this past week i traveled to la libertad for the week for field based training. as much as it would be nice to say it was a nice, relaxing trip, that would be a far cry from the trip. today (sunday) is my first day off from training for about two weeks straight. before catching our bus to la libertad, we spent the day in lima visiting the la victoria district. it is one of the most crime-ridden places in all of lima. we were instructed to not bring any of belongings or even wear jewelry to this area of town.
upon stepping off of our chartered combi, my senses were overwhelmed with all that was surrounding me. we began in the fabric portion of the district, and there were 5+ story high buildings with mannequins hanging off all the balconies, either for sale or displaying the clothing that was for sale. we then entered in to a massive produce market. it was at the very least the size of a football field, with each row being categorized by the type of produce being sold. the food was incredibly cheap and the aromas from the food were tantalizing.
we then arrived to the “los ecurdores de las calles,” which provided a safe space for the kids that either accompanied their parents or worked in the market. i talked with one 14-year-old girl that left her house everyday at 3am in order to arrive to work at the market at 5am. she obviously does not have a chance for an education or life outside this market, but the ministry of education of peru has been working hard at helping provide non-formal education opportunities for these youth, which is why this center is at the market. this trip proved to be an eye-opening experience of all the work that exists in peru.
after spending half the day in the market, we experienced the polar opposite of la victoria, by going to the jockey plaza in lima, as it was close to our lima training center in surco. imagine every high-end store in existence in one place and that is jockey plaza. my fbt group then caught cabs to catch our overnight bus to la libertad. it is an 8 hour bus ride. we were lucky enough to ride vip there, but on our return trip to lima we rode super vip! this ment we had cama-camas (basically our chairs flatten out to a real bed). seriously, not a bad way to travel. the following posts will highlight all the places i visited in la libertad and the activities in each location.
overall, i ended up teaching nine charlas. needless to say, i have been left drained, but overall had a great visit. it has made my peace corps service more tangible and made me even more excited and grateful to be in peru. four more weeks of training!