Category Archives: trial and error

a little bit of everything.

oh hi! long time no see! what have i been up to lately? well, that is a great question, indeed!

let’s see…

my environmental arts group ended. this is everyone with all their projects they completed.

my environmental arts group ended. this is everyone with all their projects they completed.

this is my part of my world map painting group waiting for my socio to show up with the needed projector, and who didn't show up for the second day in a row...

this is my part of my world map painting group waiting for my socio to show up with the needed projector, and who didn’t show up for the second day in a row…

third time is a charm. after waiting for 2 hours on the third day, he finally showed. we had a blast drawing the map.

third time is a charm. after waiting for 2 hours on the third day, he finally showed. we had a blast drawing the map.

between my day planner and the random plastic bag i found in my bag, it was a pretty sturdy setup....

between my day planner and the random plastic bag i found in my bag, it was a pretty sturdy setup….

i hiked all 15k through the bosque de pomac, and it was a nice break from the usual distractions. this is the million year tree and is sacred to the incans who originally inhabited the area. also, the government is working on the reforestation of the bosque, since many of the trees were cut down to use the wood for pollo a la brasa.

i hiked all 15k through the bosque de pomac, and it was a nice break from the usual distractions.
this is the million year tree and is sacred to the incans who originally inhabited the area. also, the government is working on the reforestation of the bosque, since many of the trees were cut down to use the wood for pollo a la brasa.

a group of volunteers went camping. this is part of our group enjoying the sunset.

a group of volunteers went camping. this is part of our group enjoying the sunset.

i celebrated carnaval in illimo and joined banda verde. this was my favorite verde float.

i celebrated carnaval in illimo and joined banda verde. this was my favorite verde float.

though the red team went all out in the decorations. carnaval in illimo is a big celebration. the day before there was a giant water fight in the town square between the two teams.

though the red team went all out in the decorations.
carnaval in illimo is a big celebration. the day before there was a giant water fight in the town square between the two teams.

originally for international women's day, i wanted to give a charla to the women of vaso de leche about the importance of being a woman. though, big surprise, my muni said no and wanted to do a parade instead. so, i worked with vaso de leche to organize the muni workers for a parade. this is everyone after.

originally for international women’s day, i wanted to give a charla to the women of vaso de leche about the importance of being a woman. though, big surprise, my muni said no and wanted to do a parade instead. so, i worked with vaso de leche to organize the muni workers for a parade. this is everyone after.

after giving a little speech on gender equality, the band decided to play more more tunes, which resulted in a mini dance party. i was partnered with a regidor (equivalent to a city council member/officer).

after giving a little speech on gender equality, the band decided to play more more tunes, which resulted in a mini dance party. i was partnered with a regidor (equivalent to a city council member/officer).

ysabel and i after the parade, with the sign i made.

ysabel and i after the parade, with the sign i made.

i finally gave my community diagnostic presentation. it was....interesting to say the least...but it happened and some positive things came out of it.

i finally gave my community diagnostic presentation. it was….interesting to say the least…but it happened and some positive things came out of it.

my family and i went for a night out on the town in chiclayo and dined on the finest pollo a la brasa. seriously. it was DELISH.

my family and i went for a night out on the town in chiclayo and dined on the finest pollo a la brasa. seriously. it was DELISH.

the artisans had a number of new products, and so i spent an afternoon taking more pictures for them.

the artisans had a number of new products, and so i spent an afternoon taking more pictures for them.

 

and of course. samia and i are still keeping it real. school has started, so sometimes i help with her homework. or sometimes we just hang out and pretend to dance marenara.

and of course. samia and i are still keeping it real. school has started, so sometimes i help with her homework. or sometimes we just hang out and pretend to dance marenara.

the number of mosquitos in my site has increased significantly  i now know what it feels like to get eaten alive. i go through insect repellent like it’s my job, but it doesn’t seem to keep them away. also of note, as seen in the pictures above, there are a lot of ups and downs. and that is exactly it. there have been a number of challenges i have been facing work-wise in site. sudden changes with my socia at the health post…i had been working with her for 3-4 months on the preparations for one project, and now she is no longer working there, and other health post employees are overloaded already. my municipality has been more of a challenge to work with than anything else. the school i normally work with cancelled it’s first week of classes, then during the next week, i went to coordinate my program with them, there were zero teachers in the classrooms with kids, and they had yet to make the schedule for the new year, and the schools are just handing out textbooks/curriculum this week. in fact, the official school schedule will not be ready until next week…that is 4 weeks after the school year has started…and even though i am little astonished by this, i can’t say i am anymore surprised by it. in fact, all of it seems pretty par for the course, in regards to the experiences that one has not only living in a developing country, but also it’s just part of the peace corps experience.

the important part is concentrate on the positives and learn from the things that don’t work out. and with that, i am concentrating on the goals and things that i want to get done in site, and if i keep that perspective, i really think some positive changes will happen. and the winds are slowly starting to change in my favor!

