Tag Archives: culture

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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fiestas patrias.

the desfile in town.

the desfile in town, while my students were marching.

july 28th and 29th were peru’s two days celebrating its independence from spain. sunday was filled with parades and defiles (a marching competition between all the schools in town). the desfile competitions always draw a large crowd. on the 29th i went to monsefu and explored their feria where i ate every peruvian fried food imaginable…which is not many…but it was still a lot of fun! viva el peru!

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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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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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in the know.

talking to a school director in tucume viejo.

talking to a school director in tucume viejo.

lately, i have been spending many of my mornings with the presidenta, vice-president, and my socio, from my youth volunteer group (ADEPZORT) traveling to the various caserios of my district in order for them to better understand what needs exist outside of the main pueblo. the culture and way of life in the campo is quite different than that of the pueblo. additionally, there are different needs for the youth and their communities. also, the campo makes up for most of the geography of my site, so at times we have found ourselves in the truck for 30 minutes to travel to these communities.

many of these communities are lacking water and electricity, and are the more impoverished pockets of my site. it has been a great reality check for the youth that have joined for the interviews, so they can better understand the realities of those they desire to serve. this weekend, the council is getting together to better form an outline of project ideas based off of the information they have collected by talking with school directors, health posts and community members of those caserios visited. i am quite excited to continue my work with these youth as throughout this process they have demonstrated an increase of passion of working with those in the rural areas of tucume. hooray!

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home. +1.

peru on our world map.

peru on our world map.

well. this month marks my one year mark of living in peru. i did it! but really, to live and adapt and integrate into a foreign country is not a cake walk, but it has also been one of the most enriching experiences. i arrived to peru, well….exhausted…, but completely open minded to the experiences that awaited. i also arrived only being able to reply with “si.” and by the second day, i was able to say the word “claro.” and i only hoped that i wasn’t agreeing to anything too absurd.

after learning enough language to survive, and receiving a full library’s worth of manuals and books, i was sent off to a pueblo in the middle of the peruvian northern coastal desert. this pueblo has slowly but surely become my home. i have built a strong relationship with a family that has become my own. i have built friendships with people who have never shorted me with their patience, their positivity and love….and of course, food.

traditional mochican wall carving.

traditional mochican wall carving.

their passion for their immense cultural history here has captured me, and as i explore and discover new parts of my site’s more rural parts, i relish in the fact that i am experiencing a living history.

i have discovered that in order to truly grow to love a place and people and culture, you have to endure the hardships as well as relish in the great things. throughout my time in site thus far, i have had some key socios move or have a change in career, a month long school strike, accumulative to a month’s strike from the health post, a school that started more than a month late, have spent hours upon hours waiting for people to show for meetings, and so much more. another challenge for me, in particular, was breaking the social barriers that existed in my municipality because of my being a female and a foreigner. so, when i was asked to raise my district’s flag with my mayor during my town’s celebratory flag ceremony for bolognesi, which happened to share the same date of arrival to peru, my heart was overwhelmed…because for me, this was a sign of how far i had come, and how far my site and i have come together. the truth is, everyone’s site is completely different. and some come with more difficulties than others, and sometimes i found myself wishing for an easier service. but, at the end of the day, it was through those challenges, that have come to call my site home. that it is. home. with one more year + a couple of months. i’m home. and i love it here.

getting ready to walk the flag through town before the flag raising ceremony.

getting ready to walk the flag through town before the flag raising ceremony.

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international environment day.

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a teacher that i have worked closely with at the main colegio in town asked me to help him in planning and executing a school-wide activity for international environment day (june 5). we had a flood of ideas, but the biggest difficulty that was presented was engaging more than 700 students at the same time. as the main event, we had all the students come to the school in the morning and cleaned the entire school grounds. this was inspired by a “chiclayo limpio” activity on earth day, where all the schools in chiclayo took to cleaning their school, which really meant, cleaning all the miscellaneous trash that covered the school grounds. the kids really enjoyed this, as we had music playing, and we were able to actively and continuously engage the kids with the realization that when they throw their trash on the ground, no one will pick it up but them. that is a part of the culture that runs rampant here, is the blatancy of littering…willie nelson would be so disappointed. the additional problem is that the trash just builds up, until there is enough dirt that you are practically chipping trash out of the ground.

sweeping dirt. or really getting trash that has been built up in the dirt.

sweeping dirt. or really getting trash that has been built up in the dirt.

it wouldn’t be a real event in my site, if there was no pasacalle, so of course, after we filled trash bin upon trash bin, we got the school together to march through the streets with the municipality. hooray for the environment!

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keeping the tradition.

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the artisans i work with in site, work diligently to perfect their skill. they also work to keep the mochican tradition alive. the women receive take locally grown cotton, and using natural dyes from locally grown beans, they are able to have cotton with different shades of brown. they then create their own thread and material by a time-consuming spindling process. they then use this to create their various products. i have featured many other of their products: purses, blankets, headbands, wallets, jewelry, etc.

IMG_3650the artisans always include insignias from the mochican artwork, which can still be found in the pyramids, which are found in my site. they also work withe further developing their skills and products to make them more marketable to the tourists that frequent my town. the other week, they ladies had a workshop perfecting their hand-weaving.

IMG_3655during this workshop in particular, the women worked on creating table runners for more formal dining settings. though, truthfully, the work is so beautiful that it could just as well be a wall hanging. i have been continuing my work with the women on keeping track of their costs of production, as often their prices are ambiguously chosen, and at times doesn’t even cover their costs.

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corpus christi.

the painted streets.

the painted streets.

a couple of weeks ago, we celebrated corpus christi in our site. the schools and church painted the streets around the main plaza, and then sprinkled the streets with red dust. in there morning there was a procession throughout the streets and everyone celebrated with a large lunch with their family. needless to say, i didn’t know there was an actual holiday for this…only just a coastal city in south texas where i have fond memories building sand castles when i was kid.

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those moments.

those moments where you share mindless conversations with your fellow combi passengers, and the ebb-and-flow of the conversation comes with great ease, and the structure of the foreign language that you could not even utter one vowel of one year previously is slipping off your tongue with incredible ease. it’s those moments, where not only does the ease of a new, acquainted friendship is formed take you aback, but also where a new benchmark is set with my language level. it’s those moments that i cherish.

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