Monthly Archives: July 2012

bello horizante.

on monday, we visited a volunteer finishing up his service in bello horizante, which is a smaller site with just under a thousand people. it was quite beautiful, as it was probably one of the greenest sites we saw on the entire trip and at the foot of some small mountains.

it was about a 30 minute combi ride, and as i was mindlessly looking out the combi window, another combi passed us, but this one in particular had two live sheep tied to the top and the sheep were lifting their heads bah-ing at us as they zoomed by. it was quite a funny experience.

at the school, i did a charla on self-identiy and self-esteem. i had them draw maps with chalk and they could take water and pour it on parts of the maps to symbolize that they didn’t have to carry the negatives with them or that the choices that they make now do affect their future.

the school where we taught.

class time.

the kid’s face on the far right is awesome.

drawing her map.

after lunch, we went for a small hike to some ancient ruins that are in the site. the view was incredible.

ancient burial grounds.






trujillo is the capitol city of la libertad. before going, everyone i had talked to in chaclacayo kept describing trujillo as the land of forever springtime and the place to buy shoes. both proved to be true. it is also where peru claimed its independence and where the first congress met. it used to be much larger than lima, so it contains a lot of history, and colorful, ornate buildings.

we stayed at the official peace corps approved hostel, which was close to the plaza de armas. it was in an old building, which was beautiful. our room faced out to the street, which was great during the day, but at night there were always parties at the church across the street, which proved to make falling asleep a bit challenging.

street view from my room.

street view from my room.

there was a club inside the hostel.

view from the hostel.

hostel décor.

because it makes sense to have a giant seahorse.

where the first congress of peru met, which is now a bank. my bank to be exact.

the church in the plaza de armas.

plaza de armas.

the ladies of my fbt group in the plaza.

the other view of the plaza de armas.

plaza de armas en la noche.

the trujillo municipality.

some ancient ruins in the middle of the city.

there were bees all over the city, and the nerd in me LOVED it.

just starting the day off with some pineapple juice.

i ate at this sandwich shop for three dinners straight. seriously, they were life changing (and cheap). i got the lechon one each time. their ahi verde was incredible. just everything about it was incredible. i will miss those sandwiches, more than one should.

ran into a peruvian mj.

our last day in trujillo i taught two classes at “el cultural,” which is one of the most renowned english teaching schools in the country and the best in la libertad. students come to learn on the weekends on top of their normal school schedule. i taught two classes in english on two topics: music and the art of complaining.

the music class was a lot of fun. i took them on a time continuum tour of who i decided were the most important musical artists of the last 60 years, which are all obvious: elvis, the beatles, michael jackson, madonna, new kids on the block and tupac, needless to say it was a blast for me.

for the class on the art of complaining, i had prepared some fun improv activities to show how and when to complain. but instead the class had already prepared questions for me. when i heard this, i assumed they would be questions about american culture, which is somewhat true. they instead asked me about our gun control policies, our problems in our educational system, and the lack of public health care. needless to say, i was left a little stunned. each question ended with, “what are your plans to help make needed changes?” i was left speechless each time, but adequately answered the questions and hopefully giving them a better understanding why america is quite slow to react sometimes or to make various changes. but the kids were more well-versed on american issues than most other americans, and it left me quite impressed. but i am still laughing about the whole situation. that is the best thing to do here. laugh.

field base training.

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!


i am riding the dolphin in the top left corner.

this week i received my regional assignment. youth development volunteers venture to two different regions in peru: the coasta and the sierra. i will likely be headed to the coast to spend the next two years. i am quite excited!

tomorrow evening i embark on an overnight 8-hour bus ride to la libertad for the week. my group and i will be staying in trujillo for my field-based training. while there, i will not be able to blog, but i will have a number of posts about the trip wihen i return.

also, i FINALLY received my cell phone! call me. maybe???

if you need me, i will be at the beach. chau.


all about business.

this is zach and connor. i tried to take a candid photo of them as they were both attentively paying attention to spanish class in the same lounging position. they help make language class as fun as possible.


yesterday, i had my third teaching practicum. i went to my host sister’s school. let’s just say the ease and comfort that i experienced during my last practicum quickly disappeared. it was a great experience, and honestly, compared to what i have heard other trainees had, my kids were angels. i had a lesson on planning for their future, and how it is important to develop a strong self-esteem and recognize your strengths.