…it’s about time…

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

not in the fine print.

not in the fine print when you learn about the peace corps, and it’s not included in the main bulleted points is that 90% of the day-to-day work is following-up on people or just revisiting the same conversations over and over. in the peace corps’ defense, they do repeatedly say that it is “the hardest job you will ever love.” and that, my friends, is true. and you know what? even though i am starting to feel like that nagging mom (though with an incredibly charming smile and awkwardly worded jokes)…it is totally worth it. and you know what else? i am up for the challenge. bring it tucume. bring it.

Tagged ,

useful vacation.

IMG_2824

this past few weeks i have been working on my vacciones útiles programs…literally meaning “useful vacation.” because most youth are either planting rice or traveling to lima in january, we waited to begin until the end of january and will continue them until the beginning of march. i have two official programs that i am working with people in my community with.

me with the different project examples.

me with the different project examples.

the first, pictured above, is my environment group. there are 25 participants with ages ranging from 10 to 32. when originally conceived and gained approval from museum administration, i wanted to bring more environmental awareness to the community, and even have a few “clean the pyramids” days and a couple of art shows made from recyclable items with entry being paid with recyclable items…we would then sell the recyclables, and use the profits to pay for a beach day. however, as with most things in the peace corps, it changed and now it is namely a group that is learning how to reuse their recyclables into other objects, which still has a great message to it. and honestly, it is nice to be able to show up and craft with a group of eager youth. and it’s been fantastic getting to know some more youth in town.

IMG_2855

for our first project we have been making bags from used catalogs. it should be noted that peruvians love catalogs. in fact, as i have gone around town collecting used catalogs, i have been corrected almost all occasions that they are not catalogs but magazines. but really, they read those things like magazines…needless to say it’s been a bit of a challenge to find them. the making of the bags is actually quite tedious, and i think i have spent over 15 hours on mine…and i am still probably at least 2 hours from being done…but i will post a finished product. we will start our second and final project next week, making traditional mochica art out of paper pulp!

IMG_2860

not pictured…and honestly…not happening anymore (again, normal peace corps experience) is my pasos adelante group. honestly, the fact that this first try failed was a little bit of a disappointment, as i had been preparing for this for months, and hope to make this my primary project in site. however, it was just my first try, so there will be other ones. it is a health promoters leadership group…and one day there will be hopefully numerous ones in tucume. anyways, it started with a really strong showing. when i went to the classes to promote the group, i had 55 sign up, and having to wait almost a month the start the group, i still had about 20 show up for the first meeting. then my town’s fair happened, and it quickly dropped to 3 and then to 1 and then it just stayed at 1. and you know, that’s okay. at least one person was excited about the group, and i am reworking the work plan to present to the school with the health post this week, so that we can incorporate it into the school year.

also, thanks to the awesome feria…not complaining too much…because it really was awesome…but it’s even more awesome that it’s over…my cultural group that i was working on with a few other people has completely fallen by the wayside, but one thing that my community is starting to learn is that i am pretty persistent…so next week we will start discussing this cultural group again. woo! anyways, life has been busy. and it continues to be so with work being aplenty…even with the trials and errors, but that is the name of the game!

Tagged , ,

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:

despedida!

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.

halloweeenie.

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.

Tagged , ,

you win some. you lose some.

win: your combi driver gave you curbside service to the serpost today. saving you 2 soles (1.50 if you feel like haggling) in moto taxi fair.

lose: the same combi driver (who is missing half of his teeth) creepily harassing you, so you lie about not having a phone and just write down his number. oh, he also charges you S/. 1.50 instead of just S/. 1.

win: little kid at the park excitedly screams, “GRIIIIIINGGGGAAAAAAA.” because it’s cute win a 3-year-old does it.

lose: 2 creepy older men sitting in the same park, wave their hands in the air and are cat-calling you.

win: there are also plenty of moto taxis in your town to drive you where ever your heart desires.

lose: because you are white, they all think you want to go to the museum. seriously, one month of walking by them everyday and they are still asking, “museo! gringa, museo?” seriously, you don’t recognize me yet? there are not a lot gringas in town.

it’s good that all of these things make me laugh. both the good and the bad. because otherwise, it wouldn’t be peace corps.

work.

