The "Peru 15" girls at Laguna Churup
Lovely Thai Dinner
Me and Verito at Laguna Shallap
Mind Boggling Valley en route to Shallap
Five days of Quechua lessons, and I have a mixture of words, that I'm not quite able to form into sentences, in my head. I am looking forward to taking this new repertoire to the community for some real world practice. In the past few days we have had the opportunity to learn not only the basics of the Quechuan language, but given a window into the culture that surrounds us.
There are two main branches of Quechua in Peru, one is based in Cusco in the South, and the other here in the Cordillera Blanca. In contrast to popular knowledge, it is most likely that Quechua originated in this region, this being supported by the fact that there are multiple sub-branches of the language up in the north, pointing to a longer period of evolution. While Cusco was the seat of power for the Incan empire, the heart of the Quechuan people began to palpitate here, amongst the snow covered mountains. And here we are, a group of US citizens, our job: to integrate into a culture with ancient roots.
As our group of volunteers grows in Ancash, our presence becomes stronger, the variety of experiences grows, and bonds form within the volunteers and their communities. There is an amazing group of individuals dedicating two years to serve in communities near and far. On the other side of the Cordillera Blanca lies another set of mountains known as Conchucos, where over 10 Peace Corps volunteers have recently arrived for the first time since the 1960's. Access to transportation and basic services is very limited, and the terrain is rough by any standards. These volunteers are adjusting to life and work under extremely challenging conditions, beginning a new journey. Witnessing this beginning has provided me with a reaffirmation of our work here, of the potential, whether it's focused on building relationships, or new after school or health programs, those of us engaging in this work are doing our best to engage, create and build a life that matters.
In the space when we can come together as a group we have opportunities to explore a mesmerizing landscape, treking to isolated glacial valleys and lakes, trying to take it all in. Enjoying time with friends has been one of the most rewarding aspects of this experience. Engaging with each other has helped to put it all in perspective, generate understanding, and build a context for this strange adventure-a little clarity amongst the twists and turns.
This entry is dedicated to you, friends, both near and far, thank you.