Firstly I know I have been rather incommunicado with all of you in these last months. I apologize for that. Work, or rather, random activities have been keeping me busy ever since the rains stopped sometime mid May. A quick update:
I have gotten involved in a few community gardens one with the high school the other with the health post. Vince, my site mate, and I hosted our July regional meeting in Canchaque and 12 volunteers came to learn about gardening. We oooed and ahhhed over some serious worm composting learned about seed saving etc… and ended up planting a garden in the health post, conveniently located a block from my house. So I am found there daily watering and loving our seedlings.
Our HIV/AIDS classes have been mixed up a bit since there hasn’t really been any school since the beginning of June due to the schools week long anniversary party, a visit from the Mother Superior from India, the town festival celebrating campesinos and now three weeks of vacation for Peru’s Independence day and the spreading of Swine09 as Jenn calls it. But we are working with the health post nurse and have given five classes to the teachers on adolescence, puberty etc. So once we finish with them in August the idea is for the teachers to pass info onto the kids. If all goes well, we will have a fair in September and each class will present something that they have learned about a healthy adolescence.
Song club goes along learning Enrique Iglesias now. And the Expo Feria is in full swing. At least preparations are, making bamboo stands, getting participants for the coffee fair, the artisan fashion show and the traditional food fair. Once its done I can say I never have to work alongside small town government again too many formalities for me. I did however have fun experimenting with Adobe Illustrator in designing the programs and such, so that’s a bonus.
Finishing up a world map manual complete with country profiles, recipes, pictures of traditional dress, music, movies, fun stuff and am excited to go to Lima and present the project to the current training group. I started for the third time 100 Years of Solitude and seem to be sticking to it though the characters are as difficult to keep track of.
I had a lovely visit from a dear friend from MMC. We walked for five days to get to Machu Picchu. It was fantastic. I lament the fact that it took me a while to situate myself amongst many tourists spending a good amount of money, myself included. It was very different than what I have been used to for the past year and a half. But it was worth all the frustration, exhaustion from climbing to 11,000 feet, cold nights in tents and then another hour climb at four in the morning to stand at the top of the astrology tower welcoming the first rays of the sun over the ruins. We formed a band, called Kissing Kiwicha, wrote a song about Camel Backs, delighted in our Flash Packer status and danced a trio one night along with T-Huff, Pink Floyd and a dingy club in a dingy town in the southern Amazon.
Jenn then visited Canchaque and taught some dance classes which the kids just loved. We talked a lot, philosophized, dreamed, laughed and enjoyed catching up.
Her visit has put me in a good place. Everyday I feel like I could stay here longer, and then in the same day I have moments of intense frustration and longing to be done with all of the social behaviors that are now becoming annoying rather than new and interesting. I found myself the other day confused as to my role here as a women, not that I even make conscious decisions to be submissive, but that’s just how it is and I guess I have adapted so fully and immersed myself to the point of losing my place. It was quite shocking. So it seems I really am in the back end of my service, shocking again. I feel good about loving it here but also will soon be ready to move on to the next adventure. There are plans, but I will wait to elaborate until they are a bit more specific.
I hope that you all are still well and good and enjoying wherever you are.