Category Archives: church


the jovencitas on their way to lambayeque.

the jovencitas on their way to lambayeque.

generally speaking, young women stay in their houses most of the day, helping with chores and taking care of small siblings or nieces and nephews. so basically, the girls were really happy to have a day outside the house…without their parents! since it is too hot here to camp, there was a smal campeonata, in lambayeque that i took the young women to. we played volleyball and soccer in the morning and they were able to get to know other young women in the department of lambayeque. it was a pretty small turnout, about 10 girls in total, since my district only include the pueblos, BUT it still was a lot of fun!

the girls practicing their volley skills.

the girls practicing their volley skills.

my first counselor, andrea, has the most adorable 1-year-old daughter. andrea is 19 and a recent convert to the church, and she is such a natural at connecting with the girls.

my first counselor, andrea, has the most adorable 1-year-old daughter. andrea is 19 and a recent convert to the church, and she is such a natural at connecting with the girls.

mochumi! represent!

mochumi! represent!


since the activity ended earlier than we had all planned, and it was ridiculously hot outside, i treated the girls to some raspadillas. basically, snowcones with homemade syrups and the shaved ice is done by hand from blocks of ice.

since the activity ended earlier than we had all planned, and it was ridiculously hot outside, i treated the girls to some raspadillas. basically, snowcones with homemade syrups and the shaved ice is done by hand from blocks of ice.

the girls with their raspadillas. all and all, we had a really fun day!

the girls with their raspadillas. all and all, we had a really fun day!

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the november personal progress theme was knowledge, so i had the young women make pompoms for the scriptures and books. i bought yarn in all the favorite colors of the girls and we had a delight making pompoms!

hard at work!

hard at work!

finished products!

finished products!

unrelated note: we had zone conference, where all the branches in the zone attended in lambayeque. i loved that our tiny, little branch could fit in one combi. ha.


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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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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.


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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that’s it. i am fully and unequivocally convinced that karaoke builds culturally bridges that would not be there otherwise. for my branch’s friday night activity last week, we did karaoke. given that i am sole non-peruvian in my branch, and gringa to top that, they downloaded Justin beiber’s “baby, baby” for me to sing.

though, i have heard this song plenty of times in the past, it was the first time i ever sang it aloud, let along by myself at karaoke. the good news is that peruvians love the beib’s, so everyone sang along to the chorus with me…including the branch president. and even through i was far from getting the other parts of the song right, i figured, “who cares? i am the only one who knows what i am saying and that i am getting it all wrong anyways…”

this evening also included my favorite moment thus far in peru. my branch building is in a town called, mochumi, about 5.5k from my town to be exact. it ended at 10, which was a little too late for me to be taking the combi by myself and walking alone on the streets. a member offered to give me a ride home on his mototaxi. as we drove back with the stars clearly lit above us and the blue moon, and i was accompanied by the branch president, three new lady friends, and their kids. the owner of the moto and his wife riding next to him in the front. there was an overwhelming feeling of joy. of untainted, euphoric happiness. it left me in tears.


my church building.

when i was taking my first combi to site, my combi drove by the building i would be attending church in. actually, when it drove by they were putting up the church sign that day, which explains why i couldn’t find it during my site visit. anyways, the following week i ran into the missionaries who were tracting in tucume that day, and asked them what time church was at…3 pm…needless to say, i was less than enthralled about the time.

that following sunday, i came to realize the time was perfect for me, because after all, what do i have going on that i need to be done with church so early in the day? that and i was able to get a lot small house chores done, as i try to give space to my family on saturdays to complete their chores without getting in their way.

i then boarded my combi to arrive to my new branch for the next two years. i entered into the chapel through a door about half my size in height. it is a brand new branch, only 7 months old. i believe that there are a total of 25 people on record, but there was only 16-17 people at church, including the missionaries and the kids. it is the complete opposite of any ward i have ever known, but i think it will be the perfect fit for me.

due to the size, there’s only 2 hours of church services, and due to the fact that most people at church are either very new members within the last 2 years or visitors, the second hour is solely a gospel principles class. the sacrament meeting was the exact same structure, which will leave me to wonder how long until i have to give my first talk or even how many talks am i going to have to give? i say that, only because i am positive that it is a quick rotation.

though the ward might be small in number, just during that one sunday, there was so much love filling the chapel. it truly is a little family that really looks out for one another, and the love that the members have for the gospel is so strong and unwavering. to be frank, a branch this size and new is a perfect for me, because it is such a nice breath of fresh air. i get to concentrate and reaffirm my testimony in the gospel essentials and not have it be convoluted with so many outside/inside politics by members and the church. i consider myself lucky with this. and hopefully, i don’t take it for granted.

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