Now that our Mosqoy Ambassadors are back and settled in Peru, we’d like to thank everyone involved in making this program a huge success! Ehbert and Elvira continue to be dedicated volunteers and inspiring mentors to our current Mosqoy students, and we’re so happy to have been able to give them the opportunity to experience life in Canada. Our current Fellowship student, Amanda Yeo, got a chance got catch up with Ehbert and Elvira to chat about their experiences in Canada, and get some updates on their transitions back to life in Peru.
We’ll start with our interview with Elvira, and we’ll be following up shortly with our conversation with Ebhert. Elvira is currently working as our Education and Volunteer Program Coordinator at Mosqoy house, and is a wonderful support to Mosqoy staff and students:
Location: Juice Shop off the Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru.
Amanda So I was talking to Ashli [Our program director] and she had asked if I could interview you and Ebert. She had told me that you guys had gone to Canada to study, which sounds like so much fun. She was telling me that you went to the University of Victoria to study. Was it only for one semester?
Elvira Yeah, only for 1…it was for 3 months? Yeah 3 months.
Amanda So what did you study there?
Amanda What are you doing now that you are back in Peru?
Elvira Now I am working …at a small business.
Amanda Are you still involved with Mosqoy then?
Elvira Yeah Sometimes we went to Mosqoy house and help everything. And sometimes we talk about the experience in Canada or about the big experience in Canada. And sometimes we went to Mosqoy house to say “hello!”.
Amanda Is it harder to come back from Canada then back to Peru?
Elvira Yes because it is very different. Canada is very very different. I like Canada but when I came back to Peru, it was very surprise for me because I saw a very different Peru...yeah….it’s very hard for me. Also looking for my work, my job… it is very hard.
Amanda What did you find surprising, like why did you find it so hard to come back?
Elvira Yeah I don’t know, it the people, the place, the weather, very different. Very hard for me
Amanda What do you miss about Canada then?
Elvira My friends, and also my host family, and also the food. A little bit.
Amanda What did you eat in Canada that you really miss?
Amanda There is lasagna here though! (laughs)
Elvira But it is very different. I love lasagne.
Amanda What did you find your most valuable experience while you were there?
Elvira I know different people. I know people who have um…who is rich because I am poor. I don’t have a lot of money but I know people have a lot of money. I don’t know, the culture also. The culture in Canada is very different and the people are very different… friendly..
Amanda How do you think this experience can help you in the future? Do you think it would help you at all or not so much?
Elvira Yeah it helps a lot because it’s very important for my life, this experience .Now when people ask me about Canada I know. I talk about that.
Amanda Do you find that it helps with the students? Because you tell the students about your experience. What do they ask you about Canada then?
Elvira What did you eat in Canada…and what are you doing in Canada.
Amanda They want to know about the food?
Elvira Yeah but I know a lot about the Mosqoy volunteers, NGOs, I know what they’re doing in Canada for Mosqoy students. The Mosqoy volunteers work hard in Canada. And it’s very….and now I know what..I like the work about Mosqoy. It is so hard for them.
Amanda Did you get to stay at their office?
Elvira Yeah I went to their office, two times but we didn’t work here.
Amanda Yeah because you had to study right?
Elvira Yes but we also went to different places for presentations. We talked about Mosqoy and my experience with Mosqoy…you know?
Amanda How many people were in your Mosqoy class?
Elvira Now? 20? Yeah 20.
Amanda I was going to ask because there are so many of you guys, how did they pick who goes to Canada?
Elvira Only people who have a good ..um I don’t how you say.. a good score at the institute and a …how do you say when it’s a good person?
Amanda Yeah it a good person. It’s that they know you have good grades and are good person. They are going to make sure you will do alright and study.
Amanda Did you like your English classes?
Elvira Yes, They were good because we only spoke in English. Every time. Also I know different people and my teacher is so … I don’t know…I miss my classmates and my teacher.
I went to different communities to talk about Mosqoy. When I talk to about Mosqoy. It’s very interesting because when you talk people listen, you know.
Amanda Is there anything else you want to add about your trip to Canada? If there was anything you wanted to tell your Sponsors about your trip to Canada?
Elvira Yeah, for example: Gerry. I miss Gerry. He helped a lot and he told me about the indigenous people. It was very surprising to me because indigenous people are another person. It’s very different because they are like me.
Elvira Also when we went to the school. The schools are very different. Very very different f from Cusco or Ollantaytambo. Because in these schools there are many technologies. There are computers, there are different technologies, but in Ollantaytambo no, only have.. I think, 20 computers for 1000 students. You know it’s very hard and only 20 or 30 computers but in here, every student has one. It’s very different and good in Canada than in Ollantaytambo, Cusco, or Peru.
