Title: The biggest geraniums I have seen! Location: Cochabamba, Bolivia
Our neighbor's house has the most gorgeous garden and the neighbor's son has allowed us to use their veranda. Not sure if we can when they get back from their trip though. It has apple trees and lemon trees, the biggest geraniums I have ever seen. Every boarder is a riot of colour, Echinacea, lilies, arum lilies, stralitzia (!) and every tree festooned with blossom and flowers. Hummingbirds in the trees and manicured lawn.
In fact, the whole of Cochabamba is a blaze of colour and this isn't the flower season we are told.
University is big, oversubscribed and busy, busy, busy. The classrooms are out of the Victorian era but with a whiteboard at the front. It's quite normal to have 80 to 100 students in one class. It's a public university, which means that they pay relatively little to go there.
Bolivians are very laid back and this applies to their attendance but as you would expect there are some who really want to get on and therefore come along to all lectures.
The campus is strewn with communist like statues and murals but in the main it's nice and has lots of open areas to sit and chat and get coffee.
My husband is learning computer science and I am learning Economics - we are guinea pigs as neither discipline has had volunteers before. My class is first year economics but I am taking them for conversational English. So far I have been to 3 of their lectures in which they are learning to conjugate verbs. I managed to get them to sign up to my additional conversational classes last week (white board, timetable and pens and told them to put their name next to a class!) which start in earnest on Monday. It's quite comical because my Spanish isn't good enough to keep up with their excuses.
I did get to give my first lesson this week though - introductions and greetings. We think that they have learnt English for years at school but with teaching methods being out of the ark they have never really spoken English. Things hot up next week with the inflatable globe becoming the focus for lesson 2 'where are you from? and nationalities!'
Of course we have had no instruction on what to teach them so we've decided to run our own Spanish lessons in reverse. I spent last Tuesday snowpaking out the Spanish on our night school Latin American handouts and putting English in its place. But it works and they can't believe that they get free handouts!
We are trying to make the lessons fun and varied because you really wouldn't believe how they are taught - its excruciating. They are also really shy, but we are both exchanging knowledge by teaching and learning from eachother, and I feel like my Spanish is improving everyday, here in Cochabamba, Bolivia!