domingo, 15 de agosto de 2010

Apun Raju

Huaraz, capital city of Ancash

Sorting peas in the campo

Chato Lindo, the family dog

El Huascaran, tallest mountain in the tropics

Me in the campo

View from the roof

My front door

There´s a little Quechua for you in the title, it means literally ¨big ice,¨ referring to the mountain, Huascaran that looms in the background of the horizon in Amashca, my home for the next two years. Here´s some writing I did during my four days visiting my new family and pueblo, a taste of the life that is to come:

My hands are dry here, it´s cold at night, the stars glitter, it is beautiful. My family is wonderful, they live very simply. My dad is smart and lively, my mom is kind and eminates sweetness. Saida, the four year old is a revolutionary, she has a strong character! Amascha is poor, everyone works hard, my family is busy morning till night, driving a colectivo, doing maintanance, cooking, cleaning, and working the fields. Out in the community, I hear Quechua-I don´t understand, but I do at the same time-I know when they are talking about me, they laugh a lot, I have to laugh also. At home, amongst family, it´s Quechua and Spanish.
I feel I can talk with the women, they think I´m an oddity, tall, light skinned, and what am I wearing? Most wear the traditional dress of pollera (heavy knee length skirt with tights), wool fadora, and yanques (tire made sandals). But I think they think I´m alright. The funny thing is that part of me feels I do belong, I almost shed tears coming up to the town of adobe and mountains, it was magic. But I won´t be able to do this without support, of my fellow volunteers (we are in this together) and family from home-I can see how isolating it can be, stuck between two mountain chains, with only fields and mountains and stars.

I´m really just skimming the surface so far, I hope to discover the depths of what life is like here, to the best of my ability, and to do good work. The health post, municipality, and school are receptive and open to me, the next three months will be ones of great discovery and poco a poco, I¨ll find my way.


P.S. It ain´t always gonna be easy.

sábado, 7 de agosto de 2010


Hola todos,
Tomorrow I head out to visit my future home for a few days, then it´s back to Yanacoto for a week to get ready, swear in and then we´re outta here. Man, it really feels good to be at this point. Training as they say, is long and arduous, at times strait up flabergasting with all the charlas and powerpoints and papelotes (flip charts), you just want to get going and put your knowledge to use. My site is a gem, I will be in the mountains of Ancash in the Cordillera Blanca in northern Peru. I´m relatively close to the highest mountain in the world´s tropics, Huascaran. My site is not as high of course, I think I´ll be at about 7,000 feet, but that´s a bit of a jump from Eugene and here in Chaclacayo. The community I´ll be living in is the district capital of a small area about 4,000 total habitants, in my town there are about 1,200. There is Quechua spoken in this area, but I´ll also be using my Spanish. From our group there are six of us going to this region, we are all Youth Development volunteers, it´s a good group.
I just finished checking out another Ancashian PCV´s blog, so if you want to check it out to get more info on Ancash it´s, she has just finished her two years of service and is going on to complete a third year as the PCVL (Peace Corps Volunteer Leader) in Ancash. We haven´t met yet, but she´s on the roster of super volunteers, so I can consider myself lucky to have her as a support.
Please check back in next week, I will certainly have more info regarding my site visit and my new family! I can´t wait to meet them.