Amanda Are you going to stay involved with Mosqoy even though you are done the program?
Amanda Do you plan on moving back to Ollantaytambo?
Elvira Yes, only I need to finish my English program here first and then I will go back to Ollantaytambo.
Amanda What will you do when you get back to Ollantaytambo?
Elvira I don’t know maybe work in the hostels or I don’t know
Amanda I guess you’ll find out when you get back
Elvira Yeah but in my community you can work in the farm or something else.
Thanks to Elvira and Amanda for putting together these reflections on the Student Ambassador Program. Be sure to look for Ehbert’s interview, coming soon.
Last week we saw Mosqoy's 2012 Student Ambassadors, Ebhert and Elvira, off at the airport. They had an amazing and productive trip - and left Canada with many new friends. Between attending English Language classes at the University of Victoria, Ebhert and Elvira gave lectures about Quechua culture and their experience in the Mosqoy program, attended Canadian Cultural events, gave presentations at various high schools on Vancouver Island, and hosted educational workshops. Its been incredible to see them share their stories and hopes for Mosqoy's future, which they continue to work with in Peru as Student Leaders.
But while we could recount their experiences, we think the story is best told in their own words! We've shared their accounts of their time in Canada below. Over the next few weeks we will also be posting photographs of their travels, testimonials from the ESL teachers who worked with them, and musings from our volunteers on what it has meant to spend time with Ebhert and Elvira in Canada. We are looking forward to welcoming next year's ambassadors in 2013. In the meantime, please enjoy what Ebhert and Elvira had to say about their time as the 2012 Mosqoy Ambassadors - using their newly honed English Language skills.
Hello, my name is Ebhert Florentino. I arrived in Victoria on January 5. I started to study at UVic on January 9th. I have had a nice experience here because I have learned a lot of English and I know new friends from other countries, for example Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Chile, China, Japan and many countries. I studied for 12 weeks and yesterday I had the final dinner with my friends and teachers. It was a nice dinner.
During my schedule in Victoria, every day I went to class. The class is in the morning from 8:30 until 12:45. On Saturday and Sunday, I went to play soccer with my new friends. Sometimes I went to a Mosqoy volunteer’s home to make food together or sometimes we went hiking in the mountains. I saw a hockey game and we also went to the opera and had many other activities at UVic.
I visited 3 high schools to explain about Mosqoy and Q’ente and I did one presentation at the First People’s House at UVic. In two weeks, I will go back to Peru, but I am very happy because I introduced many people here to the life in Peru and the difference between Peru and Canada.
Thank-you to everyone for everything and for the opportunity to come to Victoria and study at the university.
Hi, my name is Elvira I has been a good experience studying English at UVic because every day I learned new words and culture. It was exciting. I learned a lot of English. Many people helped me. At UVic I had a class from 8:30-12:45. I was never absent from my class. Every day, I spoke English with everyone. I also learned that some people have a lot of money. It is amazing!
My experience in Victoria is wonderful because I learned about Canadian culture and I saw the beautiful forest. I also learned about the daily life here. It is very different from Peru but I’m so happy because I could learn about Victoria and meet very good people. I’m lucky I also met volunteers who work for Mosqoy and Q’ente.
We participated in presentations at high schools and the university. I’m happy because I have talked about my life and my culture to almost 200 young Canadians. It was exciting because I used to be nervous speaking in front of an audience but now I’m not!
When people ask me about Peru or Indigenous communities, I’m really happy because they want to know about my culture. Thank-you to all the people who helped me. Now my dream is real. Thank-you, my time here has been great.
In our last progress report we were excited to announce that we had met our fundraising goal to sponsor the 2012 Mosqoy Ambassadors to Canada, Ebhert and Elvira. The next few months were quite busy arranging their living accommodations, booking flights, sorting out Visa's and ensuring that we were ready to welcome them to Victoria, British Columbia.
We are pleased to announce that both Ebhert and Elvira arrived safely in Victoria last week and are quickly adjusting to their new situations. Both have homestays with lovely families and have started their English as a Second Language Classes at the University of Victoria. Their participation in the English Language Program is not only an opportunity to improve their English, but to meet and connect with students from all over the globe. Their presentation schedule has also been confirmed, and once they feel more comfortable with conversational English Ebhert and Elvira will begin a series of presentations at high schools and post secondary institutions. These presentation be an opportunity for Canadian youth to learn about Quechua culture, international not for profit organizations, and some of the economic and social challenges facing Peruvian youth at present. The presentations will also provide an opportunity for Ebhert and Elvira to develop their confidence in public presentation and speaking, both skills that will be useful in their work in the tourism industry in Peru.
