Monthly Archives: November 2012

going the distance.

today i would like to note two things that made my heart melt while talking with m:

  1. that if m were here, he would accompany me to my twilight premiere that i am attending solo for the first time in the entire series.
  2. knowing the name of a bun that i am wanting to do for christmas.

now if that doesn’t make your heart melt, and make the distance disappear, then i don’t know what will. five weeks and counting…!!!

ps. for those of you who are pondering about the idea of pc and ld relationships. try it. it’s always worth a try. and with technology and the world being so small these days it’s quite feasible. if you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact me about this.

this just happened (twice).

well really the other happened earlier this week. i have been slaving away on this community diagnostic, and i feel like i have returned to finals week in college so many years ago as i try to work through this ridiculous document (which is really helpful and i am glad that the peace corps requires us to do one…so for all you future pcvs out there…i did not give it a bad rep…okay? OKAY?). ANYWAYS, twice this week i have had magical fruit surprise me at my door:

so i had literally just gotten out of the shower, but who would not be this excited about being greeted with a HUGE chunk of watermelon?!?!?!

and then…fast forward to today…as in 5 minutes ago…


needless to say, i needed to take a writing break to share the literal FRUITS of labor…or someone else’s labor in town…but the reward of my labor…and to think that earlier today i was thinking what a travesty that i have been so busy that i have almost gone a full week without mangoes…#tucumeproblems…

and this is just to show progress of my mango face…



i think i have hit that amount of time in site/service, where what is considered normal/appropriate conversation is no longer filtered before leaving my mouth. in the past 3 days i have noticed that i have become exponentially more awkward, and honestly, not for the better. this makes me hesitant to have any conversations with any normal human being.

1. on sunday i met with my country director at an event. he made a comment on how i appear to have lost weight (honestly, god bless him because i feel the opposite with all the starches and sugar i take in), to which i made a quick response without thinking, “thanks. i have just been enjoying the food here and EVERYTHING that comes with it.” i immediately did a face palm. we, as volunteers, are accustomed to our bowel problems and talking about it openly with each other. however, i would say sharing such information with your country director is a whole other story. after i made this overshare of a quip, he repeated the phrase slowly to himself to make sense of it, and then realized the undertone of the message and started laughing. i was red with embarrassment and quickly switched the subject to his family. woops.

2. last night was my town’s iñikuk. this is a native pageant that showcases the moche language and culture and as well as the girls’ talents as well. they were kind enough to showcase me as well. they gave me a formal introduction and had me stand up and the hundreds of people their applauded. this was the opposite of my preferred stay in invisible as much as a gringa can mentality. then i was asked to hand all the candidates their questions for the question and answer portion. the mc then started asking me a lot questions, to which he asked if texas was near mexico. i said yes, and also new mexico and oklahoma. why???? the mc was starting to chuckle a bit. my nerves, they just got to me. why would anyone find oklahoma relevant here (no offense) or even new mexico??? yet, i still used them as a point of reference while i had a lot of blank stares. i just wanted to run. but instead i tried to gracefully give the girls their question cards. also, i wish there was warning about my stage debut….i would have brushed my teeth or put on some makeup or something….

anyways, moral of the story is that i am awkward. i am embracing it. so should you.

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tis the season.

mango season. i cannot get enough of those guys. my family keeps telling me that in december there will be mangoes the size of my face. which to that i respond, i will then be called “mango face.”

unfortunately mango season also means mosquito season…and with that i begin covering my body in bug spray and start using that mosquito net of mine. womwomwommmmmmm.

(non)unsolved mystery.

lately at night i have been hearing these squeaky noises outside of my window and all throughout tucume. up until last night, i had assumed that it was either rats/mice or bats, and i was hopping for the latter. tonight i finally saw what was creating all the noise. apparently, at night, owls take tucume by storm.

