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May 31, 2013:

Mariela and her parents - proud of her official chef title!

Mosqoy would like to officially congratulate ten of its students for successfully completing their post-secondary studies. Kristina had the pleasure of attending the official graduation ceremony at Blue Ribbon International for Mariela, who is now an executive chef; it was definitely a drastic difference from graduation ceremonies she’s experienced in Canada and Europe. Students continued to show up throughout the keynote address, and the whole family went up with the students to receive their certificates. When the ceremony was done, there was a mad rush for photos with directors and professors which paired nicely with the wine and bocaditos that were prepared by current students at the institute. In addition to Mariela’s success, we would like to congratulate Edison, Elizabeth, Elmer, Emy Luz, Johnny, Lizbeth, Rolando, Sandra and Yolanda who are all either completing their practicums and courses, or have already finished their programs! On June 1st, Mosqoy is hosting a graduation for all the students and families in Ollantaytambo, and everyone is looking forward to this celebration and fellowship.

Happy birthday to Carmen Rosa, who turned 19 on May 15. We had a lovely dinner prepared by the students and a delicious peach cake! Due to school projects and exams, we did not manage to go out dancing (which the students love to do), but we look forward to when things are a little less busy so we can properly celebrate Carmen’s special day!

Carmen gets the first bite from Ebhert as Alex looks on.

Our new program manager, Kristina, officially had her first meeting with all the parents of Mosqoy on May 18th, and thoroughly enjoyed meeting the families of our students. It was a successful meeting meant to organise the graduation coming up; the families all bring traditional dishes to end the ceremony with a feast and party. The meeting also marked the beginning of the fiestas in Ollantaytambo, so Kristina and Maggie both experienced the traditional dances and parades going on through the town. What an amazing cultural experience! One dance involved a man standing in the centre of a circle of other men, who all had whips. They danced toward the man in the centre and then whipped his feet! According to the students, this is a traditional dance of the warrior - the Kachampa. All dancers can only wear two pairs of sports socks as protection - imagine the welts!

We have continued on with our Encuentro with San Blas students, which seems to be growing. On May 21st, we welcome over 20 (!!!) students from Germany, Holland, the UK and the US into the house and had a delicious meal of escabeche (a kind of salad) and chicken. It was a really exciting exchange, as some of the students from Holland that had attended the other intercambio had created a lovely presentation about their country - including bringing typical cookies for the students to share! Itayoshara prepared a lovely exposition about the festivities in Ollantaytambo, and Eurelesis presented it perfectly. It truly was a cultural exchange, and we look forward to hosting more students in the future. In addition, we continue to increase our connection with the San Blas school through Monday night friendly pick-up soccer games.

At Casa Mosqoy students are settling into the new cooking and cleaning schedules, and our house is focused on cooperation and teamwork. We are continuing with weekly team building through sports, and are varying what games we play. Students have expressed an interest in soccer (no surprises here) and volleyball, but also yoga and capoeira, so we are currently looking for spaces and instructors to offer basic workshops.

Students are also continuing to assist the field workers in Peru: Elmer translated for the monthly Mapacho River Valley meetings with Maggie - the textile coordinator. Students have been a great help in planning our graduation, also. Eurelesis and Marilyn designed a beautiful invitation to this year’s graduation that they handed out to the municipality in Ollantaytambo, and Karina and Rosmery are organising the decorations. We have also counted on the help of the alumni network - with Adrian and Rolando organising the rental space and audiovisual equipment. We appreciate everyone’s hard work to make this event a success, including the sponsors and supporters of Mosqoy and Qente that continue to make our organisation successful!

Some of the Mosqoy parents, organising the feast for the graduation.

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