honestly, yesterday was probably day that is a little more realistic to what i will experience in site. part of my work during training, includes the development of a youth group. when i talked to the director last week, he said to start my group today during an assigned class period in the evening for students. i was pumped, because it meant i was going to have a guaranteed group of students to work with. when i arrived at the scheduled time so that i could talk to the teacher before i began, i was greeted with a flood of students leaving the school grounds. apparently, the students were let go early today for teacher meeting. while inquiring about the changes, i began talking to a teacher who then asked our help with teaching the professors correct english pronunciation and starting classes for that. we struck a deal that we would help them with their pronunciation if they promote our clubs to their classes for us. an agreement was made.

on our way home, we stopped by the local post to see if we could use the facility for our future youth groups, while talking to the president, we learned that in order to have a youth group in our neighborhood we need to make a formal officio (read: government document) to submit to him, and then he will talk to his socios and hopefully gather the youth of my barrio for the group. hopefully this all works, and though multiple wrenches have been thrown in what began as such a simple plan and idea, i am glad that i am experiencing them. it is all a part of learning how the system works down here, and is giving me practice at talking to people on all levels in the community and how to submit formal documents that will need to do once i arrive in site. however, at the end of the day, i also find it incredibly comical.


family time at norkey’s!

yesterday, my family and i made a special outing to chosica for lunch. we got pollo a la brasa at a peruvian chain, norkey’s. honestly, it was fantastic. in fact, the food left for full for the rest of the night. while there, there were some clowns performing (peruvians love their clowns). in the background, i could hear them announcing that their clown friend “chooky” was going to join them…come to find out that what they were trying to say was “chuckie.” you know, from the horror film franchise that never ends? anyways, they had “chooky” (a kid in a clown costume wearing a “chuckie” mask) going around the restaurant handing out balloons to all the kids. surprisingly, i was the only person in the restaurant bothered by this…my family got a kick out of it though.


the best part was when they had chooky dance to los watchitorros (please see my la musica. post). i am telling you, they love that song here.

la musica.

i have been loving the music here lately. additionally, i am loving the dance moves here…particularly of my hermanito, victor. the other night, we spent the evening making up crazy dance moves and he totally one-upped me. check out his moves:

pardon my butchering of the spanish language, but i typically talk in weird voices with victor…yeah, i know it’s strange…BUT AWESOME. also, that is me butchering the beat to this totally awesome song:

other songs i have been loving:


this past weekend was my last weekend to myself for a couple of weekends. next saturday, we have a day of training in lima, and then we all hop onto different busses and head to different parts of the country for the week for field based training. so, after finishing a morning of hand-washing my clothing i opted to get out and explore. i have been really wanting to check out the mercado of chosica. mike and i headed out around lunch time, and you know, for it being such a large city, we ran into plenty of volunteers.

jesse, kyle and mike enjoying lunch.

the boys momentarily before entering the mercado with the lovely view of chosica behind them.

kyle and mike at the market.

the boys working their way through.

another market in the town…well these are the roofs of the other market…let’s just say that this market had the same smell as my grandpa’s pigeon barns. yum.

this country loves its statues.

we ventured to the town’s statue of jesus.

jesse and i.

not pictured:

  • my amazing new plaid, linen aladdin pants. i am seriously going to wear these suckers everyday…so i suppose they will be included in future pictures.
  • mike and i being stopped couple of times today to pose in other people’s pictures. ha.
  • i found a karaoke place that opened at 6 pm. mike and i walked in, and in his broken spanish mike said “i am going to drink a lot and she will sing a lot.” and then i straight up did back-to-back journey numbers in a completely packed bar of peruvians. back bends and all. i had others join me in my dancing, high-fives and declarations of love from other patrons. so if all else fails when i get to site, i will start a karaoke place or find one and build bridges from there. back up plan formed.

but really today was a blast. i got to do what i love. karaoke, baby.


a little different than the fnl in texas, but it was a nice relaxing evening last night. it was just a really busy and stressful week. we had our second school presentations, our youth clubs started, we had the independence day celebration, and our 4th week language interviews. needless to say, i welcomed friday with open arms.

after training, a big group of us headed to a local park where many played basketball, a few of us tossed the frisbee, and everyone just hung out and enjoyed not having training for a few days.

basketball crew.

brad and anel are always ready for their picture to be taken.

me, mike and andrea holding down the fort. also look closely and one of these things is not like the other…

a helpful hint. apparently, this week proved to be extra exhausting for sam.

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