Thursday, February 28, 2013

“summer”


  • ·         It’s summer here in Peru –we’re on the other side of the world – and while for many parts of the country this means the usual beach-time and mosquitoes, it means RAIN in the sierra. The rain has been pretty intense, but it’s by far my favorite time of year- the mountains turn bright green, I get to go running in the rain, and the sound of the rain on the tin roofs is awesome.

  • ·         Summer in Peru also means summer vacations. Most places in Peru hold summer school, but for some reason my town really dropped the ball this year and decided not to provide anything. Last year I held my own formal “vacaciones utiles” (summer school), but since it ended up proving a lot of work for little reward, I knew I needed to do something different, something that I enjoyed.

    I asked my host sister to choose just four or five of her closest friends and decided to hold summer school with them. Some volunteers organize huge summer school programs for their entire site, and, really, I salute you, but I knew I wanted to work on a really small scale this year. Because of the size of the group we’ve been able to go on field trips, have cooking classes, and create a strong bond between the girls. It’s been perfect.

  
 
  • I needed a break and decided on a whim to go to Lima last weekend. It was great! Really hot, but so nice to be able to walk around in clothing that would be super inappropriate in my site (tank tops in Pariahuanca = no-no). And of course I ate. Lima is the best place to get American/non-Peruvian food and Peace Corps volunteers know how to aprovechar. [For you volunteers: I ate Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, frozen yogurt, ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT SUSHI (!), shwarma, hummus, and labneh, etc.]. And I got to run in Lima – the BEST! Running at sea level has to be one of the greatest feelings in the world. Lima is also an amazing place to run/walk in general – if/when you come to visit you should put it on your list of things to-do!

  • ·         Keren and I have been running an incredible program called MUNDO which is too hard/boring for me to explain here, just know that it is our most epic and sustainable project here and that we’ve gotten kids to eat falafel, play football, and Irish dance.

  • ·         Old news, but important: Christmas in-site was incredible once again. I spent as much time with my host family as I could. We watched Christmas movies, cuddled, ate lots of paneton and hot chocolate (omgsh I want that right now), and saw the pageant that the youth in my town put on. It was perfect. I do not know how I’m going to be able to leave them…




  • ·        Also old news: NEW YEARS! A bunch of volunteers decided to go down to Arequipa this year. Our friend Richard who lives there warned us that no one would be in the city and that everyone in the city heads to the beach. Luckily, Richard lives in Camana, a beach town on Arequipa’s coast! Can we talk about the most amazing site ever??? Camana is right on the water, has every amazing street food you could ask for, has beautiful plazas and walkways, has a ton of different markets, and is famous for its cremoladas (kind of like an Italian ice). I feel bad a lot of times for people on the coast (its HOT), but I do NOT feel bad for Richard or Kimberly, his site-mate. They struck gold, they won Peace Corps.

  • ·         I owe you guys a video blog – I’ve been prepping one FOREVER… I promise I’ll get at least one out before I leave. Here is my (extremely embarrassing) mid-service video that I made for the office (in Spanish):

                             

  • ·         BIG NEWS! I’ve gotten permission and registered for my second MARATHON!!! I will be running the Lima Marathon on May 19th, 2013. I am seven weeks into training and loving it! It’s been hard without Keren, but a good challenge to see if I can motivate myself.

  • ·         It’s that time of our service where everyone has started planning for their (gasp!) futures. There are still so many things I want to see and do in Peru, and there are also so many reasons I want to get home. And, yup. That’s all I can say about that for now without going totally crazy.


  • I am wearing my Simmon’s field hockey t-shirt that Katie sent me. It has easily become my favorite hanging-out shirt – thank you so much Katie, I love and miss you so much (and wish you luck this season!).


I miss ALL OF YOU SO, SO MUCH! A special shout-out to Kelsey – wishing her good luck and good health with the new addition to the family!!! Love you!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

if you read the entire thing, you win a hug!


Peace Corps is sometimes thought of as a vacation. I joined, in part, because I thought it would be a fun way to travel. And then there is the omnipresent nickname “Posh Corps”. 

