Enrollments and home visits
The inscriptions for a new toddler group in the nursery take place in February. At the same time, vacant places in the other groups or classes, for example because a family moved away, are also reassigned then. Overall, there are usually about 30 to 40 vacancies a year. However, the need in the population is far higher. Around 300 mothers or family members are usually waiting up to 24 hours in front of the doorway for the beginning of the enrollments.
The Urpi Wasi team records personal details for every family. In the following days, they visit each home for personal conversations with the families. The direct insight into the children’s home helps the team to better assess to whom Urpi Wasi is of most help. The choice for the few vacant places in the Urpi Wasi is every year a very difficult job for the team and the refusals are always painful.
School Year start
The school year begins in early March and lasts until December. The very first day is a very special one for all, but particularly for the students of the first class.
On Mother’s Day, Urpi Wasi receives the mothers in its house to celebrate together. Their sons and daughters dance for them, recite poems and pass over homemade gifts. In the end, everyone is served small snack.
Inti Raymi, the Sun Festival with the traditional dance competitions
Every year on June 24, the city of Cusco celebrates traditional festivities called Inti Raymi. This celebration originates from the time of the Inca Empire. It dominates the whole city on this day. The festivities include a dance competition with traditional dances, which are performed on the Plaza de Armas in the center of Cusco. Dancers from kindergartens, schools, as well as universities and companies compete against each other. A jury judges over the dances and determines the winner.
Children from the 3rd year of Kindergarten and from the 6th grade of primary school of Urpi Wasi participate – each one accompanied by a large fan group of mothers and children who cheered the dancers with orange balloons. It is always a beautiful and emotional moment to see the Urpi Wasi family united there.
September 29 is the anniversary of Urpi Wasi and celebrated every year. The school classes contribute to the festivities with a dance performance in traditional costumes. Afterwards, everyone looks forward to the special lunch: pasta and chicken – for most a feast.
„Chupete” means “Lolly” or „Lollipop” in Spanish. The children are thrilled to get a chupete and a warm hug from “Tía Barbi” on their birthdays. Of course, at breakfast all children sing for the birthday child – in Spanish and Quechua. It always sounds nice!
In Peru, First Communion is celebrated in September. The pupils of the 5th grade of primary school prepare themselves during six months for this event. For most of them and for their families it is a day of rejoicing. The children are eager to wear the white dresses from Urpi Wasi.
Barbecue and Final Camp
At the very end of the primary school term, the students of 6thgrade go to a three days camping trip, together with “Tía Barbi” and some teachers. The journey usually takes them to a place not too far away, but with a milder climate than Cusco. Swimming and sleeping in a tent is a wonderful experience for all of them. To cover the costs, the students and their mothers organize a Barbecue day. The income finances the final camp.
Anyone, who has once experienced Christmas in Urpi Wasi will never forget the bright eyes of the children, marveling at the beautiful room decorated with candles and the crib. The Urpi Wasi team traditionally builds the crib on a mossy landscape, and lovingly adorn it with Christmas figures and of course with the “Niño Jesus”,(Baby Jesus).
During the celebration, a teacher tells the children a Christmas story and then all sing together with a lot of enthusiasm the “villancicos” (Carols). Traditionally, the children the get “panettone” and hot chocolate. And of course, also a little surprise, that every child may take home.