Te ao, te ao te aora! (The Long White Cloud)

Well, we have done a long road since the last post! Sorry for being so late, but, surprisingly, it was far more easy and cheaper to get access to fast Internet in Southamerica than in New-Zealand!

However, let’s resume where we left the story… The southern part of Chile was truly amazing : we spent several days jumping, walking in the rainforest of Huerquehue National Park, not very far from Pucon, a charming little bavarian-looking village nested between a lake and a volcano topped up with snow, or trying to overcome a stream on a wet naked trunk at Los Ojos del Caburgua, with charming blue pools and spherical orange mushrooms pending over the birch trees. Of course, in the meanwhile, I fed myself with glorious ice-creams, and Janyce fell in love with the two enormous New Foundland dogs that guarded our pretty cosy hostel. Then we left for Puerto Varas, even more German and charming, as you would see from the wooden houses and their names, where we ate the most gorgeous pecan kuchen ever, before heading toward the windswept, rainbeaten Chiloe, a coarse fishermen’s village full of legends.

Southamerica was just wonderful in its contrasted landscapes and man-kinds, sometimes harsh, sometimes pitiless, yet full of passion, of wild nights, big smiles, pool challenges, andine music, mate and , of course, dulce de leche (oh, I’m going to miss that so much!). It wasn’t always easy and dream-like, though, and you had to be always on your guard : we were wandering in Valparaiso, one city beloved by Neruda, took the wrong turn in Cerro Santo Domingo and were attacked by three young smugglers. They stole Janyce’s bag, but, fortunately, there wasn’t much in it, her diary, El Koalito, a banana and many other little things naturally enclosed in a woman’s bag. Still, that’s annoying. The policemen kindly helped us, and showed us around in their car, pointing out, at each new hill : ÿou see? Tourists! Here, no danger! But here, no, not here! danger, peligroso!

Soon, very soon, we were to leave Santiago, and fly towards the mysterious lands at the antipodes of our respective countries, ready to cry, as the first Polynesian woman did on her pirogue, after sailing for days and days in the Pacific : “Te Ao, Te Ao, Te Ao Te aora!”(A cloud, a Cloud, a Long White Cloud!)

Next episode : New Zealand! Clouds, legends, haka dance, volcanoes, mudpools, rainforest and much, much more!


Fourth Presentation in Santiago del Chile

Session 1

When : 16th October 2012

Where: Santiago del Chile, at Scuola Italiana Vittorio Montiglio

Level : 6A, 6B (Teacher Angela Bortoluzzi)

Age of the children : between 11 and 12 years old

Number of children : nearly 19-22 per class

Number of stories told : 4 per class


Session 2

When : 17th October 2012

Where: Santiago del Cile, at Scuola Italiana Vittorio Montiglio

Level : 6C (Teacher Barbara Bucci)

Age of the children : between 11 and 12 years old

Number of children : nearly 20

Number of stories told : 4


Last 16th and 17th October in Santiago, we had the opportunity to give three mythological lessons at the Scuola Italiana Vittorio Montiglio, situated on the top of a hill in Las Condes where you can see all the city in its splendour (and heavy sky). The building of the school is pretty new and beautiful – it represents the educational mission leaded by the Scuola Italiana : a place open to cultural exchanges, open to the wind and new opportunities. The pupils can attend to different talleres, learning to cook or taking photograpy lessons or playing music in a band. Really interesting! Janyce and I wished we could be teenagers again, so that we could go to that wonderful school (yet, the thought of tons of homework readily dissipated our transient nostalgia)…

Anyway, let’s talk of those two very busy october days.

The first presentation took place at 8 o’clock in the morning (well, we were a bit late, shame on us! let’s say 8h15), till almost ten o’ clock. The children had previously done some research with their main teacher and also prepared amazing masks with their art teacher, in order to play the myth they had chosen to tell. The myths were classified by their provenience : we first had myths from the North of Chile, then the center, and finally, on the second day, Mapuche legends and from the Chiloe Island, in the south of Chile. Hence, it was an interdisciplinary project and the children would receive a mark for their work and play.

I chose to tell three myths : the foundation of Rome, the misadventure of Ulysses with Polyphemus and the metamorphosis of Arachne, as told by Ovid and translated by Janyce Desiderio from the latin. As the presentation was to be done in italian, Janyce was in charge of the camera (and she did it perfectly). Since the children had already some notions of Greek and Latin mythology, instead of doing our basic introduction to Classic culture, I asked the children what they knew about the Ancient Roman and Greeks, what they thought about telling stories, and why is it so important to preserve those stories, or to have a story to tell… Most of the answers given where really interesting.

At the end of the legend of Romulus and Remus, one of the pupils, maybe the most very participative in the 6B, Flavio, did a very good and clever remark, (although it was problematic from the mere point of view of chronology) : he compared the story with the Book of the Jungle (a child raised by wolves) and with an episode of the Ancient Testament, Moise (a child thrown into a river on a frail basket and saved by miracle). It was such a nice surprise!

the four stories told and acted by the pupils of the 6B were the following :

1) El Alicanto Catacama

2) Los Sobavanas de Pica

3) Juan Soldado

4) La Cueva

The tricks of Ulysses against of Polyphemus made the second class laugh, and we began to discuss together some notions of morality : which is the aim of this story? Who was wrong? What do we learn about the mistakes of each one of the protagonists? I could then introduce very briefly the notion of hybris, fundamental in the greek culture.

1) Make Make

2) Aku Aku

3) Carpancho

4) La Coca

In the third class, we discovered that they already knew the myth of Arachne, so I asked at the end, always about the hybris concept : what happens when humans defy the gods? Are the gods wiser than humans in greek mythology? The children were a bit shier than those in the previous classes

1) La Llorona

2) El Tué Tué

3) La Pincoya

4) El Trauco


Chile: to the South?

And now we’ve seen Peru, let’s discover Chile! We’ll be there until the beginning of November.

On our way to Santiago and Valparaiso, we might make a stop in the Atacama desert, to see these amazing landscapes. And when we get to the center of this long country, we’ll see if we have time to go South, to the Chiloe Island, or even more, to these little stars, down there, near Punta Arenas. And then, let’s go see what’s across the Pacific!