Mosqoy volunteers in Victoria and Vancouver were very excited to meet and greet Ebhert and Elvira earlier this week. It has been wonderful for everyone to meet in person. For Ebhert and Elvira to witness operations and work in Canada first hand is another step towards continuing to build trust and commitment amongst those involved in the organization in both Canada and Peru. It is also an amazing learning opportunity for both Canadian volunteers and our Peruvian collegues, as we share, build connections and work together to vision our goals for the organization.
We have many exciting events planned for Ebhert and Elvira over the course of the three months, and look forward to sharing photos and anecdotes over the course of their stay. If you are interested in following Ebhert and Elvira's time in Canada you may be interested in checking out our facebook page, where both Ebhert and Elvira have been posting about their stay at http://www.facebook.com/mosqoy. For example, they recently posted the following:
Hello guys, how are you? What's new? I hope you're well. I am learning a lot about Canadian culture to share with you and I hope that you like it because it is beautiful. People are very friendly. On Monday and today I met a lot of people from China, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia. Take care and study a lot, like I am doing to fulfill my purpose. Bye. Greetings to all! - Elvira
Hello everyone! Thank you for all the support. I am now in Victoria and very happy and excited to learn Canadian culture. I hope you have a nice weekend! See you later! - Ebhert
Because Ebhert and Elvira have only been in Victoria for a week, we do not have any new photos to share at the present. However, there will be lots in our next progress report, which they will pick especially to share.
Just a few short months ago the Mosqoy team was wondering how we would raise all the necessary funds to sponsor this years Peruvian Student Ambassadors to Canada, but now with the assistance of our local supporters and all those who rallied to support us through GlobalGiving, Ebhert and Elvira will be arriving in Victoria in January of 2012! Ebhert and Elvira were nominated as the 2012 ambassadors for a number of reasons. They have been involved with the Mosqoy project since its inauguration in 2006, have repeatedly demonstrated leadership, integrity and commitment to the project, and successfully graduated from the Mosqoy program and continue to volunteer as student leaders, mentoring those entering and completing the program.
Currently our Peru Liaison, Reanna, is in Peru. Among other activities, she is assisting Ebhert and Elvria in obtaining their travel visas and preparing for their trip to Canada. In the meantime, Mosqoy's Canadian volunteers have been eagerly preparing for Ebhert and Elvira's arrival. We have been working hard to arrange home stays, and plan a variety of social and educational activities, from university lectures to hikes along the coast of Vancouver Island to a cooking class where we will share Canadian and Peruvian recipes and then sit down to enjoy a meal together. Our goal is to ensure that Ebhert and Elvira feel welcomed and comfortable, and that they are provided with as many opportunities as possible to meet with other Canadian students and share and educate about their experience in Peru and with the Mosqoy project.
Besides facilitating cross cultural learning, presenting about Quechua culture, and sharing their own perspectives on international collaboration, Ebhert and Elvira will have the opportunity to develop many practical skills that will assist them in their careers in Peru. Both ambassadors will be participating in the UVic ESL program (where they will not only improve their English but have the opportunity to meet many other international students), have the opportunity to develop their presentation and public speaking skills, and have the opportunity to network with other professionals in their chosen fields of work.
We are very excited to be well underway in prepping for Ebhert and Elvira's arrival in Victoria. Besides the many practical benefits of the ambassadorship program, one of the most important opportunities it offers is the chance to build friendships and relationships amongst our Canadian-Peruvian participants and supporters, many of whom are youth between the ages of 18-30. These friendships serve to inspire and motivate our team both in Canada and Peru, as well as the many students who have the opportunity to attend the lectures the ambassadors host. By meeting in person and sharing ideas, perspectives and dreams, we see some tangible examples of the positive connections that can be built despite many of the negative issues our international community is currently facing. We look forward to meeting, sharing and learning with Ebhert and Elvira, and the many opportunities for cross cultural collaboration and understanding that their time in Victoria may serve to create both during their stay here, and upon their return to Peru.
The Mosqoy Team in both Canada and Peru would like to sincerely thank all those who have supported the program via GlobalGiving. We have been amazed and touched by the power of collective fundraising! Your support means that we can continue to offer international learning opportunities to our Peruvian participants who could not otherwise afford it. We look forward to keeping you updated of Ebhert and Elvira's time in Canada upon their arrival in January.
For those interested in learning more about the program, we recommend you review our facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=510775969#!/mosqoy) where the students update regularly, or the blog of our Peru Liaison (http://mosqoyfellowship.blogspot.com/). If you have any questions or comments about the program we encourage you to email Jasmine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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