Yes, there tends to be a lot of free time, but Peace Corps is not a vacation.

Before I came I noticed that a lot of volunteers would abruptly stop writing in their blogs, often explaining that at some point, their service became, simply, life, and that they didn’t feel the same novelty that they did in the beginning.

I think I finally understand this. 

Since July, life has been a little… slow. It hasn’t really been that exciting. A few interesting things happened during July and the beginning of August, but for the most part… mild sauce.

But things are starting to pick up again, and there are some blog-worthy stories, so you guys deserve an update. Just know that, while it’s still exciting to be in Peru, Pariahuanca is my home now, and life is a little less thrilling and a little more routine.


  • Party season has come and gone. It was pretty fun (and my past experience helped me to know when to attend, and when to bounce). I’m hoping to end my service around the Peruvian Independence Day, July 28 (Fiestas Patrias) next year, and go all out, party hard, and maybe even get in the bull ring a couple times… 
  • I’m so in love with my [family’s] dog, Canela. She went into heat a few months ago, triggering a pretty traumatic experience for me. I won’t go into too many details, but I will say that I made the decision to get her spayed (very uncommon in Peru). I cannot bring her back to the States - as much as I want to- so I want to make sure she’s going to be safe when I leave. The experience at the vet was unforgettable. My boyfriend Pat went with me and since the vet didn’t have an assistant, we basically were vet techs (just like Snooki – for my Jersey Shore fans). I’ve always considered myself pretty tough, but as soon as those guts were outside of her little doggie body, I got nauseous and lightheaded and had to sit down. Pat did well, and so did Canela. Tomorrow morning I get her stitches taken out and no longer have to worry about the whole thing.

  • Speaking of animals, I’m pretty sure I told you guys about the joke gift I got for my birthday last year from my friends Jeff and Nico. The ugliest chicken they could find? Well, it grew up to be quite the ugly chicken. I would always tell visitors to watch out for the ugliest chicken in the world, and my host sister, lover of every creature and beast, would always defend her, saying how beautiful a chicken she was. We named her Cala Cunca, naked neck, and she was a loveable part of the family. [Gross sidenote: Cala Cunca has been known to drink breastmilk that has spilled on the ground. Ew.] Well, Cala Cunca got the flu last week and my host mom, who also loved the chicken, tried to see if some cold medicine would help. Shortly after, Cala Cunca passed away. I was in the middle of a meeting with some students and my host mom gently interrupted, whispering so softly that Cala Cunca had died and explaining what had happened. She told me I should go upstairs and cut off its neck to bury it. It was a pretty silly endeavor, the whole fam crowded around to watch me fumble with the knife and cut the head off the still warm chicken. I buried her head so the dogs wouldn’t get to it. We ate Cala Cunca for lunch the next day which turned out to be the worst-tasting meal I have ever had at my host family’s house. Cala Cunca’s final revenge.
  • I made a deal with my school to paint a mural for them, in exchange for another wall to paint with my kids. I’ve been working on it for weeks, but its turning out nicely. It had to be based on values, but I got to design it myself. It certainly beats the ugly cement that was there before. I don't have a picture of the finished product, but here I am at the beginning:
  • Oh. Cant’ forget the strike. Not a lot to say, just that a teachers strike cancelled classes from the beginning of September until the end of October, and left me, and my projects, up in the air. We’re back in session now after two months, and that’s all I have to say about that.
  • September and October were especially hard for one explicit reason (and it wasn’t the strike). Rumors spread like wildfire that a girl from 4th grade had gotten pregnant. Now, my most important work for the past 7 months has been my sex-ed classes with the 4th and 5th graders (of secondary, there are also 4th and 5th primary classes). It’s been pretty great, albeit controversial, and this is information that they would never have received without these classes. So when I heard a 4th grader was pregnant, I was devastated. Not to mention the snarky comments I received from the principal about the failure of my classes. The news put me in a slump for about two whole months. Until, just last week, I found out some extremely bittersweet news… The girl was in 4th grade of PRIMARY. Meaning she was not a student of mine, but that she was also probably only 10 or 11 years old. It’s heartbreaking, but also motivational, I know there is still a whole lot of work I can do.
  • I’ve been teaching English to a son of a store owner here and it’s actually been very successful. My favorite part is when we review fruits and he imitates me by pronouncing banana “bah-nieh-niah”. Makes me laugh every time.
  • I celebrated Halloween this year IN MY SITE! I wanted to plan an easy, but festive activity for the kids in my town. Halloween here is kind of seen as something that only the upper classes do, as it’s celebrated in the big cities, but never in rural towns. So I did a short lesson on Halloween in each of the primary classrooms and handed out mask templates and string so that each of them had a costume. On the 31st one of my best friends in site, Zinthia, and I handed out candies to all the kids who stopped by the municipality in their masks. It was a huge success and it made up for September and October being so hard.
  • In other news, while celebrating Halloween with volunteers, I dressed up as a honey bear. Here I am at our favorite bar Trece Buhos with Keren who dressed up as a dead-on Frida Kahlo:
  • On November 1st we celebrated Todos Santos. Almost every family in these parts makes bread on Todos Santos for their deceased. Last year I didn’t get a chance to participate so this year I made a point to be there. We only had a short time slot at the bakery to use their oven so we worked quickly (over 5 hours) making all the different bread shapes that the spirits require (5 dolls, 5 bunches of bananas, 5 donkeys, etc.). And the bread was 100% made from scratch – we grew and dried all our own wheat. Peru defines the Locally-Grown movement. Here’s my host brother Diego with his awesome bread doll


