Monthly Archives: December 2012

march to the penguins.

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this past saturday some friends and i finally decided to see if the rumors were true…that there are penguins in puerto eten. being the great planners we are, we started our adventure by asking people where the combis were for puerto eten. why did you have to ask multiple people? wellllll….let’s just put it this way, we got about 10 different directions, so we slowly put it together. once we got there, we just started on a path on the beach. this was my first time to the ocean since being at site, and oh my goodness, it was needed…and i will probably start needing to frequent it.

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our path along the beach was, apparently, the path less traveled as we were going up and down a lot hills and cliff-sides  but i will say that it was probably the prettier of the two paths. we also made sure to be super safe in our adventures, ergo of course we climbed on the rocks!

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eventually, we reached a strange looking shack with bags around it with a penguin-looking symbol drawn on it. so we asked where the penguins were, to which the guy replied, “do not get any closer, there are dogs. and the penguins are at the bottom of the cliff.” so, we hurriedly made our way down the cliff. as it turns out there is an obnoxious green fence surrounding them, as they are an endangered species and they working on repopulating the breed. so, the view from above was great, and you could make out their outline on the ground. but the best part of this adventure was being the only three people on such a quiet beach. we ended up chasing some waves and just hanging out and getting sunburned from our fun in the sun. needless to say, it was a little day-cation…or really half-day-cation, but even that much made all the difference in the world.

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i will be back there in just a few short days. in less than two days my first visitor arrives and i could not be more excited. i am excited to share my day-to-day nuances with someone, have them meet my community, and i am just excited to spend some overdue time with them. so if you don’t mind. i think this is my sign-off until the new year. i hope your holidays are merry and bright. i know mine will be, and i will update you on all that happens between now and then, but for now i have a dream boat to attend to.

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crafting for christmas.

my goodness the christmas season is in full swing! only nine…NINE…quick (oh, i hope they are quick) days until mp gets here! and while there was reportedly some snow in texas on monday, the heat is getting turned up here in tucume…literally…it is extremely hot here, as in i am writing this and sweating…a lot…it’s not pretty…SOOOOO with that, we have begun to decorate my house for christmas! hurrah!

we got a christmas tree this year! first one!

we got a christmas tree this year! first one!

teaching samia how to make snowflakes!

teaching samia how to make snowflakes!

her response when she first opened a snowflake? "woooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!"

her response when she first opened a snowflake? “woooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!”

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reinita.

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samia was chosen as the queen of her class for her school’s anniversary. part of her duties included being featured in the parade, on the stage at the serrenata and dancing a few dances with her classmate. and you know what? she was a PERFECT little queen! so proud of her…

love the kid picking his nose on the left.

love the kid picking his nose on the left.

so serious.

so serious.

all the kids lined up and ready to go.

all the kids lined up and ready to go.

what a view!

what a view!

in the spotlight!

in the spotlight!

 

dance! dance! dance!

dance! dance! dance!

 

samia's traiditional dance.

samia’s traiditional dance.

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concurso.

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after the pasacalle, i went and joined a few artisan friends at a concurso of christmas artisan products. they entered their nativity scene…and guess what? THEY WON! woohoo! congrats ladies!

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vih/sida.

last week, after returning from almost two weeks out of site, i jumped right back into work! i started out by going with doris door-to-door doing mini charlas on vih and conducting hiv tests. we chose to go door-to-door because only women come to the health center, so the hope was that we would be able to catch some men to take the test. even though we were able to talk to men about the test, almost all still refused to take the test…another perfect example of the machismo culture…also they were normally the most fearful of the brief pain of the test…ha.

doris explaining vih.

doris explaining vih.

administering the rapid test. the test is quite simple...

administering the rapid test. the test is quite simple…

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during eist, the obstatrices gave a few charlas at the colegio and even included the dinamicas that i shared with them. as a way to celebrate the end of the charlas and testing week, we planned a pasacalle! peruvians love their pasacalles! in typical peruvian fashion the 8 am pasacalle didn’t start until 10 am, BUT it was still a success. tons of literature was distributed as well as condoms. hoorah!

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monica, doris and i post passacalle!

monica, doris and i post passacalle!

