Category Archives: hauscaran

taking over the sierra.

beautiful huascaran.

beautiful huascaran.

or really, it would have been that the sierra took over me, since i spent the entire time there with a terrible cold that i am just now really getting over. in fact, it took two days after we came down from the mountainous city for my ear to finally pop…it was pretty tragic.

anyways, i headed to the beautiful department of ancash and stayed in huaraz, which is the department’s capital city nestled up in the andes, for a few days for a peace corps training for project design and management (pdm), and followed that training with my in-service training (ist). at pdm, we each brought a community partner that we work with, and introduce them to basic project design and management 101. it’s extremely rich in information and also follows an american schedule, which of course exhausted all the socios, as they are not used to working a 8a-6p schedule without a siesta in the middle of the day. it was also a lot of work to reiterate a lot of the principles that were being taught, but it was great to get to know my socio better, and we have become even better friends as a result!

half of our pdm group w/ socios!

half of our pdm group w/ socios!

me explaining some of the concepts with my socio, berardo.

me explaining some of the concepts with my socio, berardo.

after our long days of training, we went to the main city for water and just to take time to look around. this is me and some of my favorite fellow pcperu 19 ladies.

after our long days of training, we went to the main city for water and just to take time to look around. this is me and some of my favorite fellow pcperu 19 ladies.

and i totally decided to fall for the tourist trap of posing with an alpaca because why not???

and i totally decided to fall for the tourist trap of posing with an alpaca because why not???

while there, in between being sick and at trainings, some ladies and i took the time to see a few other places in ancash.

beautiful yanguy. the original town was destroyed by a landslide, and rebuilt itself in a new location.

beautiful yanguy. the original town was destroyed by a landslide, and rebuilt itself in a new location.

the domineering huascaran.

the domineering huascaran.

the beautiful, turquoise glacier made lake, laguna llanganuco.

the beautiful, turquoise glacier made lake, laguna llanganuco.

as you can see i was unable to contain my excitement.

as you can see i was unable to contain my excitement.

the awesome-looking bark on the trees.

the awesome-looking bark on the trees.

on our way to see pastoruri.

on our way to see pastoruri.

some wild horses.

some wild horses.

one of a kind cacti.

one of a kind cacti.

to get to the glacier, first you go by horseback and then hike for about another mile. this is me and my horse, ol' smokey.

to get to the glacier, first you go by horseback and then hike for about another mile. this is me and my horse, ol’ smokey.

carlhey and i on our horses.

carlhey and i on our horses.

the view on our hike.

the view on our hike.

i made it!!!!

i made it!!!!

the glacier is an excellent example of the dramatic effects of global warming. so much of the glacier has changed just within even the last year!

the glacier is an excellent example of the dramatic effects of global warming. so much of the glacier has changed just within even the last year!

another example of the melting glacier.

another example of the melting glacier.

brrrrrrr!

brrrrrrr!

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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!

 

french toast.

french toast with churimoya syrup.

a couple of weeks ago, i decided that i would try to make an american dish for my family. understanding that we have two very different tastes, i opted for a sweet one, as peruvians love sweets. i made cinnamon french toast. they do not sell syrup here, so i was going to make a banana one, but my family does not like bananas. so i was going to try to make a strawberry one, but all the markets were out of strawberries, so i decided to just go local (as this should have been my first choice…oh well…). i made it with churimoya, which is a very, very sweet fruit. honestly, i can only usually take a couple of bites it’s that sweet, but it went nicely with the food.

however, i am also not used to the cooking style here, and the lack of utensils made it quite a challenge for me, so much so that my host mom came to save the day. so much for making breakfast for them…but the bright side, is that now she knows how to make it for the family in the future!

an unrelated note.

but entirely related to me at this moment. i am going to miss my current host family so much. i know that i will see them again when i visit with mike in december, but they have been so patient and supportive. i missed them even while i was just gone for a week at fbt. i received delightful facebook messages from my sister, norma, which only made my heart grow fonder.

i love this picture of my mom.

i have the best host mom, who not only exhibited patience, but also a nurturing hand when i had the world’s worst sinus infection and when i was most recently sick to my stomach. she also waits up for me when i am out late, and watches me walk down the street when i leave for training in the morning. she readily gives her living space for me to have haphazard youth group meetings, and even buys inca kola as a refreshment for the kids. she knows that i have a love for palta and reminds me each week that they are available at the market.

mi mama y yo (i feel/look so tall next to her).

needless to say, i have the world’s best host family. seriously, there is no beating them. it’s not possible.

 

victor y yo.

youth group.

this has been a trial and error youth group, as we have been trying to have youth group meetings for more than three weeks, but each time is to no avail. it is great preparation for the field i am sure. i detailed the other week about the struggles i was having in working with a local school and then in trying to start the group in my neighborhood, which really made this even all the more poetic and comical.

my group and one other group opted to combo our groups, as we both have encountered the same challenges. we decided to have the group at my house and we were to each bring at least one sibling, which would guarantee at least 6 kids. however, there has been something going around lately, and the only sibling that could make it is my 8-year-old brother victor.

victor. the best brother and the best sport on the planet.

we couldn’t help but laugh at our situation. i mean, it really could not have been any other way. it was too fitting. here was six girls ready to teach at a minimum six kids, and we only had one. i started the group, as the other girls left to scour the streets of huascaran to see if they could entice others to join, but apparently parents in peru teach their kids about not entering the houses of strangers too. however, two of the neighbor kids were later recruited after much diligent effort, but 2/3 of this youth group meeting was solely with victor.

i read “where the wild things are” in spanish. i recently acquired the movie in spanish, so victor and i are going to watch it on friday together.

