Category Archives: la libertad

la gran experiencia!

the fancy hotel room that lan put us in when our first delayed flight caused us to miss our connecting one.

the fancy hotel room that lan put us in when our first delayed flight caused us to miss our connecting one.

my gran came to visit!!!! hold on. i am going to repeat that for you, so it can sink in: MY GRAN CAME TO VISIT!!!!!!! and my goodness, did she have quite the experience! before coming to visit me, she spent 2 weeks traveling with another tour group that went to cusco, machu picchu, puno, and bolivia! then she headed up north to the coastal desert, where we hung out. she attended my classes and meetings with me. in fact, i think she got as close as one can get to having the “peace corps experience.” we stayed at my house, and she slept in my bed, and i made use of the tile floor. we hung out with my family and friends, and she became the local celebrity. we also took the time to see some of the local sites out here, since my region is rich in history and filled with archeological sites.

enjoying her first ceviche!

enjoying her first ceviche!

breakfast with mi familia.

breakfast with mi familia.

 

enjoying the pyramid ruins in tucume.

enjoying the pyramid ruins in tucume.

another cute photo with my family.

another cute photo with my family.

loving the museo de tumbes reales.

loving the museo de tumbes reales.

we then took a day trip to trujillo, where we visited the ruins of chan chan and also, took time to walk around the city and, of course, ate delicious food!

enjoying the ruins at chan chan.

enjoying the ruins at chan chan.

the view of the plaza.

the view of the plaza.

just a couple of gals taking over trujillo!

just a couple of gals taking over trujillo!

after taking over the coast, we then traveled to a region in the south eastern part of the country, madre de dios. we stayed at a couple of lodges on the rio tambopata in the amazon rainforest basin. we were just tucked away in one of the few untouched parts of the amazon rainforest, and we were just a stone’s throw from puno and bolivia. needless to say, it was one of the most incredible vacations i have ever been on. we saw more than 70+ species while we were there, and saw various types of ecosystems. if you ever have a chance to travel there, i highly recommend it!

gran is all ready for the 3 hour boat ride to our first lodge!

gran is all ready for the 3 hour boat ride to our first lodge!

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enjoying our boat ride!

enjoying our boat ride!

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our incredible room at refugio. it was extremely relaxing, so much so that i ended up reading 4 books while on vacation! yes, please.

our incredible room at refugio. it was extremely relaxing, so much so that i ended up reading 4 books while on vacation! yes, please.

birdwatching with our guide.

birdwatching with our guide.

oxbow lake.

oxbow lake.

a log covered in bats.

a log covered in bats.

with a kepok tree.

with a kepok tree.

i used a machete to break open a brazilian nut and it only took me 3 tries!!!

i used a machete to break open a brazilian nut and it only took me 3 tries!!!

i love this picture. i asked our guide what a certain fruit was and before he even finished to say whether or not it was edible, gran decided to go ahead and pop a seed into her mouth. the seeds are actually used for dyes and paint because of it's brilliant color. gran is modeling it on her lips.

i love this picture. i asked our guide what a certain fruit was and before he even finished to say whether or not it was edible, gran decided to go ahead and pop a seed into her mouth. the seeds are actually used for dyes and paint because of it’s brilliant color. gran is modeling it on her lips.

the fruit in question.

the fruit in question.

we eventually headed 4 more hours down the river to stay at the tambopata research center. it was one of the most incredible places i have been to. it was so tranquil and beautiful. on our boat ride there, there was quite the rain storm brewing.

we eventually headed 4 more hours down the river to stay at the tambopata research center. it was one of the most incredible places i have been to. it was so tranquil and beautiful. on our boat ride there, there was quite the rain storm brewing.

our room at the research center.

our room at the research center.

the research center focuses its studies on the macaws, specifically the macaw clay licks. in the amazon, much of the wildlife feeds off the clay, which is unique to only this region. when the center first started, they handfed some macaws that were abandoned by their mothers. as a result, many of those macaws still visit and pass time at the center.

the research center focuses its studies on the macaws, specifically the macaw clay licks. in the amazon, much of the wildlife feeds off the clay, which is unique to only this region. when the center first started, they handfed some macaws that were abandoned by their mothers. as a result, many of those macaws still visit and pass time at the center.

enjoying a muddy hike!

enjoying a muddy hike!

parrots and macaws feeding on the clay.

parrots and macaws feeding on the clay.

fashion queen! but seriously.

fashion queen! but seriously.

enjoying the view of puno.

enjoying the view of puno.

honestly. the best part of the entire vacation was getting to spend time with my gran. she is incredible and vivacious and i hope that i have inherited her good health. but really. i have always had a close relationship with my gran, so i am so glad that we were able to have a chance to share this time together, and also that she was able to see the life that i have forged for myself here. love her. and miss her.

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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!

 

street art.

let me just start out with this: good morning mike!

but really, i have been nonstop impressed with the street art that i have seen everywhere, but i found it to be more prominent on the coast. here are some of my favorite shots from throughout the week.

trujillo.

pacasmayo.

pacasmayo.

huanchaco.

huanchaco.

huanchaco.

huanchaco.