 

well. i couldn’t think of a more fitting title. one thing about peace corps is that you have amazing weeks, and other weeks you don’t. some weeks you feel like you making a lot of forward-moving steps in your community…and other weeks, it’s the opposite. and perhaps, this week was not the best week, but the good news is that there will be better weeks.

my diagnostic was practically halted this week, and a new strategy will be employed next week. for the past 2 ½ weeks there has been a teacher strike in peru…indefinitely. i have been told that the last one lasted 2 months, and commentary on the news has revealed that there have been high tensions in lima about the strike and is thought that this one could potentially last until december (when school is let out for summer). also this week, a medical strike began as well…also indefinitely. this means all doctors, nurses, etc. are on strike. this also means my health post is on strike.

 

i was greeted to a meeting with a locked door. tis the story of my life this week.

today i was supposed to have my first event that i was planning, which had to be canceled due to the aforementioned strikes. i suppose it was just a disappointment, due to the fact that it was my first planned event in my town with my help, and it didn’t come to fruition. however, the good news, is that i have two years to have more events in my town.

so this weekend/first half of this week is going to be spent re-strategizing on how to find the youth, and start projects that can draw the kids to do something while they have some extra time on their hands…

Tagged

poco a poco.

you know, little by little the community is recognizing that i am here to stay and more readily approaching me. though, every time i walk through the park, all the mototaxis still ask me if i need a ride to the museum. but now as i spend more time in the park, many more people and kids are approaching me and asking me questions. as i do this, i am making more and more important connections in the community.

however, today, as i was walking down the street an old man excitedly shouted at me, “GRIIIIIIIIINGAAAAA!!!!” needless to say, i could have done without the additional attention, but it was cute…only because he was old.

Tagged ,

renovations.

i wish i had better before pictures, but alas, i do have during the process pictures. the bottom-half of my cement walls were chipping away. literally, chipping away. i am not sure why, i am just assuming age, possible mold or rot. anyways, my host mom had the neighbor across the street come over and get it fixed. it was quite fascinating, honestly.

he chipped the wall in for about ¾”.

the remnants of my wall.

he then went away filling it all in. this is my room covered with cement.

we moved most of my furniture out of my room, except for my bed, which was also covered in cement dust and there are few spackles here and there on my bed. my mom is great and i came home from work and she had already cleaned my sheets for me and hung them to dry.

the final product. i didn’t know about the changes and had just finished painting my room, which i will now to redo the bottom-half next week. but i guess this is a sneak peek of the colors.

 

 

Tagged , , ,

(mis)understanding(s).

it’s no secret. spanish is incredibly new to me. luckily, my community and friends here have so much patience with my language level and don’t let it discount my ability to work. i have received so much support, but unfortunately, there have still been a couple of cases where my lack in language has left me out of the loop.

for instance, though the colegio is quite supportive and welcoming, i am constantly preparing for charlas and presentations only to have the plans changed. in fact, while discussing my program goals and diagnostic plans with the director of the school, i found myself being committed to give a presentation to the entire school and their parents (almost 600 students and their parents). i quickly corrected this, and as an agreement that i get to do my diagnostic in all the classes, but i will have to give one nutrition charla to all the grade levels (there is about 120 in each grade level plus their parents). though, 120 is much better than 600 in one setting, it is still more than i would prefer to work with. luckily, i have a great health post who is eager to help me with it.

another point of miscommunication came with a group of women in my community. they have a group much like the junior league in the states. where their purpose is to provide service and support to the community. i happened upon them through one of the members who owns a tienda in town that i frequent. i guess they had invited me to march with them in the parade last week for tucume’s anniversary, but unfortunately since i didn’t understand, i didn’t show. luckily, these women were able to laugh it off with me, and understand that if i don’t repeat back a follow-up detail with them, then it means that i didn’t understand it and that it won’t get done.

another more cultural point of miscommunication, was that the director asked me to return this morning to do more diagnostic charlas, but when i arrived, i was told that he wasn’t there and won’t be until monday…there is a national huelga (strike) with the teachers. the way that i see it, i am stubborn enough, i will get into all 28 classes eventually…just hopefully sooner rather than later.

Tagged

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.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: