Festival Preps

January 16, 2008 at 8:36 pm | Posted in dancing, friends, party, teaching, tourism | 1 Comment

The big party is about to get going here in Tucume. According to townspeople, men and women from all over the world to come and experience the joys of the Tucume fiesta. I believe this will be much like other Peruvian fiestas; religious undertones, children doing cute stuff, drunk people, cumbia ’till you drop, etc. I’m excited though, I’m going to be the co-MC of a concurso de Tondero, which is a competition of a typical Peruvian dance. I’m MC-ing with the same guy who did the Miss Inikuk competition; apparently I wowed him with my near-speechlessness at the last big event, and he asked me to be his co-animadora. Here’s hoping he doesn’t talk more about the English and the Native Americans.

I’m also helping to plan a “Noche de Folklore” with the Casa de Cultura (house of culture) which is coming up next week. We have invited singers and dancers from around the region to come and perform. Interestingly enough, most of the meetings to plan these events revolve around finding ways to fund them. Most of the groups who put them on are doing it, in part, to fund their own organizations. None, however, has saved up enough to actually prepare for the event, so everyone is scraping around for dollah dollah billz.

I started teaching my English classes last week and will go ahead and toot my own horn and say that I did awesome. Not to say that anyone learned anything, but at least we had fun. No, I do think some good Engreesh was learned by at least a few. I’ve also gotten started on a big and not-so-fun project that involves entering every sale the artisans have made over the last three years into a database to eventually be able to analyze their sales, their goods, their prices, etc. Oh excel, how I’ve missed you. I need the data soon to be able to get some potential financial backing, which is why I’m doing this myself. I hope, in a few months, to teach some excel to the artisans so they can continue on without me, because that is how I roll. It will make everyone’s life so much easier, and the museum just purchased a new computer that we can use which is helpful.

Yeah, so, life is good. It is hot here, and I have grown to love the cold showers. I still hate dogs, and while I usually still really like doing my laundry, sometimes I don’t like it. My dainty little hands get rubbed raw, but I continue to find it quite relaxing.

Happy Birthday(s) to my Nana and my Pammy— two of the most beautiful ladies I know.

Come Visit Me, A Howard Original

December 2, 2007 at 10:05 pm | Posted in dogs, family, food, friends, horses, language, music, party, Peru, sick, tourism, travel | 4 Comments

(sung to the tune of Rod Stewart’s ‘If You Think I’m Sexy’…play the video, then follow along with the new and improved lyrics)


…(musica)

azucar, oooh

…(musica)

ooh ooh ooh

…(musica)

You sit alone, reading my weblog
Peru sounds nice, except the trash and stray dog(s)
The climate is dry, the food cheap and delicious
The culture abounds, for you Peru is waiting

(chorus)

If you want to visit me
And don’t fear diarrhea
Come on azucar let me know

The flight will be expensive
But then once you get here
Everything will be dirt cheap

…(musica)

To Machu Picchu, I cannot escort you
It’s far away, and I’m basically penniless
Northern Peru, to you has lots to offer
Pyramids, Ceviche, and a cute jewish curly haired spanish speaking guide

So hop a plane to this third world country
At last! you can watch me dance the festejo

(chorus)

If you want to visit me
And like eating rice
Come on bebe let me know

We’ll go horseback riding
And we’ll hike the pyramids
We can go surfing if you are paying!

…(musica)

There is ancient stuff here too
Not quite as famous as the south
Come on friend/relative/complete stranger
You might want to pack some diapers

Owwwww!!!

(saxaphone solo)

(time to break it down)

We will pick fruit and eat it off the tree
Guanabana, Chirimoya, and other stuff you’ve never heard of
If it’s not rainy season, we’ll go to the mountains
Ride around on donkeys, and do lots of cartwheels

One other thing, you’ll have to remember
Carry around some TP because they don’t have it available in public restrooms

IIIIIFFF you want to visit me
And like being relatively tall
Come on azucar let me know

As a special bonus
You might get to feel a tremor
Ah, I see you are booking your ticket right now!

oooh

shuu gar

if you really need TP
i’ll carry around some extra
come on sugar let me know

really really really need TP! just let me know

(whispers): TP TP TP TP TP TP

(2x) I’ll bring the TP, you’ll bring the TP
TP TP TP

FIN

Giddy Up

November 9, 2007 at 10:37 am | Posted in espanol, friends, horses, micronegocios, Peace Corps, pictures, tourism | Leave a comment

It appears that I forgot to write about my day out in Sipan. The Senor de Sipan is Peru’s own version of a King Tut, and was discovered back in the 80s. Sipan is a site about a half hour east of Chiclayo and my friend Bailey is volunteering there. She is mostly working with the museum on tourism but is also working with a group that makes algorrobina which I guess is sort of like tasty tree sap.

The professor I’ve been working with out in the casario, Los Riojas, had last Thursday off of work and invited me to go out to where his parents live to check things out. He, his daughter, and I along with his two sisters and his niece all left from Chiclayo around 10am on a combi out to Pucala. For reference, Tucume is situated north of Chiclayo and these sites were east. We headed out to the local stables in Pucala to ride some horses. I’m not sure about the last time I rode a horse but it was probably in the fourth grade with my friend Jaclyn back in Great Falls. I have really been missing out all these years – it was so much fun! There was one point where I accidentally picked up the whip-like-thingy (pardon my lack of horse vocab) and the horse I was riding started galloping. I couldn’t figure out how to get it to stop, and everyone was yelling at me to drop the whip-like-thingy so the horse would stop running, but seeing as how I don’t know how to say ‘whip-like-thingy’ in English, obviously I couldn’t understand what they were saying in Spanish. I finally figured it out and we slowed back down to a trot.