 

 

 

 

 

 

huanchaco.

huanchaco.

we spent saturday afternoon at a big tourist beach, which had incredible waves. it left me wishing i had packed my swimsuit.

kallan and brian dining on ceviche on the beache.

a dilapidated seawall.

i spent a lot of time just sitting on the beach. i took a brief break to get a pineapple & maracuya juice. but then it was back to the beach.

there were tons of jellyfish at the beach. kallan and brittany both braved the water and also both got stung.

colorful streets.

dr. suess trees.

sunset on the beach.

the entire yd fbt crew + hosts + facilitators.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

chiclin.

lunch.

we spent friday afternoon in chichlin. we helped facilitate an english class for english teachers. it was a lot of fun. i bonded with many of the adults, and it reasserted to me that my best age group is on the older end of the age spectrum. needless to say, a lot of laughs were shared amongst everyone in the class.

a dog cooling off in the shade at the school.

 

puerto malabrigo.

la plaza de armas en puerto malabrigo.

we spent friday morning in puerto mlabrigo, which was the site of a volunteer that just completed service earlier in the week. another youth volunteer will replace the previous one (a site of about 5,000). i wish it was going to be me, but alas, a male volunteer has been requested. in this site, the volunteer literally lives on the beach and their main socio is with a surf school. talk about a rough two-years…

we spent the morning there to participate in a program called “red ambiente,” which is supposed to help promote youth leadership. we sat through two presentations, one of which was on la pesete (the plague). supposedly it is still a problem in that province, with most reported cases in peru being from their region. afterwards i facilitated a short game on how to synthesize the presentation and take the information back to their community.

then we just spent a short bit at the beach.

 

guadalupe.

we spent two days in guadalupe visiting a volunteer, whose site had about 30,000 people.

the municipality at the plaza de armas.

taxidermy at a local lunch spot.

it was about a 30 minute combi ride from pacasmayo. the first day i sat on the back bench of the combi and quickly learned that was the worst possible place to sit. i found myself sitting on the engine and, quite literally, had the exhaust smoke blowing out beneath my legs. my nostrils and my lungs stung. needless to say, the next morning i grabbed a seat in the front.

my morning combi ride.

i taught at a more rural primary school, just out of town. it was a two room school house and between the two days, i taught four classes: hand washing, teeth brushing, friendship and virtues. the municipality was nice to give us a lift out to the school, but we all had to fit in one truck, which meant we had to ride in the back…which i love to do anyhow.

carlhey, me, evan (our pcvc) and brian (the la libertad pcvl) riding in the back of the police truck.

pretending we live a hard-knock life.

the youngest of the primary classes.

showing off the glitter on their hands and ready to learn to wash their hands.

saw this in the older class. an anatomically correct lion. details. details.

two of the students ready to bike home with a rice field behind them.

at the end of our first day, we went to a special needs school that the volunteer works at as well. we worked with young adults with special needs, showing them how to make a picture frame and also painting a map of peru on the school walls. it was a blast.

 

the whole crew (volunteers + students) with our finished map.

our last afternoon in guadalupe, the municipality set up a nice lunch for us at the house of a local artist. we had lunch in his garden which was quite beautiful.

 

where we dined.

he concluded lunch by sharing some of his original poetry. it was beautiful. he also showed us some of his paintings as well. to top it off, he had six-week-old kittens. needless to saw our hearts were overjoyed that afternoon.

kittens for cat.

kittens. kittens. kittens.

also, i saw this really awesome spider:

does anyone know what kind of spider this is?

pacasmayo.

we stayed a couple of evenings in a great little surf town in pacasmayo.

it was a nice little surf hostel.

it was so green, and had hammocks and even a trampoline!

casey taking a much needed nap in the hammock at the hostel.

this is the closest i have gotten to machu picchu. at a surf hostel on the other side of the country.

great, colorful fishing boats filled the beaches.

the beach at sunset.

this dog and i became the best of friends over those couple of days.

every town seems to have some type of statue at the top of a hill. pacasmayo has jesus (which is more common than not).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

san pedro.

on tuesday, we visited another volunteer who lived in much larger site (around 17,000). we taught nutrition charlas at an all girl school. the girls were a lot of fun, and just loved to laugh.

plaza de armas.

the girls practicing their marches for the fiestas patrias this week.

working on creating their plate of food.

the food pyramid and a group’s plate of food.

all the volunteers with the girls.

viva el peru.

 

 

 

 

 

bello horizante.

on monday, we visited a volunteer finishing up his service in bello horizante, which is a smaller site with just under a thousand people. it was quite beautiful, as it was probably one of the greenest sites we saw on the entire trip and at the foot of some small mountains.

it was about a 30 minute combi ride, and as i was mindlessly looking out the combi window, another combi passed us, but this one in particular had two live sheep tied to the top and the sheep were lifting their heads bah-ing at us as they zoomed by. it was quite a funny experience.

at the school, i did a charla on self-identiy and self-esteem. i had them draw maps with chalk and they could take water and pour it on parts of the maps to symbolize that they didn’t have to carry the negatives with them or that the choices that they make now do affect their future.

the school where we taught.

class time.

the kid’s face on the far right is awesome.

drawing her map.

after lunch, we went for a small hike to some ancient ruins that are in the site. the view was incredible.

ancient burial grounds.

 

 

 

 

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