kg and victor and the two other recruits working feverishly on their life maps.

victor loves to draw, and he is incredibly talented.

he is always the happiest when he is working on art projects.

victor and aaron.

pocual working on his life map.

the boys with their life maps.

after the life maps, we explained to them about our tree of life and how the roots are of important words, idea, people and places that have helped them become who they are now. i think at this point it is important to note that we were originally supposed to be having these clubs in a secondary school and be working with at least 30 kids, which this whole presentation is aimed for, but we tried our best to explain and adapt it for these kids’/victor’s understanding.

our huge tree trunk with our five tree roots.

the boys’ roots.

after kg and i finished our meeting, the other girls took the time to do their group, which was aimed at the same age group as ours, so they also had to make some minor changes to refocus. at this point it was only victor again.

victor getting all the attention.

however, he is 8-years-old and only has so much of an attention span.

victor giving very apparent social cues.

but really. though there was only my brother in attendance, we had the group still, which is the point of it all. and also, it has left me with plenty of laughs.

mi casa es su casa.

the hill i walk up everyday. i walk down it sometimes too.

mi casa.

my room. with verb practice charts. awesome.

the other view in my room. never mind in my inability to draw the human body.

my hood.

hauscaran from above.

the above is my hood. it looks a little rough around the edges. i blame it on the cloudy day and on the unfinished houses. all the houses here are unfinished on the outside, but mine is quite nice on the inside. it came complete with tiled floors, a toilet and a shower…which only has one temperature…cold.

i went to my ward for the first time on saturday, and made a new friend, jonathan. he helped translate sunday school for me and offered a ride home. he had never been to hauscaran, but upon entering my barrio exclaimed, “THEY LET GRINGOS LIVE HERE?!?!” i laughed, because really my barrio is quite quaint and friendly, and have met some great people that i can really only understand about 15% of what they are saying, but they are patient with me.

on the hillside we have a great view of the cemetary, which i hope to explore sometime soon. i hope to sometime soon give you a tour of my house/room.

on a completely separate note, i experienced my first earthquake yesterday. it was fairly mild, but i only divulge the first detail to better explain the second half of this story. last night, after i had just hung up the phone from talking with mike, my mom raced into the room saying a lot words extremely fast but motioned me quickly out of the house. i began to worry that perhaps there was a second earthquake i didn’t know about and was wondering why she let me talk so long if i was in such imminent danger. as we ran down the hill on our street, she was banging on doors as we ran down the street and calling other women out, which made me wonder even more. finally we reached the bottom of the hill at the park, and the entire community was there, all surrounding a vehicle that apparently had it’s breaks go out on our steep hill, and lost control of the car. the car then broke through the metal gate on our street, and tried to take the turn which then caused it to roll a few times down a 5′-6′ drop into the park, where it landed on the driver’s side of the vehicle.

don’t worry the driver had zero injuries, which still has left me perplexed. once i realized this, i laughed to myself as i was standing in the cold with the rest of the neighborhood looking at the accident. the police took about 20 minutes to arrive and the ambulance about 40 minutes. after everything was cleared that the driver was not drunk nor injured, the community was left with figuring out what to do with the car. i was quite impressed with their thoughtfulness and creativity in the removal of the car. the men began to carefully remove some of the outer parts of the car to prevent scratching more the exterior, and then the men grabbed two pipes and levied the car back on to it’s four wheels. then they slowly pushed it down the hill and back up again. really. the story left me laughing uncontrollably and impressed with their resourcefulness and creativity.

a morning jaunt.

last saturday, a couple of others from the hauscaran crew decided to hike up the neighboring “hill” (read: mountain for this texan) to go check out the view and to see the giant cross.

my fellow adventurers. with the destination up above. and a nice view of my barrio.

given that we are in a small barrio, it was a given that there probably wasn’t going to be a trail equivalent to one that would be found in the states, but we are an adventurous and resourceful group and found a dirt road leading to somewhere up the hill.

the dirt road.

after a very steep incline, the road ended and we were essentially left with a steep rock incline that bascially involved being on all fours as we climbed our way up.

the grand ascent.

michael working his way up.

the view from above.

success.

finding our own religion.

the group.

the hike was worth it, and especially welcomed by me. the view was great, as one side of the hill was a view of a typical barrio and the other of the extremely large, nice houses of chaclacayo. it made for a great first week story. when i got home and told my mom, she thought i was a bit strange for being so adventurous, but i think at this point my mom finds most things i do strange.

 

 

home (for now).

right now, i am in the department of lima and living in the city of chaclacyo and the zone of hauscaran.

el parque de la ciudad de chaclacayo

the training center for the peace corps is located in the department of lima, but the city it is actually located in is chacalcayo. it is in an old house that they converted for our use. it’s quite beautiful, and located in a neighborhood with houses just as nice. i go to the same tienda everyday to get my coke zero from the gloria and her husband (at least in chaclacayo….there is no diet coke or coke zero to be found….i know, i had the same panic attack you are experiencing right now).

heaven.

the other day my friend, kg, and i found a bakery and even ordered our own slice of chocolate cake. i was proud of myself. we even asked about cultural norms in regards to gratuity. as my host mom says, “un poco, un poco.” and it really has been that. however, everyday is just as grueling as the first so by the end of the day…that slice of chocolate cake was heaven…

my host family.

on sunday i met my host family.

mi mama: nelly

mi papa: virgilio (it still takes me about a full minute to get that name out of my mouth)

mi hermanas: claudia y norma; 17 and 14 respectively

mi hermano: victor; 8

they are just a delight. my mom is super patient and helps me with my spanish. and i shared my nail polish with my sisters. and victor likes to tease me. so pretty much, i feel right at home.

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