Category Archives: happenings

filtered.

i think this is the point where i put a shameless plug for my amazing water filter. after my mid-service med-checks last week, i can officially announce that i am parasite free. that means i have made it 15 months of service sans parasite! which doesn’t explain everything else, but it does mean that my water filter is amazingly resilient…even after it had been cracked due to a couple of fateful falls onto concrete floor.

anyways. if you are looking for an amazing water filter, that will last forever…that’s the one!

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chaparri!

a couple of weeks ago, i received a last minute phone call from my friend, tina, who asked ali and i to join the ministerio de turismo at chaparri…all expenses paid. of course i knew better than to say no, and freely offered my help as they were looking for gringos to use in new promotional materials they are making for the ministerio de turismo.

chaparri is a nature reserve about 90 minutes from chiclayo and generally speaking is quite expensive to reach because of its remoteness. however, the reserve is famous to bird watchers and animal lovers around the world. it has partnerships with zoos in france and london, and pumas, foxes, wild hogs and the endangered spectacled bear…and of course countless species of birds. here are some of my favorite shots from the day:

letting us know we were headed in the right direction.

letting us know we were headed in the right direction.

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tree sap.

tree sap.

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enjoying the scenery!

enjoying the scenery!

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we thought we heard a cat...surprise!

we thought we heard a cat…surprise!

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the osos!!!

the osos!!!

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the photographer and bear getting personal.

the photographer and bear getting personal.

scratching his back (or) striking a pose? you decide.

scratching his back (or) striking a pose? you decide.

the bears were checking out the aerial camera.

the bears were checking out the aerial camera.

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ali getting photographed.

ali getting photographed.

just hanging out with a cobra...nbd...

just hanging out with a cobra…nbd…

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stepping inside the shaman's office.

stepping inside the shaman’s office.

the whole crew!

the whole crew!

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welp.

today is the first day back to school after the two week mid-year break!!! woohoo! oh wait, there’s a swine flu outbreak? so school should be canceled for the entire week? okay. if you say so.

am i surprised? nope. at least i still have a few other meetings and projects happening at the same moment…

also, i think it should be noted that i think it shows how integrated i am as a volunteer that i am quite excited for the count of monte cristo to finish downloading. not just because of the movie, but because it’s my monday night plans that i have made for myself…and i am super excited to watch this movie for the first time, especially since i just finished the book last week!

ps. the book is awesome! it is a must-read!

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camp access.

(or) the time my face and arms got covered by bed bug bites.

the campers and their fearless volunteer leaders!

the campers and their fearless volunteer leaders!

this past week, i spent all week at el tambo with icpna and 4 other volunteers participating in camp access, an english immersion camp for 40 scholarship-sponsored students from cajamarca, trujillo and chiclayo, which is put together with partnership with the us embassy in lima. though it was quite a surprise for us to arrive thinking we were only going to be teaching a few classes, but instead were expected to run the whole camp. but we are peace corps volunteers, so not much surprises us anymore.

we had workshops ranging from english grammar, american culture, all the way to personal and professional development. we also had a number of other “american” activities, such as a talent show, kickball tournament, singing beside a bonfire, watching harry potter, and learned to dance the electric slide.

needless to say it was a lot of fun!

…minus the bed bug bites…minor detail…

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dia del logro.

fireworks...of course...

fireworks…of course…

the last day of school for the semester ended with a dia del logro celebration at the school. all the classes showcased their accomplishments and achievements throughout the semester. each subject took an hour to showcase what each and every class (6 classes to each grade…and their are 5 grades…so 30 classes) took time to share what they learned in each subject. honestly, it’s a great idea, and it was fun to see what each class had learned!

the setup.

the setup.

more of the setup.

more of the setup.

of course, we need to highlight the virgen. always.

of course, we need to highlight the virgen. always.

danza de los diablicos.

danza de los diablicos.

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my students highlighting what they have learned in their speech class.

my students highlighting what they have learned in their speech class.

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showing off what they have learned in math...it was...riveting...

showing off what they have learned in math…it was…riveting…

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fbt.

the new 21er's, their trainers and me!

the new 21er’s, their trainers and me!

a few weeks ago, i had the pleasure of hosting 8 of the new 21er’s that just arrived to peru in june! if you recall, i also endured my on field based training, which is a week-long intensive training of language, culture and giving practicums. it is not for the weary. the days are long, and you end the day collapsing onto your bed, only to wake up feeling as though you had just closed your eyes. part of my hosting the trainees, was coordinating the entire schedule for the entire week, which included numerous site visits of other volunteers, which was lot of work…i know better understand the amount of coordination that goes into any training, and my goodness, it is A LOT! during the week, i stayed with the trainees, and basically served as a mentor for the newbies throughout the week. many have never been in a classroom before peru, and so i was there to help with generating classroom activities and ideas for them, and also help them with their spanish. i also was sort of a cultural liaison, to help them understand the cultural differences they were experiencing and seeing first hand. here are some highlights of the week:

we visited olmos!

we visited olmos!

the land of the limon! i loved being able to see all the other volunteers' great projects as well!

the land of the limon! i loved being able to see all the other volunteers’ great projects as well!

i got to see milagros! another highlight for me was seeing all of the youth that i have worked with from our camps!

i got to see milagros! another highlight for me was seeing all of the youth that i have worked with from our camps!

we visited the afro peruano museum in zana!

we visited the afro peruano museum in zana!

isabel getting into the music!

isabel getting into the music!

ana maria and the trainees enjoying some good ol' american food!

ana maria and the trainees enjoying some good ol’ american food!

the english activity with students at icpna!

the english activity with students at icpna!

trainees working with teachers at icpna!

trainees working with teachers at icpna!

the entire group of trainees were fantastic and stayed so positive through their grueling work week! i kept stressing to them that service is nothing like this, but they were always so eager and determined which was awesome! i am so excited for the four that are headed to lambayeque! they are a great group! though, it should be noted that it took me two full days of sleeping to recover…but that may also be from the gripe i caught during the week….

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chau. for now.

the 17ers in true form.

the 17ers in true form.

in peace corps peru, the volunteers arrive in the country on a rotating schedule. so, like clockwork, volunteers come and go from peru. a few weeks ago, we gave a proper despedida to the 17ers in lambayeque. for the despedidas, we normally dress a little crazy, and maybe go a little crazy too. but we have fun, and we make sure to fill the night with recapturing memories during their service, and of course joking about what they will be remembered for.

my "site mate," phil, and me. this photo pretty much accurately sums us up both individually and perfectly captures our friendship. i already miss this old fool.

my “site mate,” phil, and me. this photo pretty much accurately sums us up both individually and perfectly captures our friendship. i already miss this old fool.

i became close friends with some of these volunteers, and a couple of them i can call long-term friends. but the good news is that with long-term friends, it means that it’s only a short bit until i am reunited with them again. though, the next group has some big shoes to fill.

well, i still have at least one lambaybestie to go crazy with me.

well, i still have at least one lambaybestie to go crazy with me.

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una descansa.

obviamente there has been some lack of blogging. sorry about that. life has been aflutter, which will soon be documented. in other news, i think it’s about this landmark when all things start to fall apart:

  • my ankle
  • my kindle
  • my glasses
  • my shoes
  • my phone

….and perhaps soon my mind? just kidding…at least on the mind part. honestly, i have never been happier in my service. things have hit a steady pace, and projects are coming to full fruition and relationships have hit a steady pace. life is life and it is good.

anyways, massive updates will come soon…as in the next week. school’s out for vacacciones! wooooohooooo!!!! which means triple the work to get people to show to your meetings, but positive thinking leads to positive work which leads to positive outcomes.

see you soon!

xoxox.

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camp VALOR.

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this last weekend we had our second camp of the year for our the adolescent boys in our department: camp VALOR!!! just like for ALMA, all 25 volunteers worked together to plan a 3-day, 2-night camp for boys ages 13-18 years old. each volunteer brought 2-3 kids from their site, and for 3 days, all participated in a number of charlas that went along with our “Iron Man” theme, including:

  • beekeeping
  • financial planning

    equipo verrrrrrrrde!!!

    equipo verrrrrrrrde!!!

  • gender equality
  • addressing “machismo”
  • team-building exercises
  • hearing from a local success story from a chiclayo business owner…a volunteer favorite…kango cafeIMG_3922
  • soccer tournament
  • self-esteem
  • future planning/vocational testing
  • job fair

    with our first mvp of the camp!

    with our first mvp of the camp!

  • cuy/duck farming
  • campfire with s’mores and singing until 1am
  • sex-ed charla with our pc doctor from lima, where they had the opportunity to ask extremely candid questions with a highly-qualified professional
  • trust falls

    team leaders enjoying our kids' soccer tournament.

    team leaders enjoying our kids’ soccer tournament.

  • a socio-drama about applying the knowledge they learned
  • human pryamids galore!
  • and of course….a condom race!!!IMG_3995

my team was the smallest of the groups, but what we lacked in number, we certainly made up for team spirit. one thing i really liked about my team, was the diversity in the personalities. half were extremely outgoing, and it was easy to see that they are given regular opportunities to lead and serve and their communities, and there are others who this was their first chance to gain these skills and were more reserved. there were a couple that no longer live with their families for a number of reasons, and had to overcome a number of obstacles in their lifetime that many of us never even have to worry about, yet they still came forward as strong independent leaders, and were given the opportunity to get know other boys like them, and others who have similar goals as them. that is the beauty of this camp. empowering these young men to rise to the opportunity ahead of them, and provide them with the skills to do so!

after a tough tie-breaker, verde won third overall in the camp!!!! wooo!!!

after a tough tie-breaker, verde won third overall in the camp!!!! wooo!!!

los tucumanos.

los tucumanos.

thank you again to all that donated and made this camp possible!

the lovely lambayeque ladies.

the lovely lambayeque ladies.

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rio leche.

the rio.

the rio.

my almost daily 15-mile bike rides in and out of the caserios for a couple of the schools i have begun to work with, has had me crossing the rio leche. the rio is a legend of sorts here since the ancient days, in that it was what brought life to this desert valley. the water comes from the highlands, and has been quite high for the last month or so. now with irrigation for their fields, farmers aren’t quite as reliant, but many of the families that live in the caserios still rely on it for water in their household, washing clothes, cooking, etc. it also makes for a nice halfway/rest point during my rides.

one of the many birds that are feeding off the harvested rice fields.

one of the many birds that are feeding off the harvested rice fields.

 

a group of the students from the primaria that my youth group and i have started to work with.

a group of the students from the primaria that my youth group and i have started to work with.

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