  • I cannot speak or write in accurate English anymore.
  • Oh yeah, I climbed a mountain, Vallunaraju. Ice pick and all. Bam.


 

 And finally,
  • I come home to visit in TWO WEEKS. For thanksgiving.   I am going to eat ALL the food in the US (watch out Ethiopian restaurants and Trader Joes). And I am expecting BIG Amurican hugs. Please and Thank you.
This has been the world’s longest blog post. Goodnight.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

marathon post


If you’ve read my blog before, you know that my site-mate Keren and I just ran a marathon. Yay! I haven’t updated since then and I really wanted to tell you guys about it. [Side note: I know some people are like, who cares, so if that is you, don’t read this blog post, k? Okay great.]


After the first long run. Really muddy and wet.
In September/October of last year I realized I had turned into an utter goob of a person. Peace Corps tells you that its obscenely rude to object food and that if you don’t eat absolutely everything you will never have any friends in site, ever. Okay, also the food is delicious. But the Andean diet consists of mainly potatoes and rice and noodles and potatoes and potatoes and potatoes. So us lady-folk bulk up. Fast.

I also thought exercising was too hard here. The altitude kicked my ass – walking to work at 9,000 ft. raised my heart rate plenty. Doing P-90X in my room felt silly and wasn’t enough of a challenge. And then there were the dogs.

Let me tell you a little about the dogs here. They suck. Okay not all of them, but come on guys, let a girl try to lose some weight, aight? Running aggravates the crap out of dogs here. So do cars. And bicycles. But a short little girl with beefy legs running tauntingly past their house. Tempting.

So at the very beginning I went with my instinct- when a dog came after me, I ran. I booked it.

No.

Just no.

That is NOT what you do if a dog is coming at you. Boy, was I an idiot.

So then I did what I saw many people do. I threw rocks at the dog.

Also, no. Nope, wrong again. This will help when you have no other options, but still, no.

So for a while I was carrying hand-grenade-sized rocks around while I was running. It was kind of annoying. And I looked silly. People started to tell me, “Nooo, Alison, tienes que correr con un palo,” (you have to run with a stick!). I thought that sounded way dumber than this stupid rock I was carrying. I also thought they wanted to laugh at the crazy gringa running around with a stick.