We then hiked a good 45 minutes to get to Sipan – to get there you first walk through some farmland which was really beautiful, then you hike down to a river to cross it. It only came up to my knees, but it was so hot out, I got pretty soaked on purpose. Then we hiked up through Bailey’s town called Huaca Rajada and then to the site museum where they discovered the Senor. Unfortunately for the town, they removed most of the cool stuff, but left some bones and ceramics. They moved the rest of it to the museum in Lambayeque called Tumbas Reales. My friend Bailey made a good joke and said it should be called ‘Cosas Reales’, because all the tombs are still in Sipan, but all the things or ‘cosas’ are in the museum. The joke potentially is not so good in written format. Apologies.

It was a really cool day between the horses and the pretty hike. Bailey gave us a tour in Spanish of her site which was awesome and then we all had lunch together. I think, for Bailey, being able to show people around her town really made her realize how many friends she has made there and how much she has learned about her site in such a short time. Here is a shot from the tombs – I think all the stuff in there is fake, but it was cool nevertheless to see where they had dug everything up. More pictures are up on my picasa site.
IMG_2399.JPG

Half Birthday

September 10, 2007 at 8:02 pm | Posted in party, Peru, pictures, religion, tourism, travel | 2 Comments

There are two things I remember doing when I was little that seem really silly now (okay there are a lot of things, but I’m going to mention two): one is the way I used to say my age to the quarter of a year; I’m four and three quarters, or five and a quarter. Why do little kids do that? I guess it is because every month counts when you’ve only put a handful behind you. The other is I remember talking with friends about half-birthdays, and mine rolls around in December. I don’t know when these lost their significance, but they definitely were important for a couple of years there.

Do I have a point? Yes (not really). This weekend Tucume celebrated what would be equivalent to its half-birthday. Carlos the fifth from Spain sent a representation of the Virgin Mary to Tucume as a way of saying ‘thank you’ to the indigenous tribes for raping the people of their land and livelihoods. In any case, the Virgin arrived in February, so every year there is a HUGE celebration here in February, basically for the entire month, with lots of games and dancing and drinking and dancing and drinking. NOTE: If you are thinking of coming to visit, and want to visit Lambayeque and my site (as opposed to the typical trip to Machu Picchu), February would be a really cool time to be here. Anyways, we recently celebrated the half year anniversary with, you guessed it, drinking and dancing. What was lacking this time were the hordes of people that apparently show up for the big fiesta in February. I put up some pictures of the daytime and nighttime processions for you to check out.

Something I hope to keep with me always is the Peruvian ability, no matter the time of year, to find a reason to fiesta. When I first heard that there was a week long (as opposed to month-long) party to celebrate the *half* year of a particular event, it brought me back to those kindergarten conversations about half-birthdays and I chuckled at the thought. I’m digging it though, and I can’t wait for the next fiesta. My salsa improves with every baile.

Doing work

August 13, 2007 at 6:50 pm | Posted in kids, micronegocios, tourism | Leave a comment

I think the thing I am most excited for is my work in Tucume. I was solicited as a volunteer by the museum in Tucume to work with the artisan association that sells their goods there. Tucume has a long rich history dating back to around 1000 AD (more or less) and has four distinct epochs of different cultures who had control; the Lambayeque, Chimu, Inca, and Hispanic colonial. I probably spelled at least one of those wrong, and am pretty unclear about the dates as well, but I’ll figure it all out and blog with more details in the weeks to come. The association I’ll be working with has thirteen artists who produce pressed aluminum, jewelry, dyed fabrics, and woven products with the symbols and iconography of the ancient civilizations.  Their products are incredible and they have a little store in the museum. There is also a jewelry studio and I believe a ceramics studio (currently unused) located in the museum that the artisans can use to make their products. I’m hoping I’ll get to use them as well. The association is pretty well formed and is formalized and they are looking to sell intra-nationally and hopefully soon after internationally. I’ll be working, at least at first, on price determination and quality control, as well as finding newer and bigger markets for them to sell to.

The museum itself is pretty cool as well, and much like the association seems to be in the beginning stages of its life-span. It is located right at the base of the pyramids and you can walk around them, and literally be kicking around bits and pieces of pottery that are nearly a thousand years old. They are still doing a lot of excavation and for now the pyramids are very open to the public. There is one in town that you can climb to the top of. As a foreigner and tourist, there are already a lot of little things I’ve seen that I’m excited to help out with around the museum as well.  I met with the director while I was in town and she was great; very down to business and full of ideas. I think we will work very well together.

There is definitely a part of me that is nervous that I am not qualified enough to be doing my job; there is so much potential in my little town and I am nervous about not tapping all of it. However, as my role is to capacitate and not to ‘do’ (teaching a man to fish rather than giving him the fish, or something like that), hopefully I’ll be able to work with the association than doing the job for them. This takes a little of the pressure off.

I was able to visit two schools, and am hoping to get involved there as well. I’d love to work with the artisans and run capacitation workshops for the teens in the town, as well as start a girls sports club. Those are my two little seeds for ideas at present, but I’m sure more will come. I additionally had the opportunity to attend a local economic development workshop that the six local governments in the Valle de Leche (where I live) put on each month. Representatives from the different municipalities as well as from local artisan and agriculture associations were there and I made a lot of great contacts. There are definitely a lot of motivated people in my town and nearby, and the little part of Lambayeque that I’ll pertain to seems to be quite dynamic. Overall it was a really productive visit, and got me excited for my two years. There were worries and I saw several potential hardships to be sure, but overall I think the experience will be really incredible, and I cannot WAIT to get started. Two more weeks of training seems like an eternity, but hopefully it will fly by. 

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