Tag Archives: food

una noche en el campo.

dinner by candlelight.

dinner by candlelight.

a couple of weeks ago, i had the opportunity to have a sleepover with one of my lambaybesties in the campo. she lives in a caserio outside of changoyape. the next day i was going to head to chaparri, and her site is the last place before the reserve, plus we got to have some quality time!!! we ate some veggies and watched the count of monte cristo, and basically were just cracking ourselves up about how gross it is to be a peace corps volunteer sometimes…don’t worry, i will spare you the details. but it was such a fun night!

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camp ALMA.

the whole camp!

the whole camp!

this past weekend all of the volunteers in my department and i had our first camp of the year: camp ALMA!!!! it involved a lot of preparation, teamwork, a lot of support from our communities and especially from you guys back home!!!

camp ALMA is a yearly camp that we as volunteers put together for young women (ages 13-18) in our communities. for many, it’s their first time of sleeping away from home, and for all it’s their first time to camp and sleep in tents. each volunteer brings 2 girls that have demonstrated great leadership skills in their communities, and they have an opportunity to build long-lasting friendships with other girls, and also learn about what the realities are of other people’s homes. for many of these girls, it’s also an opportunity to build a new support network with other girls their age who can support them in their goals to attend university and other career aspirations, as quite often this type of support is not found in the home. the camp also strives to empower the girls to be in control of the decisions that are going to be making in their life. and finally, the camp is just a lot of FUN!

activities included:

  • team cheer-off contests

    team rojo's chant.

    team rojo’s chant.

  • teambuilding exercises
  • trust falls…because camp would be incomplete without them
  • belly dancing lessons
  • creating community maps to share about the communities
  • self-esteem, values and decision making
  • environmental awareness
  • group discussion with an obstetrician379655_10101100300600649_1065955547_n
  • cuy farming
  • mural painting
  • telenovela play
  • volleyball tournament
  • campfire with s’mores
  • peruvian women who made history
  • yogurt making
  • career assessment exam
  • career fair

    team rojo!

    team rojo!

  • sexual education: condom use, abstinence, finding an ideal partner
  • talent show
  • question and answer time
  • condom race
  • talent show
  • …and so many other fun games!
the amazing lambayeque volunteers! and apparently too much work has made us crazy...

the amazing lambayeque volunteers! and apparently too much work has made us crazy…

and to think we packed all this into 3 days is crazy! but the girls and all the volunteers had quite the memorable three days. when we left, all the girls were writing down their emails and other contact information so they could keep in touch with their new friends.  numerous hugs were given. and for a few, even some tears of goodbye. and let’s not forget, that these girls walked away being empowered with new knowledge of self-awareness and a sense of capability that they can accomplish their goals, and that numerous before have done so, and so can they. and that is a mission accomplished.

always fun and games with us! thanks again for your support!!!

always fun and games with us! thanks again for your support!!!

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(b)earth day.

where to even start? yesterday was an incredible (and long) day, and i felt love from all over the world. a birthday is quite the holiday in peru. in fact, legally, people are free from all work for the day…unless you are a peace corps volunteer.

it all started the night before where mp presented me a video of all those i love and have loved throughout my life wishing me a happy birthday. there were friends from high school, college and beyond, and people fro seattle, nyc, boston, utah, all over texas and everywhere in between. within seconds of seeing hans dialing the phone (the opening shot of the video), i was left in tears. tears of feeling so much love from back home. for those four minutes, the usa and all those i love there no longer seemed so far away. it was the best way to start the day.

samia barged into my room to show off her new brigadir uniform, which then followed with my host mom running in to hug me and sing happy birthday to me. i then worked on finalizing the details of my earth day event for the morning, and i learned with about 10 minutes in advance that the ong that was coming to speak about reforestation in the bosque was not going to make it…so i had 10 minutes to come up with an hour-long charla about the environment.

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luckily, you learn to get pretty creative on the fly in peace corps. additionally, i was greeted with 70 students at my colegio singing happy birthday to me!

say, what?!

say, what?!

for the charla, i had an environmental youtube video i showed, then spent 30 minutes rambling about the ecosystem and reforestation. i also had us play a game outside…which went…well…let’s just say i was able to tie it all back in.

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afterwards, we planned a pasacalle in conjunction with the primeria, and my students followed behind and cleaned up trash on the streets, while the primary kids, ironically, used more resources to look cute in earth day costumes and posters…and was burning trash to show the consequences of doing so…i still haven’t figured that one out yet…

me with some of my alumnos ready to pick up the litter!

me with some of my alumnas ready to pick up the litter!

blanca with her cutiepatootie students!

blanca with her cutiepatootie students!

seriously. i don't get the burning things to make a point act, but it's peru...so it does kind of make sense...

seriously. i don’t get the burning things to make a point act, but it’s peru…so it does kind of make sense…

taking over the pan-american highway...it's what we do best.

taking over the pan-american highway…it’s what we do best.

