This past Friday there were no classes. Instead, the teachers, over half the student body, and a few parents and assorted other adults got on a bus and headed up into the mountains north of the city. In or near the La Tigra Park is a place called El Pilguin. This is a sort of park with playground equipment and playing fields for soccer and basketball courts. There is also a monkey cage with some monkeys indigenous to the country in it.
Our start was delayed for about 45 minutes due to the bus arriving late but once it got here everyone piled in for a noisy ride up the mountain. I’ve been up to that area several times for various reasons and each time I find myself enjoying the peace, cleanliness, and relative quiet of the wooded mountains. It provides me with a lot of what I miss while living in the city.
However, there was to be very little in the way of quiet for me this day. After arriving there, the we had our snack and then the kids were allowed to run and play. Watching them out there that day really made me realize how much children need space to run and play. Very few if any of our students have this luxury, as they live in houses in the city with no yard attached to it.
After an hour or so there, Profe Lucas formed three soccer teams of 7-9 people each, the players being students, teachers, and a few other adults. Each game was won by whoever got two goals first. The winner would then play the other team and the losing team would have a rest. On team played several matches before finally losing. I played of course and enjoyed myself, even though I was a bit out of shape and hadn’t played seriously in years. However, I suffered for not using sunblock as after several hours in the hot sun I had myself a bright red neck and a slightly red face and forearms. Thankfully, most of pain has subsided in my neck by now.
After soccer was over, there was a game with the whole group and then the kids were reluctantly herded back to the bus. I could tell they didn’t want to leave El Pilguin. I couldn’t blame them, as I had a great time there myself. But after a final group shot, we all boarded the bus for the long, winding trip back down into the city. I for one am already looking forward to returning to the mountains for Encampamento later this year!