Friday, 14 May 2010

Santiago, more week 2 - Secrets of Santiago & Teaching in Chile.

Hello everybody! Well I never thought I´d be writing a second blog post this week, but the last two days have been nothing short of incredible. The sights, sounds and smells of this city range from, mundane to bizarre. I have seen a woman pushing an improvised BBQ of lovely smelling meat, through the busy streets in a shopping trolley. Further uses of a shopping trolley have included young kids pushing their (possibly homeless) immobile relatives along the road, and there are coffee shops here where the waitresses can be wearing anything from tight fitting short dresses, to much much less (of course I have not yet ventured into such places). Santiago is anything but boring, you just need to scratch the surface a little.
So, where to start, well, a few street scenes from this never dull city are always a good place to start, so here are a couple of street shots...

The most memorable experiences have come at the University de Chile, where I have been entertained and enthused by the staff and students for two days! Not only have I learned a great deal about OT and education here in Chile, the students have been showing me sides of Santiago that no guide book can direct you to. Now just bear with me for a second or two whilst I make the next link. Football was always going to feature heavily in my blog, as the world cup looms and I am here in South America, I just didn´t expect Chilean football to give me such fun memories. One of the Uni de Chile students (Consuelo)

, had invited me to watch a big football match (University De Chile vs Flamengo - Brazil) in a bar somewhere in the city. I was not expecting to be led by Consuelo and two of her class mates into what looked like quite a heavy rock bar! With low lighting, lots of long hair, and dress code of ´black´, it was not a sight I´d ever see in the UK. As the game went on, and the unfancied team from Chile took a 0-2 lead, the bar was going wild!

As the game approached half time the Chilean team had a player sent off at 1-2 up, but within a minute of the second half, the unthinkable happened, University De Chile scored to make the score 1-3! More celebrations occurred, and you friendships were made over beers and hugs! See Below. Despite a late Brazilian goal, the celebrations were long and lasted into the night, which is more than can be said for me, as I staggered home, picking up of the many strangely filled hot dogs from a night stand, to help sober me up!

So onto Friday, a day which was equally as exhilarating, but in such a different way. One of the OT lecturers (Gaby)
had invited me to join her and some OT students (many of who I had met at the conference)at a local community project. The project was about how a local community group had come together to stop the government and business developers from destroying their part of town. It was a very inspiring story. We then headed back to the University, to have lunch, and for my afternoon lecture. Gaby and her colleagues, were very hospitable, making me cups of tea, and even speaking with a ´Mary Poppins´ English accent, which was first class entertainment! A few other staff members joined the fun, including Diego, who was to be my translator for the afternoon session.

I don´t have photos from the afternoon session / lecture at presnt, but I´ll add them at a later point, but I just wanted to say a huge thanks to the University staff for letting me give the lecture about my work in Vietnam, and to Diego for translating my presentation. The students appeared interested, and asked some great questions, considering they were first level. This lecture served as a good warm up for a second lecture I am giving on my return to Santiago, before flying home in July.

The day didn´t stop there though, as I had arranged to meet one of the students (Tamara) to discuss her proposed work in South Chile. There have been so many opportunities to meet and discuss OT (Occupational Therapy) related work and experiences that my mind is working overtime. We stopped for a pizza and a beer, but only after seeing another spectacular sunset over Santiago, despite cloudy conditions, have a look for yourself!

Regards from Santiago!

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