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.