But after a few too many run-ins with the dogs, I tried it. And I’ve never gone back. My host family even widdled me my very own palito and I’ve ran with the same stick for the past 8 months. I don’t leave home without it.

For the most part the dogs see my stick and leave me alone, but for the really scary dogs Keren has taught me you have to be bigger and scarier than the dog. Just so you know, we look stupid crazy when we do this. Imagine me with my hands above my head shouting obscenities and stomping towards the dog like the Where the Wild Things Are monsters. Whatever.

So that’s just the dogs.



In the states I worked out pretty religiously. As a former college athlete working out was extremely important to me. So when I finally started working out again here, after a 5 month hiatus… it was, well, ego-crushing. I couldn’t run at this altitude for even a minute at a time without getting winded (it really is hard, imagine running with a plastic bag over your head… actually, it’s EXACTLY like that). But I was determined and finally worked myself up to 30 and 40 minute runs.

I had heard about the Pacasmayo Marathon before coming to Peru. It’s one of the few full marathons held in Peru and was founded by a Peace Corps volunteer. I wanted a challenge, and when I realized I’d only have one chance to run it, I decided to go for it.

After the 12-mile long run of death. Large.
I used Hal Higdon’s beginner plan. The first weeks looked really doable (three to six mile long runs), but I had no idea how I’d work up to 12 miles or how the f I’d ever be able to run the longest training run at 20 miles.

Keren thought I was a crazy person – I was huffing through 40 minute runs, how in the world was I going to train for a marathon in the Andes. She was definitely not ever going to do that with me. Definitely not. Ever. Okay maybe she’d just join me for one run. Wait okay, Keren would train for a marathon with me.

We trained our asses off (literally) for 18 weeks. Keren and I would run along the Panamerican highway (super-safe, I promise, lol) for our long runs on Tuesday mornings when we both had time. During the week Keren ran this crazy tiny loop in her hilly site to get miles in, while I ran along this bumpy, rocky, back-road along the river and past the lime-mines.



I never thought long-distance running was for me. I am a stump of a person. I am built for speed, not for distance. Seriously, have you seen me? Sometimes I think God gave me these legs as a joke. But they’re strong. And I can beat anyone at a sprint. But I’m SLOW AS POOP on long runs. Slow. As. Poop.

But it turns out I love it. I LOVE it. I throw on my silly headphones (thanks a lot Ryan Johnson), head out at the crack of dawn with Keren and my stick, and just go. And of course the views here don’t hurt.

So on July 1st Keren and I ran that marathon. And we kicked ass. I thought for sure that, out of the handful of people (40) running the full marathon, I’d come in last, and I had come to terms with being followed by an ambulance the entire way. But I wasn’t last! I came in 6th out of the women (lol, out of the 7 that didn’t drop out). It was an extremely challenging course, the last eight miles were on sand. But it felt awesome, and I felt like I could run another 10 miles at the end. Our Peace Corps friends cheering us on got me to the end with negative splits (thanks Brit!!!). And because I got, um, just a little bit lost, I probably ran a kilometer over a marathon! So in general, major ass-kickage.

Keren and me after the marathon!


Marathon training consumed my life for most of 2012 and as soon as it was over, I wanted more.

We have the dirtiest marathon feet.
So Keren and I are going to run the Lima half-marathon in six weeks. Then get super fast. Then get six-pack abs. Then run an ultra-marathon.

Okay, I’ll shut up now, now I really am just being annoying.




Goodnight guys!






P.S. Grandma! You ran a marathon! I always joke with you and say you’re going to run a race with me someday. Then, on Thanksgiving, when I told you on the phone that you should run the marathon with me and you laughed, I decided I’d make it happen no-matter-what. So on July 1st 2012, you and I both set out to complete 26.2 miles and you got me all the way to the end. [Check out the photos below - I pinned you to my number]. I love you so much! Way to go!





UPDATE:
I can now add chicken heart (complete with arteries) and sun-dried beef (from our bull that fell over dead from illness) to my list of crazy meats I’ve eaten in Peru. Hooray for protein!

