Monthly Archives: October 2012

bffs.

singing our rendition of our favorite peruvian hit, “lejos de ti.”

ps. i will update you more on the happenings…eventually…sorry guys, i am elbow deep in this diagnostic business…

pps. only seven weeks until i get my first visitor…and it will be quite the visitor, indeed!

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wedding bells.

last week my host sister, angelica (who i met just days before the wedding), got married! her and jorge had a delightful religious ceremony in the main church in the plaza. then we went to a reception hall for an all night party. i ended up coming home around 2 am, which was way earlier than the 5 am arrival for the rest of my family. the next day was followed by another all day/night party with the extended family. over all it was great. a lot of dancing and a lot of food. i am still full from last week/the wedding from last night.

samia sandwiches making sandwiches.

my host sisters (jenny, angelica and karen) with jorge and samia.

i got squeezed into a photo as well.

the newly weds ready to get this party started.

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late(leigh).

oh hey! long time no see! sorry for the hiatus, especially after such a bleak one. i suppose i should update you on the activities that i have been up to. though up until last week, my work had been slow, i was still going out daily and working on charlas and encuestas with the ladies at vaso de leche.

doing my diagnostic in cruz blanca.

more encuestas being completed!

i also went to mocupe to help another volunteer with an event she planned with her school: an english singing competition! it was great. all the kids had planned a song to sing as a group and even choreographed and coordinated matching clothes. it made for a delightful afternoon. after which, i stopped into to chiclayo for some dinner on my way back, where i learned that there is a place that serves RIBS! obviously, it didn’t beat texas, but it will hold me over when i have my real red meat cravings.

phil, hallie and i served as the judges panel. too much pressure if you ask me. who wants to crush a child’s dream?

these girls were performing “wake me up when september ends” by green day. they even had a group of fans with balloons and posters.

my weekends here somehow always end up being way busier than the weekdays, which goes to show that peace corps really is a 24/7 job. a couple of weekends ago i was invited to a friend’s grandfather’s 80th birthday out in la ramada, which is a caserio in the sierra for salas. it was my first time to the sierra since being in peru, and it was breathtakingly beautiful. peruvians are marathoners of parties. this party started at 7:30 am and was still happening when we left at 8:30 pm. needless to say, that by the end of the day of eating, hiking, dehydrating, dancing and speaking only in spanish all day…i was exhausted!

la ramada, salas.

we went on a couple of hikes through miguel’s family’s land, which led us to a couple of rivers. while hiking through the lush, dense land we happened upon a lot of beautiful flowers, fruits and more.

this is the plant that they use to create the reed islands and kayaks.

banana tree.

 

this is when i felt like i was on an episode of LOST.

while hiking i tried a lemon dulce from its tree. it looked just like a lemon and smelled like one too. i thought my friend was trying to prank me, but instead it was just pure deliciousness. it seriously tasted like lemonade in whole-fruit form.

a view from one of points of the river we hiked to.

 

an ancient moche lunar calendar we happened upon while hiking.

 

the birthday boy. eighty years young!

this guy was great. he would come up say every single word he knew in english to me in one breath. i then realized what i sounded like when i spoke spanish. but really, he was just a hoot.

i also helped with a nationwide fundraiser in my town, called teleton, where my town had a 2-day event in the central park. the schools all performed different traditional dances, with some kids performing some solo numbers. it was quite a treat! and quite an eight-hour work day!

a performance and our booth in front of the muni.

i also took a much needed break and met up with some friends for some karaoke. if you know me, this is the best form of self-therapy (after bowling of course) for me, and turns out the place we went to had tons of country! i am not just talking about pop-country, but i mean REAL country (george strait, waylon jennings)!!!! needless to say, my fellow texan and i performed plenty of country songs with a number of “yee-haw’s!” to boot. we were far from the karaoke bars favorite customers, but at least we felt a little piece of home here in peru.

as i had hoped/predicted the eighth week was much busier. the huelga with the schools lifted, so now the kids are in school six days a week to make up for the lost time. my socia at the health post is back from her month-long vacation and people in my town are finally starting to recognize the only gringa in town. i forgot to have my camera with me to prove my activities, but i was back with partnering with the health post on charlas. i did a fun self-esteem one with balloons. it was a hit.

i also did a mini intro-session/charla of the peace corps to some business-owner friends. i have started to do some initial stages of planning with the police. i met with an artisan and plan on working with her artisan group and help them establish an internet presence and other marketing ideas. i went to an event out in morrope the other day with another volunteer, terrace. we hitched a ride back from the caserios in an enormous dump truck. while the fellow was out of the truck trying to take care of something, we replaced his cumbia cd with a cd that terrace made of herself singing environmental verses in spanish to the tunes of hit american pop songs. all i can say, is that he will be delightfully surprised when he next turns on his stereo. i mailed my early-voting ballot in. i have been eating CHIPS AND SALSA…chips and salsa, people!!!! i attended another wedding last night and took my place as the token gringa dancing the night away with all the old men.

of course there are still plenty of challenges to come: por ejemplo, my socia at the health post is going on an indefinite huelga starting this wednesday. but i will take a week full of positives for now.

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seventh week itch.

not literally, but can you believe it? monday will mark the beginning of my 8th week in site. the completion of two solid months in site.

most people say seven is their lucky number, but i have found with other volunteers in peru 19, week seven proved to be quite difficult. though there is excitement about this landmark, there is also the realization that all those frustrations that you easily cast aside when you first arrived still exist. people still stand you up for meetings (four times this last week). when they are need of something, they ask you in a whining inflection, which makes you wonder if you accidentally turned the invitation down somehow before they even asked. your digestive system still hasn’t figured out how to deal with peru. those huelgas are still going strong (for a month now). people still don’t like to open the windows on the overcrowded combi rides to allow air to flow through the van.  when you reply that you have a boyfriend waiting for you in the states, they still ask you if you have one in peru yet. this is also a tricky point in service, where we should be 2/3 through our diagnostic, but it seems a bit piecemeal, and we have no concrete projects with results to show for ourselves. and how could i forget, we have all the time in the world left to ourselves…alone in our site…which we are still getting accustomed to, and everything we know and love seems so far away.

now, to keep this post from being a complete downer. the good news is that though the friendships and relationships we are making among ourselves are all relatively new, there is an incredible bond that forms between the volunteers because we know. we know all those emotions the other is feeling. the frustrations. the excitement. the highs. the lows. also, i think it’s great to mention that you learn to even recognize the smallest blessings and wins during the week. for example: i was stood up a third time this week. defeated, i decided to read in the park to pass the time until the neighboring volunteer, phil, arrived for lunch (i had 90 minutes). as i was waiting, i was engaged in a conversation with the police chief and one of the local radio owners. the latter wants to interview me for his program. the former took me to the police station, and introduced me to all the staff, showed me their soccer court, and shared that they have a vested interest in creating more programs targeted at the youth of my town. i almost wanted to jump up and hug him.

anyways, i am currently sitting at a particular point that right now seems a bit disappointing, or really feels like there is nothing to share…BUT i know, so badly i know (or maybe it’s hope), that it is on the cusp of something great. sometimes you need these moments to help you recognize and appreciate the great things to come.

week 8 already sounds promising. the education huelga finally lifted. so now my four schools will finally be open…which means…ACCESS TO THE YOUTH FOR MY DIAGNOSTIC!!!!

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