Back in the Saddle

July 23, 2007 at 9:06 pm | Posted in correspondence, family, food, friends, micronegocios, Peace Corps, pictures, travel | 1 Comment

I made it back to Yanacoto in one piece early Sunday morning. I was able to sleep for most of the 7 hour bus ride from Huaraz, and got to see Lima bright and early in the morning. It was dark, polluted, and rainy, at least the parts I went through, and I was ready to get out. A couple of people stuck around to hang out in Lima and apparently got trapped b/c of a parade. I went the cheapo route and took a 7am combi back to Yanacoto with Rachel and Greg, on which we luckily only had to spend half the trip standing. Got home around 8am, showered, and passed out for a while. It was a lazy Sunday in every sense of the word.

The trip to the department of Ancash was a rousing success from every angle. I got to take TWO hot showers (the rest were tepid), I saw some incredible sights (starting out with Harry Potter 5 before we left Lima last Saturday), was able to put into practice some of the language and technical skills I’ve been working so hard on the last few weeks, and got to spend good QT with my group. I spent two days worth of ‘salary’ to go see a subtitled version of HPV a week ago and it was the best 15 soles I’ve spent thus far. I loved the movie (I’m a huge HP fan), and it was actually really odd to do such a typical homegrown ‘American’ thing in Peru. When I walked out of the theater and heard people speaking spanish it actually threw me off guard for a minute. I thought Helena Bonham Carter made a great Beatrix Lestrange, though felt lukewarm about the choice for Dolores Umbridge. Am still loving Emma Thompson and that other British guy who plays Snape and got thrown off the Nakatomi towers in Die Hard 1. Alan something.

I ramble. I’ve posted lots of pictures on my picasa site, they start off in Chiquian at our hotel and then a hike we did in the early afternoon to a waterfall about 2 hours from the town. The views of the mountains, as you can see, are truly unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life; the contrast of green on blue on white was incredible. It is hard to believe people live their whole lives with this view out their windows. There are a couple of pictures of my students and the ‘Bank of Chiquian’ that we opened with Peace Corps money to make loans. As I believe I mentioned in a prior post, every one of the 13 groups was able to make enough money to at least repay their loans. A group of my students who ran a Bingo game actually made about 200 soles which is double what any other group made. I got to play the part of Vanna White in the bingo game and I believe there is a photo of that, as well as the makeshift bingo board. The first round, we realized that we were missing some numbers, so Greg and I made some bingo balls out of toilet paper and a red pen:

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I finally tried cuy, which is the Peruvian word for guinea pig, and is a delicacy here. It tasted pretty good, and apparently is the best source of protein you can get. Most of the people (outside of the vegetarians) in my group tried and it and I think it was well received overall,

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Yummy, no? The rest of the pics are from Huaraz, and some ancient ruins, and of Huascaran, which is the highest peak in Peru and second highest in South America. I’ve included my favorite shot of Huascaran below, but there are plenty more on my picasa site.
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How incredible is that? We visited a lake that sits right at the base of the mountain (about 3800 meters above sea level) and there are some shots of that as well. The colors there seemed as though they were from a different palette than what real life is made of. The water was this incredible green blue color, and contrasted with the orange bark of the trees, and the brown and whites of the mountains and snow. As per usual, words fail me, but I hope the point comes across in the pictures. Aside from the incredible sightseeing, the chance to go into a community and put into action all that I had been preparing over the last few weeks was a real confidence booster, and I’m proud to say that we were extremely well-received by the people of Chiquian. The students were hard working and enthusiastic and really put their heart and souls into their projects. I think every single volunteer walked away feeling successful and that should really give everyone a great platform from which to jump off once they get into site.

To close, thank you Mom, Dad, Nana and Papa for the continual letters. I love getting them and read them over and over again. I actually keep them next to my bed and read them sometimes before I go to sleep. It sounds silly, but it makes me feel much more connected to home. Thanks also to Susan for the lovely and inspirational card. I teared up a bit when I opened it at the center today and that was slightly embarrassing, but well worth it. Finally, THANK YOU PATRICK for the awesome books and t-shirt and card. I got one book of Spanish short stories and one of poems and both books have the spanish writing on one page with english translation on the opposite page. I can’t wait to read these and there is actually a line of people who want to borrow them, but I don’t know if I want to let anyone borrow them for fear of not getting them back!! I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. It is very appreciated so thank you, gracias, grazie, spaiciba, and thank you in whatever other languages I don’t know. I hope the pictures I posted can give you all some way of enjoying what I’m experiencing, as I’m enjoying all your thoughtful gifts and letters ever so much.

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  1. happy very late birthday, feliz cumpluanos muchos tarde, buon compleanno molto tardi, etc. etc.!!!

    ps love the pics. who knew cooked guinea pigs were so cuyte?


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