you know, if one’s peace corps service was determined by the number of pasacalles one does…then i would be the pcv all-star…only because my site loves them, and is pretty reluctant to try something else…pero poco a poco we will see what we can do about that…

after an exhausting morning of corralling the alumnos around town and cleaning the streets, i came home and watched samia all afternoon. and she really demonstrated what it means to be four…tears…all day…for no reason…well, honestly, it was because she was exhausted, but i felt the consequences of that. for 3 1/2 hours straight it was just tears. at about the 2 hour mark it just became impressive.

also, our pesky chanchito has gotten bigger, stronger and smarter and keeps escaping. so i had to run after him a couple of times yesterday and redo his stake in the ground, which resulted him in getting his piggy-ness all over me…gross…

hammering the stake back into the ground...he was too close for my liking...

hammering the stake back into the ground…he was too close for my liking…

later that evening my family returned home, and they surprised me with my favorite meal: pollo a la brasa and of course, some birthday cake!

mi mama, yo y samia!

mi mama, yo y samia!

millie did such a great job on picking out the cake!

millie did such a great job on picking out the cake

i gave samia the reigns on my camera. i look like a giant in a 4-year-old's eyes...not complaining...

i gave samia the reigns on my camera. i look like a giant in a 4-year-old’s eyes…not complaining…

the johnsons wished me an extra special birthday with a special blog post on cat’s website. it still makes me smile!

later, i went to mochumi to visit with my branch president. sunday, after church, a lady there randomly asked me when my birthday was and so i responded with “tomorrow.” this caused my branch president to run after me in the street and invite me back the chapel the next day for “something.” i figured it was going to be cake, and when i was walking up i could here some of the kids say “ella viene!, ella viene!” but then the lights went out and it was just my branch president. he then proceeded to pretend to “interview” me/have a birthday chat. we then went downstairs, and they hit the lights, and i was greeted by everyone in my branch for a surprise party. it was great! there was a saxophone. and decorations. it was the best. they made me dance in the middle with every male in the room (per tradition). they pushed my face into my cake (per peruvian tradition). we danced to the saxophone some cumbia, huayno and marinera. everyone gave some palabras (per peruvian custom).

my branch president and family. love these people so much.

my branch president and family. love these people so much.

listening to the wonderful words of people in my branch.

listening to the wonderful words of people in my branch.

danixa giving her palabras.

danixa giving her palabras.

seriously. love this girl. she has come such a long way since i arrived.

seriously. love this girl. 

lourdes, jasmin and their sister. some of the girls i work with.

lourdes, jasmin and their sister. some of the girls i work with.

making my wish and getting ready to blow out my candle...

making my wish and getting ready to blow out my candle…

lucho wanted me to play his saxophone in our picture. seriously. this man has some great talent.

lucho wanted me to play his saxophone in our picture. seriously. this man has some great talent.

not an awkward picture with the elders. ha.

not an awkward picture with the elders. ha.

the leftovers.

the leftovers.

it was just so incredible. my heart was so full. in fact, it is still so full of all the outpouring of love i received yesterday. i wish i could stress just how small the world felt yesterday, because i truly felt love from all those all around the world. i have been less than enthused about turning 28 (for the first time in my life i feel old…), but i couldn’t have had a better day…including the chasing down our pig. also, i realized that birthdays are really just days to celebrate your relationship with all of those around you in your life, and i am grateful that i was able to do so!

peru. i fell more in love with you yesterday. every one else, thank you for making me feel so loved and cared for. i am so blessed.

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anna howard shaw day.

thursday marked my first valentine’s day in peru. here in peru, it is also dia de la amistad (day of friendship). so a few other volunteers and i decided to get together and spend the day at the beach, since 3 of us had valentine’s that we could not celebrate with. however, that did not leave me without surprises, which made me the luckiest girl at least out of our group, but i am just going to say in the whole world. the volunteers were coordinated to show up with flowers or balloons for me to receive from them throughout the day, and then lunch was taken care of, which made all the other volunteers extremely happy. at first it caught me by surprise and i didn’t believe and thought it all to be a joke, but then each time my heart kept melting. the best part though was that i was able to share my valentine’s with everyone, and we were all able to partake in the happiness.

i came out of the bathroom, and all the volunteers set up their balloons and flowers for me. ha. ps. the balloons are SUPER popular here for valentine's. there were people selling them everywhere.

i came out of the bathroom, and all the volunteers set up their balloons and flowers for me. ha.
ps. the balloons are SUPER popular here for valentine’s. there were people selling them everywhere.

the post-lunch damage. ceviche, arroz con mariscos, tortillas de choclo, papas fritas, camote fritos, pisco sours, and a 1/2 jar of fresh mango juice for me. needless to say, we were all quite full after.

the post-lunch damage. ceviche, arroz con mariscos, tortillas de choclo, papas fritas, camote fritos, pisco sours, and a 1/2 jar of fresh mango juice for me. needless to say, we were all quite full after.

we then spent a couple of hours at the beach in puerto eten. and i was able to boogie board!

we then spent a couple of hours at the beach in puerto eten. and i was able to boogie board!