Friday, June 29, 2012

i earned these calories


Chilling in my room, listening to Wale’s 90210. I’ve got class in about an hour. Making pizza for my host family for dinner. It’s a pretty relaxing afternoon.

  • I’ve forgotten to tell you all one of the most important details of my current life! Alison Elizabeth Mendoza Flores! That’s right, my host mom had her baby girl and I got a namesake! She is the most precious, amazing, little, bite-sized angel. She weighed only about four kilos when she was born but she’s growing quickly. Here’s a pic if you missed her on facebook:



  • I’ve started up some clubs for the kids in my town. Today is the first session with the secondary kids… a lot of them work afterschool in their houses or chacras, so we’ll see about the turnout. But I’m really excited about the primary school session. The first day 18 kids showed up. I’ve started a rhythm that I feel comfortable with – icebreaker/improve games to start out, read a storybook aloud/do a little bit of learning, then do a craft project roughly related to the book/lesson. I’ll be sure to take pictures to share with you.

  • I run the marathon on SUNDAY! Ah! I am too nervous to write anything else about it.

  • After the aforementioned activity I get to rest on the beaches of Pacasmayo and Huanchaco for Fourth of July vacations. I am super excited to see some of my favorite volunteers, eat pizza, get sunburned, and go TO THE MOVIES with my training partner-in-crime-and-stupidity (stupidity being training for a marathon at 9,000 feet).

  • I think there is a chicken in my room… is there a chicken in my room? Wait, I’m gonna go check… Okay I don’t see anything… Weird.

  • I never really told you guys much about Carnaval in Cajamarca, did I? Well, that was a mistake. Because it was AWESOME. One of the craziest experiences of my entire life, hands down. Imagine thousands of people storming the streets of a major city, throwing paint and water at everyone in their paths. No one is spared. People walk the streets in gangs, usually accompanied by a marching band and everyone is dancing and drinking and playing. It is a whole day event and the entire city gets into it. If you ever have a chance to come to Peru in March, you have to check it out. Plus Cajamarca is beautiful. Definitely going next year.


After the paint war.

 Cajamarca is super green.

  • THIRTY SEVEN kids ended up showing up to that primary art and reading club class. WAY too many. Success or fail? Erm...

That’s all for now folks, love you all.
Wish me luck on the marathon - I'll need it!

-Ali

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

can i please get some ethiopian food?

Okay, I gotta stay off foodgawker.com and write this blog post. But seriously, homemade beer ricotta cheese and/or smore stuffed French toast? Come. ON.

I’m considering changing my blog title to peruADHD according to the following bullet-point format which I hope to continue to use… what do you guys think?

 • I’m still training for a marathon, who knew? The marathon is the Pacasmayo Marathon and is July 1st meaning Keren and I have a month left of training. This week is the peak week (mileage of 40 this week!) and then we get to start tapering – yay! I’m actually really looking forward to this week’s long run of 20 miles. The long runs haven’t been so bad lately, actually they’ve been kind of good, but I think Keren and I are starting to burn out and get bored. Training for a marathon really is like a part-time job. Whatever. I’m training for a marathon at 9,000+ feet. Baller.

• I have a feeling that my parents may have already told many of you guys all about this, but they came to visit! IT WAS INCREDIBLE. First Cesca came (!!!) and since she’s been to Peru before and her current job is amazing, we were able to just relax and hang out in Lima together for the weekend. It was perfect, we just lounged around at hostels and walked and ate a bunch around Miraflores for a couple days. Lovely, lazy, vacation with a bestie. Perfection.
I took Ces to the airport and waited for my parents to arrive. I think I waited somewhere around 9 hours, but I was surrounded by Papa Johns, Starbucks, and wifi, so… yeah. I had told my parents that I’d be waiting for them at the hotel, but was going to surprise them at the arrival gate. Even before seeing me they came out of the gate with huge smiles on their faces, even after a long international flight. I tried to yell to them but my tears choked me up entirely, I had to run to them and could barely muster a “mom” or “dad”. I was bawling - it felt so good to be back in their arms. I’m pretty sure all the Peruvians at the airport were staring at the three of us gringos crying. It was SO incredible to see them. We spent the week in both luxury and adventure. I’m asking them to write a guest post, so I’ll let them share their experiences. It was a trip I will never forget, and I was so happy to share my life here with them. I miss my family too much.





