sábado, 31 de julio de 2010

Tuesday is the Day

To Begin: some photos from my Field Based Training in the lovely province of Cajamarca

Me with baby cow in Cajabamba K-6 school in La Grama, Cajamarca

Kids at an all boys school in Cauday, near Cajabamba

Some lovely bed covers on display draw a large crowd (also thanks to the salesman with a bullhorn) on market day in La Grama

Lovely family in the chacra (field)

Me with the mountains in the distance!
Cajamarca City

More market vendors, the famous clay pots and kettles made by hand

Another volunteer helping organize a massive game of redlight, greenlight

Peru is beautiful

Who wants a soda!?

The countdown is on until we all discover where we will be placed for the next two years, Tuesday is the day. We have had three interviews in which we had the opportunity to express any preferences, etc. regarding our time in Peru. The likelihood I´m going to the mountains is high, I have agreed to be placed in a Quechua speaking region. However, no one knows exactly what community they will be placed in until they give us our asignments. Peace Corps loves ambiguity and intrigue.
Appart from this semi-anxiety and excitement producing period of training, things are going smoothly. This last week Peru celebrated their Independence from Spain with the ¨Fiesta´s Patrias,¨ this invlolved us making a Pachamanca feast at the training center, I was honored with the role of ¨madrina¨ or Godmother of this event. I described a bit of this previously...Pachamanca is a pit oven cooked meal of goodness, filled with potatoes, yams, fava beans, chicken, and other meats. You need blazing hot rocks and then you cover it all up and two + hours later it´s all uncovered and devoured with aji (chilli sauce). As the madrina I was asked to thank the tierra madre Pachamama (mother earth) for all the food we were lucky to have on that day.

The rest of the day we explored more of what is the ¨Cosmovision Andina¨or the Andean beliefs and worldvision. We learned about medicinal plants and some shamanic rituals as well as the sincronistic religious beliefs crossing both Catholisism and indigenous beliefs. This topic is endless and I can´t wait to discover more.

jueves, 22 de julio de 2010

Cajamarca likes Cuy

Hola Amigos! I am here in the beautiful town of Cajabamba on my one week of ¨Field Based Trainingwe are in the department of Cajamarca up in the mountains about 16 hours northeast from Lima. So far we have visited the departmental capital which has amazing ice cream and more, as well as three current volunteers sites, ranging frm small town to very small town. What marks the Sierra culture is the presence of cows, cuy (Guinnea Pig), and large hats. The air is crisp and clean, like in Oregon, but I must say, for Winter, this is paradise, fresh mornings with warm midday sun, beautiful sunsets surrounded by mountains, and cool nights.
During FBT I have been pushed, we have prepared ¨charlas¨ or short lessons in four schools with kids of different ages, mostly high school. Here, we are given an hour, sometimes more to plan activities drawing from what we´ve learned the last 5 weeks. We use dynamic activities to get a point accross, touching on topics such as healthy relationships, learning English and leadership skills. We have toured schools, municipal buildings, health posts and had several delicious meals. Yes, I finally tried The Cuy, prepared in front of our eyes, poor little things, they really are cute, but surprisingly tasty when cooked right.
There are about 15 of us in our group including 4 trainers, and we are getting to know each other better, having to work in teams, share rooms and make sure no one is suffering too bad from the bicicleta (diarrhea). Needless to say the Peace Corps experience does away with many inhibitions, you have to put yourself out there in your work (imagine being greeted with applause as you enter a classroom), and be honest with your fellow trainees, cause they are your new support system. I am beginning to feel some changes, and it´s good.
See you back in Lima in a few days!

lunes, 12 de julio de 2010


As you can see, the Peace Corps likes their acronyms, here, in the title I give a small sampling...more on that later. To give some insight to my day to day this Monday was somewhat typical of a ¨training center dayUsually this means we have presentations as a whole group (all 53 of us). These have covered topics from security to genereal health, i.e. nutrition, alcohol consumption, security on site and away from our sites (when most robberies and assaults occur), maintaining safe relationships both with Peruvians and other volunteers, and strategies for staying healthy. The driving home message is !cuidate mucho! meaning, take care, lots of care, but have fun too, they are not mutually exclusive!
In our language training we learn about all the wonders and intrigues of Peru, there are many. Last week we took a trip to the national museum in Lima, there we saw amazing artifacts spanning the last 8.000 years, the Moche, Chabin, and Inca cultures created jewelry, breast plates and pottery that is absolutely astounding.
Everyday, I am impressed by the culture that surrounds this country, sometimes it is right there in a museum, but often it is in the daily life of going to a market, asking directions, or being greeted by a kid in your community. Today I say thanks to Peru!

sábado, 10 de julio de 2010


Here are some photos of my life here, one is the view from my window, the town of Chosica (the nearest city), and a wonderful hike that you can do right from Yanacoto where I live.

lunes, 5 de julio de 2010

Poco a Poco

So I appologize to all for the lacking blog posts, I do have so many new and interesting things to tell! My access to internet has felt limited however, less so due to convenience, although this is an issue, but due to time. We are BUSY. As PCTs (Peace Corps Trainees) we do a ¨double shift¨ of language/culture learning, Tech. training as wither Youth Development Facilitators (me) or small business, then take the ever precarious ¨combi´s¨ back to our communities (mine is Yanacoto) to live the Peruvian life with our host families. This is going very well, I am learning lots of Jerga (=slang) that is useful in daily life.
A quick and entertaining annectode will come from my first weekend here...I went to my first party here in the comunidad (it was a man´s 50th b-day), there was a large horseshoe shaped circle of chairs with about 45 people around an ¨orchestra¨ playing Huayno (the traditional music of the Sierra, aka mountains), they play a very similar tune over and over, but it´s nice, with sax and horns and percussion, etc. Then they pass the beer, one glass per 15 people or so, you fill about an inch, pass the bottle to the next person, down it shake the glass on the floor in one swoop, then pass the glass. This goes on all night! These are large bottles by the way. Thenthey bring out the Pachamanca, a fire pit prepared meal of fava beans, tamale, sweet potato, reg.potato, and meat, this keepsyou fit to ¨pass the glass¨ all night long.