Monthly Archives: September 2012

you win some. you lose some.

win: your combi driver gave you curbside service to the serpost today. saving you 2 soles (1.50 if you feel like haggling) in moto taxi fair.

lose: the same combi driver (who is missing half of his teeth) creepily harassing you, so you lie about not having a phone and just write down his number. oh, he also charges you S/. 1.50 instead of just S/. 1.

win: little kid at the park excitedly screams, “GRIIIIIINGGGGAAAAAAA.” because it’s cute win a 3-year-old does it.

lose: 2 creepy older men sitting in the same park, wave their hands in the air and are cat-calling you.

win: there are also plenty of moto taxis in your town to drive you where ever your heart desires.

lose: because you are white, they all think you want to go to the museum. seriously, one month of walking by them everyday and they are still asking, “museo! gringa, museo?” seriously, you don’t recognize me yet? there are not a lot gringas in town.

it’s good that all of these things make me laugh. both the good and the bad. because otherwise, it wouldn’t be peace corps.



so, since my event was canceled, i took my one beehive to the zone beehive/deacon activity today. i also brought my counselor, andrea. she was baptized just over a month ago. she’s 19 and has the cutest little one. my hope is helping her learn the reigns of the yw program, so that when i leave she will be able to continue the program with ease.

anyways, the zone includes all of the department of lambayeque. we had a delightful day of the kids performing sketches based on the values in the “for the strength of youth” manual.



sangre. an important word that i should have known. a word that because i didn’t know, left me feeling ill. a word that proved that sometimes what you eat really is mind over matter.

vaso de leche had a training meeting for the chapter presidents who also do commodores populares (a small-scale soup kitchen-esque type program). they were teaching a great/easy/tasty/healthy snacks for kids and adults, with the key ingredient being sangre. again. the keyword that i did not know.

i arrived, and the meeting started 2 ½ hours late. when i walked in, i glanced over at the table and saw a paint bucket full of red liquid. it looked like watered-down red paint, and i thought to myself, “wow, i guess peruvians really do add water to their paint.” (my host mom and i had a discussion about this last week).

then later, once we started the activity, they poured the red liquid into a blender. again, i didn’t think to much of it. peruvians are quite resourceful with their items, and so i figured they needed to further blend this new fruit/veggie that i had never heard of. this is also plausible, because there are a number of foods here that are entirely new here, and are not served in their natural form (e.g. maracuya).

the part the stuck out as weird was that we then boiled this liquid, which in my mind really confirmed that this must be a liquefied vegetable. the part that was truly strange was that the red vegetable turned brown once cooked. we then cut up more veggies and fried them in pattie form for croquettes, which were quite tasty. i was taking a lot of notes, because it seemed like a dish that i could refine and make back in the states.

after, we took the left over cooked sangre that was not used for the croquettes, and put it in the blender with vanilla, cookies and, of course, sugar, and made a really tasty mousse. i was about 2/3 of the way through my mousse, savoring ever bite, when i finally asked what the significance for sangre was…biggest mistake i could have made that day.

it was then explained to me that it cow blood, and very nutritious and helps with anemia. well, there went my appetite. it truly was an occasion, where not knowing would have been in my best interest. my stomach did not settle well for the rest of the night, purely because my brain was freaked out. in fact, it still gets a little tussled with the thought.

but seriously, who makes a dessert with cow blood?

oh well, peace corps, right?

ps. did i mention that i picked out a live maggot out of my salad this week? don’t worry, i didn’t eat it…at least that one…




well. i couldn’t think of a more fitting title. one thing about peace corps is that you have amazing weeks, and other weeks you don’t. some weeks you feel like you making a lot of forward-moving steps in your community…and other weeks, it’s the opposite. and perhaps, this week was not the best week, but the good news is that there will be better weeks.

my diagnostic was practically halted this week, and a new strategy will be employed next week. for the past 2 ½ weeks there has been a teacher strike in peru…indefinitely. i have been told that the last one lasted 2 months, and commentary on the news has revealed that there have been high tensions in lima about the strike and is thought that this one could potentially last until december (when school is let out for summer). also this week, a medical strike began as well…also indefinitely. this means all doctors, nurses, etc. are on strike. this also means my health post is on strike.


i was greeted to a meeting with a locked door. tis the story of my life this week.

today i was supposed to have my first event that i was planning, which had to be canceled due to the aforementioned strikes. i suppose it was just a disappointment, due to the fact that it was my first planned event in my town with my help, and it didn’t come to fruition. however, the good news, is that i have two years to have more events in my town.

so this weekend/first half of this week is going to be spent re-strategizing on how to find the youth, and start projects that can draw the kids to do something while they have some extra time on their hands…


keep the mercado day holy.

there are lot of low hanging tarps there, even i have to duck while walking through.

during my walks to the carraterra to catch a combi on sunday, i walk through the market, which is exponentially large on sundays, with much more people. this must be the day that everyone comes in from the caserios as well. additionally there is another two story building on top of the 3 blocks of the outdoor part of the market.

