pre-University Academy Project in Huaninpampa. They shared their experience with Alma with the rest of the community, and in 2016 asked us to come work in Karhuacalla with their primary school students.
We instantly noticed a difference between the students in Karhuacalla from many of the other communities we work in. Usually, the students are shy, quiet, and distant when we first begin to work with them. It takes time to build a relationship of trust and compassion where students feel safe enough to try critical and creative thinking tasks. In Karhuacalla, on the other hand, the students were open and ready to go! We still had to build a relationship with them, but it didn’t take long. These kids were happy to tell us what they thought, and we were happy to listen. An Alma classroom is rarely a quiet classroom!
We continue to work in Karhuacalla implementing our afterschool Biblioteca project, reinforcing state mandated academic content and promoting critical/creative thinking through dynamic projects based 100% on the students’ indigenous culture and values. The kids are still extra crazy (and fun); the parents are still motivated and involved; the state teachers, though they have changed a few times, are still supportive; and the local authorities are helping as well.
Karhuacalla sits near the sacred site, Pumaorqo, where the four Ayar brothers and their wives emerged to eventually populate the Cusco valley and plant maize, leading to the creation of the Inca civilization. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the community of Karhuacalla to see what else we can create together!