Today we had to go to a ministry of education event. I was so glad to go, and already had an email about the event and signed up. The other fellows were not thrilled with the idea of going. It had sounded like we would be at a lecture type thing where we would hear about the ministry of education and what they are doing to help Colombia become a leader among South American nations in educating the youth. A lot of the fellows don’t speak much Spanish yet, so I am sure it is very difficult to sit for a long time while not understanding what is going on. It ended up being a televised media event held at a TV studio and we were there to be shown off in the background!
The studio was circular and there were like people grouped together for the crowd effect. We had to wear our bright green vests so that we stood out – though our obvious foreignness should have sufficed! There were groups of school children dressed up and teachers with their vests seated together as well. https://www.facebook.com/Mineducacion/
It was very interesting though and the ministry is actually doing some cool things. It is nice to see that the government is taking education seriously as a way to increase their goal of a lasting peace in the country between FARC and the government. Students can get scholarships to go to good universities, curriculum experts (docentes), can get their master’s in education paid for, schools are being built and improved and more educational books are being provided to the schools. They are starting focus more on Choco, an area long neglected by the government and trying to bring it up to the level in the rest of the country. It was a very interesting event. They had speakers there from all the areas they talked about to back up their assertions.
All of us fellows went out to lunch afterwards and hung out and talked. It was relaxing and nice to see everyone. The fellows came from Fusa, Mosquera, and then us from Bogota. Some of us went to play Tejo after lunch. Tejo is a traditional Colombian game where one throws lead balls at a mud board that has pieces of explosives on it. When one hits the explosive, it pops! It is a very fun game it turns out! Though the explosives are incredibly hard to make explode!
It is free to get into the Tejo place, but one has to buy a case of beer. Not a bad combination, beer and explosives! I am surprised that Americans aren’t into this game!! It was 30 beers for about $40. Not bad – there were 8 of us – so not an expensive afternoon. We went to the Campo de Tejo Los Bucanos which is near the Gold Museum in Candelaria. It was an interesting little building that one would never have guessed was a campo de Tejo. From the entry it looked like a restaurant and nothing else. One had to know that it was there. We had to walk into the restaurant to the back room.
It was very dirty and rustic and there was loud Ranchera music playing. At first the explosions were very startling, but one gradually got used to it. It was nice to see the people who knew what they were doing play! We were instructed to stand closer to the mud board so that our led circles could actually hit the explosive papers! There are four papers placed into the mud and then one throws the lead circle to try to hit them. If you are able to hit them just right they explode! It is harder than it looks!! We ended up putting about 10 papers on the board to give us a better chance, but…. it didn’t seem to help us at all. We hung out there for a couple of hours and just relaxed and chatted. It is a great way to unwind.
It was great because Norbert came to join us and hang out and meet my friends. They had this amazing cat there that is just like my Sasha. He was fun to play with and they took really good care of him – he had a whole play level with cat scratching trees, food, water, litter and toys, beds and boxes! I went up to see the area and there was another cat up there too! It was so cool! These cats were able to look out at all the people who came and went and also escape. I was surprised that the noise didn’t seem to bother them at all! It was a nice touch to my afternoon to get to hang with cats.