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all’s well that ends well.

our last evening together.

our last evening together.

despite the altitude sickness we still had a blast traveling around peru, and trying all sorts of new and delicious food and seeing incredible sites throughout the country. it was such a treat to be able to share my life, my site, my community, my family with mp, and now there is someone else back home who knows what i am talking about when i talk about the ants in my bed, the pig outside my window and how much samia has grown.

for our last night together, we had a grand finale of some sorts. we dined at the world-renowned astrid y gaston, listed as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world…and goodness it was worth all the hype. it has been almost 4 days since we have eaten there and i am still full. the flavors there were incredible and they really did take peruvian cuisine up a number of levels…which i, honestly, didn’t think was possible. plus, it was just fun to spend a nice quiet evening together before we said goodbyes at the airport.

today marks my first day back to work in site…which really means that i will be going from socio to socio to let them know i am here…that i didn’t move away…and to just talk and see what i can do to get myself back into the swing of things. site is still site. there are still a number of ants in my bed and they have moved back into my computer as well. the pig in my backyard has gotten a little bigger…samia has gotten a little taller as well…and the weather only seems to be getting hotter. i guess it’s summertime here…now i just need to see if the mangoes are getting sweeter…

also. just a short 3.5 months until i make my way back to the states for a quick visit to mp. considering that it had been 6.5 months previously, this should go faster than lightening…i hope!

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barranco.

the streets were lined with old houses that made me feel like i was in the old-timey french quarter of new orleans.

the streets were lined with old houses that made me feel like i was in the old-timey french quarter of new orleans.

while walking along the beach, we made our way over to the neighboring district of barranco. it’s known for it’s architecture, as it was the home of  many of the french and italian immigrants. now it is just full of ceviche restaurants and to a more relaxed bohemian feel than the rest of of its neighbors.

we grabbed some ceviche at canta rana, which had the best ceviche i have ever had. the atmosphere of the restaurant was a delightful change of pace as well.

we grabbed some ceviche at canta rana, which had the best ceviche i have ever had. the atmosphere of the restaurant was a delightful change of pace as well.

i loved the delightful little library in the town plaza.

i loved the delightful little library in the town plaza.

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master chefs.

one our favorite pastimes together is cooking, and what better way to also create a cultural exchange than food! the tricky part was picking out meals that we could find all the ingredients for and have it be something that peruvians would like.

for our first meal, we made a classic southern bbq lunch: bbq chicken, corn bread, mashed potatoes, carrots and coke...though the carrots were the least popular item, they enjoyed everything else!

for our first meal, we made a classic southern bbq lunch: bbq chicken, corn bread, mashed potatoes, carrots and coke…though the carrots were the least popular item, they enjoyed everything else!

we also made breakfast on christmas morning: french toast with homemade whipped cream...which was more like a sauce, homemade strawberry syrup, and scrambled eggs. yum!

we also made breakfast on christmas morning: french toast with homemade whipped cream…which was more like a sauce, homemade strawberry syrup, and scrambled eggs. yum!

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sangre.

sangre. an important word that i should have known. a word that because i didn’t know, left me feeling ill. a word that proved that sometimes what you eat really is mind over matter.

vaso de leche had a training meeting for the chapter presidents who also do commodores populares (a small-scale soup kitchen-esque type program). they were teaching a great/easy/tasty/healthy snacks for kids and adults, with the key ingredient being sangre. again. the keyword that i did not know.

i arrived, and the meeting started 2 ½ hours late. when i walked in, i glanced over at the table and saw a paint bucket full of red liquid. it looked like watered-down red paint, and i thought to myself, “wow, i guess peruvians really do add water to their paint.” (my host mom and i had a discussion about this last week).

then later, once we started the activity, they poured the red liquid into a blender. again, i didn’t think to much of it. peruvians are quite resourceful with their items, and so i figured they needed to further blend this new fruit/veggie that i had never heard of. this is also plausible, because there are a number of foods here that are entirely new here, and are not served in their natural form (e.g. maracuya).

the part the stuck out as weird was that we then boiled this liquid, which in my mind really confirmed that this must be a liquefied vegetable. the part that was truly strange was that the red vegetable turned brown once cooked. we then cut up more veggies and fried them in pattie form for croquettes, which were quite tasty. i was taking a lot of notes, because it seemed like a dish that i could refine and make back in the states.

after, we took the left over cooked sangre that was not used for the croquettes, and put it in the blender with vanilla, cookies and, of course, sugar, and made a really tasty mousse. i was about 2/3 of the way through my mousse, savoring ever bite, when i finally asked what the significance for sangre was…biggest mistake i could have made that day.

it was then explained to me that it cow blood, and very nutritious and helps with anemia. well, there went my appetite. it truly was an occasion, where not knowing would have been in my best interest. my stomach did not settle well for the rest of the night, purely because my brain was freaked out. in fact, it still gets a little tussled with the thought.

but seriously, who makes a dessert with cow blood?

oh well, peace corps, right?

ps. did i mention that i picked out a live maggot out of my salad this week? don’t worry, i didn’t eat it…at least that one…

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