It is amazing to think that I have been in Peru for four months now, over 6 weeks here in the Sierra. Slowly, the pieces of this mysterious puzzle are coming into focus, rearranging, and creating a picture I never could have imagined, only dreamed of. While I hope in the future to be writing more of my work and projects, for now I can truly see how my everyday interactions, activities and experiences are laying the groundwork for what I hope to be a successful service. I am getting to know people; the loneliness that sometimes sets in, if not addressed could be crippling in the long run I look forward to having friends here.
Although I have felt some guilt regarding my “work” or lack there of, I think I have been too hard on myself. These first months are a challenge. In this context “work” for me includes doing my laundry (by hand), taking a shower (in freezing water), trying to understand a conversation in Quechua, climbing a hill and stopping to chat with people working their fields or grazing their animals, making a meal, taking public transportation (anywhere), not to mention making contacts with my community counterparts, i.e. getting thrown into a classroom for an impromptu English lesson, attending a birth, you know, the usual (!).
Peace Corps asks that at the end of the first three months we write a community diagnostic which we will present to our supervisor as well as our communities. There are a plethora of criteria we are asked to cover, everything from religious organizations, to malnutrition levels, to holiday calendars. We are to use formal and non-formal means to collect our data. Completing the CD will be interesting and I think introduce me into the realm of “work” as far as Peace Corps goes. But I know now, that my CD or my projects won’t mean anything if my heart doesn’t feel for this community and its people. That will remain my focus now, until the end of August 2012, and beyond.