 • I’ve been really missing friends lately. I don’t know if it’s because its almost been a year away (June 9th!) or if it’s because many are together again, or because of my birthday, but I miss you guys. A lot. I’ll be visiting in November and I so hope I can see you all.

• Speaking of my birthday. My friends here celebrated with me and it was awesome. Even though original plans were completely thwarted because of a national protest and an abundance of road blocks, it turned out to be amazing. To paraphrase: really awesome long hike, bacon egg and cheese and huancaina sandwiches, hash browns, mimosas, French toast with cream cheese glaze, triple X, trece buho’s last night, potato gift, and a live chicken that now follows my host mom around like a dog.

• Still in love with my host family. Tomorrow I’m going to be my host sister Meche’s ‘madrina’ (godmother) for her inauguration as a school officer. Excited. She’s the best. Last night my host family and I stayed up after dinner for a while as my host mom and dad told me stories of the ‘virgencitas’ and the lakes around where we live. Apparently the lake above us will speak to the town when there is danger of it flooding and creating mud slides (a serious danger in Peru). It would warn my host grandmother in the past and she would take my host mom and the fam up to the surrounding mountains to sleep. There are also two ‘virgencitas’ that my host family strongly confide in. Virgenes are like saints, they are different images of the Virgin-Mary and each has special qualities. The two my host family reveres are the Virgencita Mercedes and the Virgencita Lourdes. I’m a little scared of Mercedes because apparently you can ask her to kill off your children and she’ll do it. But Lourdes is tight. She cures you when you’re ill and is apparently a good friend. Loads of other good tales from where we live. I’ll write up some more later.

• My dog died. Technically its my host family’s dog, but she follows me everywhere and I take care of her. My amazing, adorable, little puppy named Canela (cinnamon). A ton of dogs around us were poisoned (its pretty common in Peru for your neighbors to poison your dog), but I didn’t want to believe it until I saw her body for myself. On my birthday hike we were 4 hours hiking straight up from my site and a small dog ran up to me. I immediately started bawling. It was Canela!!! She wasn’t dead, someone had stolen her! She recognized me and started crying too. It was unbelievable. So I did what anyone else would do, I stole her back. It was the best birthday present I could ever get. I love that little nugget so much. Oh and sorry I tricked you and said she was dead. Gotcha.




• I still am really, REALLY craving Ethiopian food. UGHHHHH I want it so bad. Other than people, its probably what I miss most about the states. Fatkidsrule. Love you all, miss you. Come to Peru!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

si se puede

After a week long vacation with friends and with only a week and a half before Cesca and my parents visit (!), I decided that I needed to work my ass off when I was in site in April. I’ve been holding lots of classes, trying to visit everyone I can around town, running, and visiting with my host family as much as I can. I’ve been really good.

So last night when I was told there would be a ‘faena’ at the school today I thought it would be a great moment to get some face time with my community and the parents. A ‘faena’ is a community clean-up, in this case, all the parents of the students at our school were mandated to come and do general labor to clean up the school and get it ready for the school anniversary.

My host dad has been hard at work on completing an amazing bathroom (inside the house!) and he is almost done. I think that is why my host mom was going to go to the ‘faena’ as the house representative. But seriously, she’s going to pop out this kid any second now, and it was ridiculous for her to have to go.

So… I offered to go as her replacement.

Right after I said I’d do it, I regretted it. Sure, I’ve worked a variety of manual labor jobs before, and I know how to work my ass off. But Peruvians are EPIC at manual labor. Especially the women. They can actually move mountains then go home, cook lunch for their families, hand wash loads of laundry, clean the house, and still have the afternoon free. Epic.