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let’s talk about s-e-x.

the needed materials for a great sex ed charla.

as mentioned previously, i was asked to work on some sex ed charlas for the colegio. since i lack in the needed spanish language vocabulary for this, i had doris, my socia at the health post, take care of the technical stuff and i did all the dinamicas.

our icebreaker dinamica was a hit. new favorite icebreaker FOUND.

doris taking it away! such a super star.

in regards to the dianamicas i helped with changing up the feel for the charla, so it wasn’t just her lecturing about the consequences of adolescent pregnancy. we put questions in balloons and would pass the balloons around the classroom like hot potato and when the music stopped the kids had to pop the balloon and ask the question that was inside the balloon. this worked especially well since the kids are incredibly shy…relatively speaking.

i have had a number of people mention in the interviews that i had with them that adolescent pregnancy is a problem in tucume. in my surveys, it’s become quite apparent that the kids have little to no understanding of contraceptives, but have also been (thankfully) honest in stating that if the opportunity presented itself they would engage in sexual relations with their partner. honestly, the latter-half isn’t a surprise, as it is just as common in the us. it’s the preventative part that worries me. we didn’t have much time with the kids, but it was really important to me that we talk about contraceptives and to really think about the responsibility that comes with sexual activity. after the serious part of my soap box, i did what every teenager dreams of (but actually fears), i held a condom race!

really the point behind the race is to give an opportunity to all the students to hold, handle and practice using a condom (with a banana of course). this way the idea of using a condom is not a foreign idea…plus condoms are free at the health post…FREE. anyways, it’s also great because it relieves the pressure of practicing this in a room full of people as well.

giving some tips on how to apply the condom.

all-in-all, we taught this lesson to all the 4th years in secondaria…more than 125 students in total. hopefully it will help some students in their decision making process in regards to not only their sexual health but also their future.

one of the aulas.

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it came and went.

you guys. i know. i know. it’s been a while. i’m sorry. i wish i could say it was all because i was busy, which is probably about ¾ true, however it is also finding the time and patience to upload photos.

overall life is good. and busy. but good. i have been spending most of my free time working on my community diagnostic, which will ultimately be a very lengthy document about my community, which i will have written in spanish. needless to say, it takes up most of my energy and time. especially processing and analyzing all of my surveys. translation: a lot of tedious paperwork.

but here are some pictures and anecdotes about what filled my time when i wasn’t working on my diagnostic:


i attended peru 16’s despedida (a goodbye party for peru 16…to put into context i am peru 19). it was a lot of fun. we all learned the gangnam style dance and went around chiclayo and performed the dance.

practicing for our big debut.

dancing in the parque principal in the center of town in font of a crowd of people.

we went all around town and ended up getting a huge crowd and following. after, we went to ICPNA (the english school that is partnered with the us embassy) and there was a break dancing group that performed for us. after, we all got pizza, hung out at the hostel and then went out to a club and just danced the night away and into the morning. i have never been a going out person, but i have since found it to be quite a release of mounted up energy from being in site all the time.

hanging out at the hostel.

artesanos de tucume.

my friend, cinthia, asked me to help her take pictures of her and the other artisan’s products at the museum in lambayeque. their products are quite impressive and all made by hand and out of organic material. the materials are dyed using local, natural, organic resources and the women turn the organic cotton into the thread that is used to make the products. they are an incredible group of women who take their craft very seriously and i am so excited to be working with them and to learn more about all that they hope to achieve while i am here and help them realize their potential. i also helped them set up a facebook page, check it out here!!!!! (also, don’t forget to like it!) i am also grateful for the friendship of cinthia.

just an example of their style/color palette of their products.

an example of the silver working as well. also all made by hand.

getting around town. 

i finally got it. i have my own cruiser…a mountain bike that is. and to that end i am grateful. it has cut my travel time to the museum in half, and it is nice to get out and about and see more of the rural parts of tucume. i had my site visit today with my supervisors and people repeatedly made commentary about me and my bike…i guess they now know that i make good use of it…

my family got a kick out of me, my bike, my helmet and my camelback. samia seriously took an entire photo shoot of me on my bike.

speaking of samia and bicycles…in true bff form, as soon as i started speeding around town on my bike, samia decided that she wanted to start using her bike as well. i carried her bike all the way across town and to the outskirts to the grifo to use their air machine to fill her bike’s tires. then i carried it all the way home. we then spent the afternoon at the park, where i taught her to ride the bike. there is still training wheels, as i am teaching her how to pedal (she likes to pedal forward once and then pedal backwards a lot).

watch out tucume!