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six.

today marks exactly six months since i groggily arrived to the beautiful country of peru, after a very long flight that began with sitting on the tarmac in miami for 3 hours, after a night of next to no sleep. at that time, i had little to no idea what lie ahead, and you know what? i still don’t. that is the beauty of this experience. it is, above all else, an experience of discovery. not only about oneself, but about people and culture and learning to adapt, and help others adapt to a new view point. it really is about building a bridge between that cultural divide, between two very different life experiences to helpfully create a sustainable change for everyone’s future. though, i should add the caveat that it is far from easy.

being here for six months, i am still confronting cultural differences, and deciding if this is just something that i should become acostumbrar to or that it is actually a revealed opportunity for change. though, i will never acostumbrar to eating mayonaise, cow blood, hard-boiled eggs or chicken feet. nor to the whistling and constant harassment of a machismo culture. and i don’t think i will ever get used to people showing up HOURS late to a meeting. BUT i have gotten used to only have water a few times a day, carrying toilet paper with me everywhere i go, lack of air conditioning, showering 1-2 times a week, lack of toilet seats in the country, fitting 5 people on a 3 person combi seat, eating beef heart (seriously, love me some anticuchos), constant power outages, talking about one’s bowels movements as casually as you used to talk about the weather, greeting everyone you see on the street and receiving 20 phone calls from the same person until you answer your phone.

acostumbrar-ing and not acostumbrar-ing set aside, i do know that in such a short amount of time i have learned to love in a way that i didn’t know could be done before. loving people because of their patience with my lack in ability to communicate, and their passion for change in a community. i have also learned that you can love an entire community, without knowing every single person, because you so badly want to help them realize their full potential.

tucume, has become my home. i love my site. i love my community. i love my host family.

i am home.

eist.

there is not too much to report on this. i don’t think it is a secret to everyone that i am one of the few people where training is not my favorite part of my experience. however, i did welcome the opportunity to partake in some pinkberry and get to stay with my host family in lima again.

it was especially nice to spend time with my lima host family, because my language has improved so much and i was able to understand and communicate with them so much better. it was such a tender-delight. i love my lima family with all my heart, and i cannot wait to see them again in just one quick month!

the main church in trujillo.

the main church in trujillo.

for the second half of training i went to trujillo. i spent all week with the gripe (cold), and so my energy wasn’t there to explore. however i did get to have an all-american night where i partook of papa john’s, pinkberry and even went to go see twilight…AGAIN…but this time it was dubbed in spanish…but you know what? it was just as good.

 

we found a christmas tree at the mall. merry christmas y'all!

we found a christmas tree at the mall. merry christmas y’all!

anyways, i finally returned home yesterday afternoon after a long regional meeting. my heart is overjoyed to be back in site. all the worries that it started to experience the week before were placated, and my since of purpose in stie has been strengthened. i think i experience the opposite of volunteers…where the majority experience their doubts while in site and then go to training and are rejuvenated, whereas i am the opposite, and being in site gives me the strength and excitement and purpose and reminds me why i am in service. it was also a nice treat to experience all the saludos after i returned, as i learned that my town actually missed me. woohoo for integration!

 

gocta falls.

gocta falls is the third largest waterfall in the world and was only discovered a little more than ten years ago. pause and ponder about how incredible that is…considering how small the world we live in today and that so much of it is only now being discovered…wow…

anyways, it was quite the adventure out there. it was a 30 minute drive to a town. once you get to the town, you must take a local guide with you, and you proceed to begin your 4.5 mile hike each way (taking 2 ½ – 3 hours each way), where you hike up and down 2 ½ mountain sides to get to the base of the falls. you do have the option to take a horse for 25 soles…which i highly recommend….in fact, you are crazy, like me, not to. the hike back was probably one of the more challenging hikes i have even done, but every bit of it was worth it. to put it into the perspective, there were probably 25 people in our group. only one started on a horse…the pregnant lady. half-way through the hike to the falls, there was a chance to request a horse for the way back for 20 soles…at that point 20 people were requesting horses…

on the hike you will see plenty of toucans, and if you are lucky you will get to see some monkeys…and if you are not lucky, you will see a puma. i only saw toucans, which was more than what most other people saw. and even though i just about died while hiking, i can easily say that this place was one of the most beautiful, majestic places i have ever seen.

the view on the drive out to the falls

the view on the drive out to the falls.

view of the falls from the town where we started the hike.

view of the falls from the town where we started the hike.

view while hiking....there are going to be a lot of pictures of waterfalls in this post....not apologizing...

view while hiking….there are going to be a lot of pictures of waterfalls in this post….not apologizing…

white orchid.

white orchid.

our first uphill hike of the day...this uphill lasted a good 25 minutes...

