August 4, 2007 at 3:23 pm | Posted in friends, micronegocios, Peace Corps, travel | Leave a comment

Tomorrow I’m headed to the department of Lambayeque to check out my new site for the next two years. I’m going to Túcume to work with a small artisan association. From what I can gather, the artisan association is pretty well formed (at the least, they have a letterhead), and are looking to take their production to to the next level, be it through national and international fairs, or a website, or tourism, or some combination of those and other factors. It will be interesting to see just how the organization works, and I’m REALLY curious about their products; I know nothing about them as of yet.

As far as Túcume goes, I don’t have too much information. I know it will be hot, but that is not something I’m worried about coming from DC. The capital city of Lambayeque, Chiclayo, is known as the center of friendship (or something similar that sounds way less lame in Spanish), and the people of that department are known for being very open and friendly. I’ll be about an hour north of Chiclyao and I’ll be neither on the coast, nor in the mountains, nor in the desert. It sounds like I’ll be in a valley and it will be fairly green. In any case, I’m surrounded on all sides by environmental volunteers so there are sure to be some beautiful sights nearby, if not right in my town. I think it is not a huge town, but its not tiny either. The entire district of Túcume has about 21K population, so I’m guessing the town itself has maybe 15K (?). There are six high schools in the district which means I’ll definitely have an opportunity to work with kids. There was an ICT (information, communications, technology) volunteer there a few years ago, but I’ll be working on different projects than he did, and I’m really glad that I’ll get to start afresh on my own project, but that I get to work with a group that already has some structure to it. There are a lot of ruins and pyramids in and around the town so I’m hoping to do some work with tourism as well.

Family-wise, most people got a several page packet detailing their new family members, their ages and occupations, amenities of the household and other tidbits of info. I got a name and an address. Oh well, I’m learning to love the element of surprise. I leave Sunday night for a 12-hour bus trip to Chiclayo. I spent Monday and Tuesday in Chiclayo, and on Tuesday afternoon I’ll meet my counterpart who is the head of the artisan association. Tuesday night I head up to Túcume with him and will spend Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday there getting to know the community and my new family (!). Saturday I head back to Chiclayo and take another overnight bus to arrive back in Lima Sunday morning.

I’m pretty excited to get there and see what is what. Now that everyone knows their sites, it seems that every place has its pluses and minuses, so my guess is that a lot of the stress and anxiety my friends and I have been dealing with over the last few weeks was probably unnecessary (but also probably unavoidable). Also, my closest friends from the group have been spread out all over the place; Arequipa, Piura, Lima, Cajamarca, Ancash, and even a few in Lambayeque with me! Hopefully this means I’ll be doing lots of cheap traveling within Peru.

Whew – what a long and emotional day it has been. I’m glad the site selection is all said and done. I can’t really say that I am feeling too strongly in any direction about my site, I guess I still feel that I lack sufficient information to make an informed decision. Nevertheless, I am definitely ready to get started on my service and to start figuring out what I’m going to do with myself for the next two years. This upcoming week should prove to be quite the adventure.


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