bike mongers.


fact, my second favorite holiday is halloween. luckily, my friend, casey, had a halloween parade and party planned with the youth leadership group in his site, patapo. i dressed as cat, and made ears out of my hair and drew a nose and whiskers on my face. little did i realize that this would ultimately result in me drawing cat nose and whiskers on 30+ teenage girls’ faces as well. needless to say, i am professional cat whisker drawer….don’t worry, i will be adding that to my resume.

all of the volunteers with the mayor of patapo.

stephen and i on the back of mototaxi. riding through town shouting happy halloween to everyone.

michelle and i at the halloween party. i was so exhausted that i am pretty sure i was passed out shortly after this photo was taken.

all of the volunteers at the party!

the day after.

the day following halloween was dio de los muertos for peru, which meant a federal holiday here. this meant that most of our families ventured to the cemeteries to pay homage to their lost loved ones. this also meant that none of us had anything really going on in our sites. so we decided to go up to changoyape and visit stephen and tina.

changoyape is right on the border of cajamarca and kind of where the sierra region begins. stephen gave us the grand tour and it was just breathtakingly beautiful there.

the volunteers visiting changoyape.

while we were getting the grand tour, i found an odd spiky looking fruit growing. so i did what any normal person would do, which was to break it open. i still couldn’t decide if it was edible or not, so i did the next most sensible thing: i walked over to the old man pulling guava from his tree and asked him if i could eat the fruit in my hands. while he was explaining that i should not eat the new found fruit, i realized that he was pulling guava for his pet monkey. let me repeat that for you: his pet MONKEY. needless to say i won the award for best find of the day.

dreams coming true!

oh you know. best friends just hanging out and being natural, you know.

before we left, the old man was super kind and took a long reed pole and pulled down some guava for us to take on the road with us.

starting to enjoy the fruits of our labor

for those of you who have never actually seen real guava. it looks like a giant pea pod, and you stick the giant seeds in your mouth, but you only eat the white part. then you spit the seeds, which are a little bigger than the size of a quarter.

tippy taps.

i am still going on caserio visits with vaso de leche, but now i am trying to work with the ladies on making tippy taps for their homes. water is not readily accessible and with tippy taps it will help them save and have accessible clean water to wash their hands. these are made by using household items that they already have lying around. a HUGE challenge with this is getting the ladies to bring their plastic bottles. but the good news is that plenty of cute kids still come!

mujeres jovenes.

i just love my mujeres jovenes. thursday nights we have our activity nights. every month has a value theme and the first week of every month we work on a personal progress experience within that value, and the other weeks we do fun activities. i only have 3 young women, but i hope that it slowly expands. right now the three that i do have are so incredible and have such amazing testimonies.

for the month of november, we are concentrating on knowledge. for last week’s activity, i brought a bag full of ingredients for a dessert. i turned it into an object lesson for the importance of directions and following those directions and seeking out knowledge and direction as well. then we made homemade whipped cream with strawberries. it was their first time to try whipped cream. it was an obvious success.

enjoying the fruits of their labor (budunching!)…

loving it!

as soon as their mom’s heard i was teaching them a dessert to make, they were quick to join as well. it’s true, food really is the way to the heart here.

honorable mentions.

not mentioned above but of note, is that i have been working on getting my world map realized for the past 6 weeks. it has been an exhausting going to the muni daily to follow-up in order to get things done. last monday ended with a frustrated erin in the park crying (a normal peace corps response…honest), and an equally frustrating one that i am currently addressing.

i have been working on the iñikuk pageant that is going on tonight. this has included multiple meetings and rehearsals for the girls.

i had my site visit today, and overall it was just fine. i just need to keep on trucking on with my diagnostic. guhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

i have started to work with the museum, and i am working on an environment club for this summer.

i am busy in the colegio doing charlas. i have done a number on self-esteem, including a fun activity with balloons. apparently it was a hit with the kids, as i was asked to come back to do the sex ed charlas. (read the sex ed charla to learn more on the outcome of this).

i voted. and then watched election night with all of the volunteers. it was a lot of fun and involved a lot chips and guacamole.

i think this more or less brings us up to date. hopefully i can keep up with this. whew. glad we made it through that one.

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