our first uphill hike of the day…this uphill lasted a good 25 minutes…

the view of the town where we started from...

the view of the town where we started from…

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i was there.

i was there.

sunburned from the day before, and my legs still itch from the mosquito bites...

sunburned from the day before, and my legs still itch from the mosquito bites…

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a really awesome-looking mushroom.

a really awesome-looking mushroom.

when we finally were able to see the base, but no longer the top half of the falls.

when we finally were able to see the base, but no longer the top half of the falls.

i did what any normal person would do after hiking in hot, hot heat for 3 hours to the waterfall: i rushed to climb and swim underneath it...duh...

i did what any normal person would do after hiking in hot, hot heat for 3 hours to the waterfall: i rushed to climb and swim underneath it…duh…

don't worry mom, i was being careful...ish...carefulish...

don’t worry mom, i was being careful…ish…carefulish…

way off in the distance, you can see two pale-people spots directly underneath the waterfall...the one on the left is me...the power of the water was incredible.

way off in the distance, you can see two pale-people spots directly underneath the waterfall…the one on the left is me…the power of the water was incredible.

i could not get over the folds.

i could not get over the folds.

the green was absolutely breathtaking.

the green was absolutely breathtaking.

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some awesome-looking beetles.

some awesome-looking beetles.

what i should have taken...no regrets...

what i should have taken…no regrets…

right before i hiked 1 hour straight uphill...nbd...(i obviously had no idea what i was about to encounter...).

right before i hiked 1 hour straight uphill…nbd…(i obviously had no idea what i was about to encounter…).

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kuelap.

warning: there are a ridiculous amount of pictures in this post…it was just too hard to not share all of these…also, i live in the flat, brown desert, so the green mountainside just captivated me.

for our first day in chacha, we took a tour to kuelap, which is an ancient incan fortress about 2 hours outside of chachapoyas.

view from the car ride.

view from the car ride.

behind me are some more ruins where people had created homes inside of the mountain.

behind me are some more ruins where people had created homes inside of the mountain.

more scenery.

more scenery.

the fortress from below, before we started our hike. historians have concluded that if the incans had made kuelap their center capital, then the spaniards would not have been able to conquer them and history would have been forever changed...

the fortress from below, before we started our hike. historians have concluded that if the incans had made kuelap their center capital, then the spaniards would not have been able to conquer them and history would have been forever changed…

entering the park...

entering the park…

zack, robert and i right outside of the ruins.

zack, robert and i right outside of the ruins.

more of the incredible view.

more of the incredible view.

one of the three entrances into the three-level fortress.

one of the three entrances into the three-level fortress.

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you can see where it's raining.

you can see where it’s raining.

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hiking up the entrance to the first level. i am convinced that the incans had to have incredible legs....

hiking up the entrance to the first level. i am convinced that the incans had to have incredible legs….

the crew with some of the ruins and the incredible view.

the crew with some of the ruins and the incredible view.

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robert's dream pose.

robert’s dream pose.

pretending to lose my balance and fall...or that is exactly what is happening...that is up to you to decide....

pretending to lose my balance and fall…or that is exactly what is happening…that is up to you to decide….

a tiny cottage LITERALLY in the middle of nowhere.

a tiny cottage LITERALLY in the middle of nowhere.

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this picture seems pretty accurate.

this picture seems pretty accurate.

i was there.

i was there.

the incans buried themselves in the walls there. not creepy or anything...

the incans buried themselves in the walls there. not creepy or anything…

the three lines mean: god of the heavens, god of the earth, god of the underworld.

the three lines mean: god of the heavens, god of the earth, god of the underworld.

one of the kitchens...the line of the rocks on the right are thought to be where they stored their cuys (guina pigs).

one of the kitchens…the line of the rocks on the right are thought to be where they stored their cuys (guinea pigs).

 

eye of the puma.

eye of the puma.

sepent and eye of the crocodile.

sepent and eye of the crocodile.

it was said that more than 3,000 people lived in this fortress. also, loved that there were llamas EVERYWHERE.

it was said that more than 3,000 people lived in this fortress. also, loved that there were llamas EVERYWHERE.

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a mochika face.

a mochika face.

some pato (duck).

some pato (duck).

the crew with the the bottle-shaped "great temple."

the crew with the the bottle-shaped “great temple.”

the exit...nbd...

the exit…nbd…

robert making the hike down.

robert making the hike down.

the most breath-taking exit i have ever encountered.

the most breath-taking exit i have ever encountered.

the hike back.

the hike back.

 

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