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i have been in site for a month, and i have been able to make plenty of friends, and some unwelcomed acquaintances (still avoiding those never-ceasing phone calls), but i have been lucky to find a partner is crime. meet samia:

samia. my 4-year-old host niece. this is after i got her to calm down about traumatically meeting mickey and pooh.

as she is learning her colors and numbers in spanish, i am working at teaching her all the english words. i also play other ridiculous games with her, and we know all of our likes and dislikes.



everyday, she comes home from school and runs into my room to say hello. then 30 minutes later she returns to ask if i will eat lunch with her. and everyday i respond with an excited, “of course i will eat lunch with you!!!” she also just acquired a miniature tea cup and saucer just like mine. my host mom told me that when she saw it at the store, she just kept saying “like, erin! like, erin!” needless to say, we are pretty fond of each other.


samia at lunch the other day.

speaking of lunch, i had the most incredible lunch the other day:

notice the absence of rice??? and look at all those COLORS!!!!!!

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we always need a celebration.

that’s it. i am convinced that tucume loves a party…but really where in peru (or better yet, the world) does not? anyways, my town acquired two new dump trucks and motorcycles, and we celebrated it.

a very riveting presentation.

after the presentation, they had a procession of all the vehicles owned by the municipality, which proved to be quite an impressive collection.

the procession headed down my street. the yellow building on the left is my house. and you can see my host sister looking out the window.

can tucume build it? you better believe it.

the crowd exponentially increased with the procession, and they were eager to see the new dump trucks.

along with the increase in crowd, came a number of traditional dance performances and clowns…including mickey and pooh! and later on in the day there was a live band with, of course, TONS of dancing.

samia loves mickey and pooh. so did what any good auntie would do, i went home to fetch her to come meet them. it was too cute. she got all dressed in her sunday dress and shoes, and we excitedly walked to the park. however, she reacted the way most 4-year-olds would react when meeting you favorite cartoon characters…with tears full of fears. fail on my part. it’s like when you take a small child to see santa…some things are best left to their imagination. but can’t the same thing be said about adults as well?

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mi rama.

this is my branch after playing a riveting game of musical chairs. and that’s how i spend my friday nights.

so i guess as brief filler information, i have been called as the young women’s president in my branch. this means i work with the girls between the ages of 12-18…all two of them. i plan an activity for the girls during the week, and on sunday do a lesson for all youth program aged kids…in total there are 3…yes, that means there is only one guy. i had my first activity last week with them, and in peruvian fashion it started 40 minutes late. also, somehow my activity for the ladies turned into an activity for the youth, so the two i was planning for expanded to ten more kids. (not complaining). good thing my activity was more of an ice breaker activity where they had to get oreo’s from their foreheads into their mouths without using their hands. i think they enjoyed it…

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living quarters.

finally. i finished painting and organizing my room. see?

this is the entrance to my room. (yawn).

this is on the same gray wall in the above picture. some clothes, and i use cut-in-half used water jugs to organize my items. to the right, i have my permanent water jug, which i fill right now with water that i buy in town, but once i figure out how to install my water filter i will just be able to drink from the tap. also next to my water bin is my mercado bag, and, of course, my trusty peace corps med kit.

i think this is more than obvious. i decided to save some money and not buy a blanket and just my sleeping bag as a comforter, since soon it will be too hot to even use a sheet. also the red and green bins below my bed are my laundry bins, as in the bins i do my laundry in. that’s right, i can do my laundry by hand now (be impressed).

i painted the hooks to match the paint in my room. (nerd alert).

desk/work area and my other organizer case.

there you have it. it only took four weeks, but i thought i would finally get around to unpacking and setting in…you know stay for a while.

at the drive-in.


tuesday night was an important night for peru. it had it’s world cup qualifying game against argentina. the municipality set up the projector and screen and showed it at the park for everyone in town, which quickly because peru’s version of a drive-in theatre…full of moto-taxis. seriously, every moto-taxi in town was there, and pretty much everyone else in town too. too bad the game ended in a draw.

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