I woke up early this morning reluctant but knowing that I would earn major points from my town if I worked hard. I got to the school, put my host mom’s name down on the attendance list and after a few minutes of discussion (I got to tell all the men how to build the ‘pozo’ for the trash!), I went off with the women to find a group that I thought I might be able to work with.

Photobucket

I found myself with a group of about 10 women and we were told to clean up the entrance of the school. We moved hundreds of rocks, tree-length logs, huge tree stumps, and, using their picks, we pulled up a lot of grass and weeds. I was literally covered in poop for most of it – it wasn’t the cleanest area. Once I picked up a rock that had ‘sorpresa’ on it (surprise) and I didn’t realize for a while that it was definitely poo and not just dirt. It was all over me. Pretty gross.

It was great practice for my Quechua though, most of the ladies didn’t speak Spanish (even though they all understand). And of course, anything I said in Quechua cracked them up. I’m glad I chose a group of women I didn’t know as well, I feel like I made a few new allies today. At one point I even applied sunscreen to a group of new lady friends (I think some of them thought it was going to turn them pale… erm, no, sorry bout that guys). I also promised to them that I would try liquefied frog in the near future and let them know how it goes. Something to look forward to.

When we had to pull up this hundreds-of-years-old tree stump and push it across the entrance I just looked at them with disbelief. There was NO way they were moving this tree stump. Imagine 7 older women in skirts and sandals trying to move a 6 foot wide tree stump. I dunno. In my mind there was no way this was going to happen. I told them so, too. As soon as I said “Guys, there’s no way,” all of them, with big smiles on their faces, started chanting “Si se puede! Si se puede!” and that tree stump started moving. We were all laughing and chanting by the time we got the tree stump to its destination.

Photobucket

After 5 more stumps, 20-plus hauls of weeds and trash, and hundreds of rocks cleared out, we were finally done.



So yeah, I think I earned some major points today.

I’m pooped.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

i recieve payment in food

Oh man… it’s the start of the Peruvian school year (*remember I’m a youth development volunteer). And honestly (oh god, I’m totally jinxing myself) things have been going pretty well! I present my community diagnostic on Tuesday morning (ohgodohgodohgod).

Oh wait, I bet you guys have no idea what a community diagnostic is… okay so for the first 3-4 (…or 5, okay 6) months my time in site was dedicated to completing a diagnostic where you assess your community.

Wow this is sounding super boring. Just know that I assessed my community and its development opportunities (especially related to youth).

So yeah. Also I’ve realized it’s hard for gringas to get people to attend their meetings so, my plan – make the meeting/presentation as fun as possible! Games! American cookies! PowerPoint presentations!

That last one probably sounds like no fun to you city-folk, but dude. Multimedia high-five. Our school just got a second projector and a laptop and a real screen! Like one of those pull down ones! Uh, huh, you heard me right, a real screen! Does this mean educational movie-nights are in my future?! Yes please! (…dork)

So other than my diagnostic presentation, I also am starting my sex-ed and adolescent health classes on Monday! So. Psyched. Two times a week during “tutoria” – kind of like home room. Condom races here we come!

And I’ve been teaching my professors English. Which is going really great. Today they were throwing out sentences left and right. And they brought me a liter of yogurt, a liter of juice, and a huge package of crackers. I love having to receive payments in food.

Um… what else?

Oh! Today I got two pairs of St. Patrick’s day themed socks in the mail from my mom! One of the best surprises ever. I laughed all the way to the internet cafĂ©. Although Danny Cackley’s letter I received last week might be the best. And coming in third was the hammentaschen Keren’s mom sent. Yum. How am I not Jewish yet?

Been missing friends a lot still. CESCA – Francesca Ioffreda is coming to visit me in late April and THEN (!) my parents arrive the day she leaves. I tear up just thinking about it.

Okay I’m bored and sleepy. This was such a weird blog post, sorry bout that. There’s a video blog coming up in a week or so…

Happy St. Patricks Day!




P.S. Sorry I'm not adding photos, internet is slow. Check the facebook if you want a photo update...