Web Spanish has two online Spanish teachers working for them in Tacna, Peru, a midsized city in southern Peru, close to the border with Chile. Tacna is located in hot, arid desert, and the sky reaches wonderful shades of blue. The city is interesting for a couple historical reasons: the region is rich with petroglyphs, and Tacna was a flash point in the war of independence with Spain, and more recently, toward the end of the 19th century, it was occupied by Chile for 50 years. It finally gained its independence from Chile in 1929, and to this day, Tacna retains close but strained ties with its neighbor to the south. Over 6,000 Chileans a day cross the border, drawn in part by Tacna´s free-trade zone, but the inevitable friendship and comfort that this level of interaction between the two nationalities produces, is mixed with memories of a bloody battlefield defeat on the plains outside of the city, and half a century of subjugation.
Our senior teacher in Tacna is Tania Salinas. Tania was part of the initial Web Spanish development team back in 2005-2006 and she wrote a lot of the early lessons. Her input helped shape the methodology we use today in our classes. She was also an early member of our curriculum development team. When she needed to move back to Tacna, we were thrilled that she would be able to continue working with us, since our distance education model allows for the teacher to teach anywhere in the world.
After having been back in Tacna for 4 years, she is now the mother of 3-year old Leo. She´s expanded Web Spanish, hiring and training another teacher, hiring and training another teacher, Deysi. Besides working part-time with Web Spanish, Tania also teaches high school social studies and literature. She invited me to come speak to her kids recently, which I enjoyed because it gave me a chance to listen to them. They were very curious about the world beyond their borders; I like to think that having Tania as their teacher has something to do with this.
Tacna, Peru… and beyond…
Highways sprout out of Tacna in every direction but west. One winds high into the Andes where it eventually traverses La Paz. And another leads north to town of Moquegua, which is nestled in hills that are nearly as dry as the desert below, but with spots of remarkable agriculture; it`s also copper country. I took a side-trip there, but that needs to be a post for another day. You need to get back to your Spanish studies.