Friday, March 30, 2007

Day 199: Low budget Powerpoint

Here is an example of what one can do without a cumbersome computer-ready slideshow presentation. Well, maybe it takes just as long to prepare! These photos were taken at a nutrition workshop sponsored by the Ministry of Health.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Day 198: Workshop in Chiclayo

Benjamin attended a Peace Corps sponsored workshop in the northern city of Chiclayo with a local counterpart from Musho. We learned 'community project design' and developed our own community reforestation project! It was quite the experience accompanying an Andean native to the vastly different coastal culture. Hot, loud and fast-paced, we found ourselves a bit overwhelmed. The workshop presented western models of thought and presented unique challenges. Another hurdle was that the workshop was held in spanish, a second language for both me and my counterpart (a native Quechua speaker). I do hope to spread this idea of project planning and, perhaps, even implement our reforestation project.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Day 195: The Week of Gringos and God

Dona Florentina v. the Gringos

Last Sunday marked a rather drastic change in our relatively calm and comfortable lives in Musho, Ancash. In one day, Benjamin and I received our first guests – another Peace Corps volunteer and her friend Dave visited us to consume the specialty food of the day – cuyes (guinea pigs). Although the family knows that we are vegetarian and we have eaten some of the most delicious food (vegetarian styles) in Peru in their house.

On this day, Benjamin and I became “God Parents” for two children in Pariantana, the neighborhood above Musho.

I have to get my laundry now. I have ten minutes. So, I'll write the rest of this later. But just so you know, 27 evangelizing gringos from the United States arrived in Musho last Sunday. They will live there for 1 month and love on the people. They are living in our house. We are sharing one bathroom with them. I'll be sure to tell you more later.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Day 191: World Wise Schools Group Photo

Today I officially made contact with a great group of 6th grade students in Musho. Over the next couple of months these students will engage in a cultural exchange with a group of 6th graders in Edina, MN! My Musho students have already drawn maps of their town, pictures of their houses and families and written great letters to their new friends in the US. We wish them the best of new friendships!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Day 189: Dave's email account of Sunday's adventures

The gutting of a guinea pig by Betty...

"i set out for huaraz, peru, a town at around 3000 and some odd meters, which is more than 12,000 feet. i planned to do some hiking and relaxing here, but who needs plans?so my first day in huaraz i happen to mosey into a coffee shop that i heard was good, and run by a nice america guy. i wander in to look at the book shelves, its a thursday, and the american guy says to me, you wouldnt be interested in playing some ultimate frisbee tomorrow, would you? and
i was like, are you kidding? i love ultimate frisbee. so he says great, we have a game tomorrow at 11. so i say great, im in. so the next day i put off whatever plans i might have had a grab a taxi with all the other frisbee players to a beautiful playing field up in a small village outside of town. there were a lot of peace corp volunteers there, which are all american, so it looked like it was going to be interesting and fun. and if youve never seen peruvians playing frisbee, thats really fun too. so i was standing around before the game, talking to a nice jewish boy from maryland, when another female peace corp volunteer walked up to us, looked at me and said, dave? and i looked at her and said grace? low and behold, i had run into grace obuchowitz from west springfield high school, one class ahead of me but we shared mutual friends. so we caught up, she is in the peace corp in a small town outside of huaraz, and shed been here for about a year and a half. pretty crazy eh? coincideces are pretty wild.
so that night i went out for a lot of drinks and some dancing with the peace corp volunteers as they destressed over shots of tequila and american music.i guess i behaved myself because i was invited by the original nice jewish boy from greenbelt, ben and his wife libby, to attend a local baptism, where they would become the padrinos, or g-dparents, to some local tradition. the padrino thing is kinda common among peace corp volunteers. so you know me, i couldnt pass up that opportunity. and the other opportunity that arose was that at the baptism, for celebration, the family was going to serve the peruvian mountain delicacy, cuy, or guinea pig in english. por cuy, ¿por que no? or, for guinea pig, why not? so grace and i were invited into the traditional peruvian mountain house, made out of adobe bricks and usually a dirt floor, on a nice sunday afternoon and i did it. i ate half a guinea pig, im sorry ellen, i wanted to remember the name of the guinea pigs we had as kids but i couldnt. i wouldve said a prayer or something. i even ate some of the bones, thats what they do. it was pretty good, it did kinda taste like chicken but it was really good. im not
sure if this gets me kicked out of the vegetarian club or not, but well
guinea pig feast i spent the night in libby and bens, quasi apartment, though quite homey, and we had a good ole time speaking in english and reading aloud to each other. the next day i did a tour of some of the other tiny tiny villages with grace and i got to see some other peace corp sites. we ended up, at graces host family´s house, who are super nice people, super hospitable, and have little guinea pigs running all over the place. it kind of made me hungry, jk, mom, that leads us up to the sort of present time of whenever you all will read this email, i guess im already in the past, but you can live literatureally whenever you want, past present or future."

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Day 187: Our first Baptism in Musho

Today, Benjamin and I rose early, dressed up, and walked up the muddy path to the house of our new friends, Betty and Raul, where we had been invited to join them for breakfast. Early in our stay in Musho, these parents invited us to be the 'god parents' for their three children -- Inez, Jeynson, and Bianca. This role involves purchasing the clothes for the children's special day, signing a piece of paper for the priest and ideally being a role model for the kids. Sometimes this role can also mean taking the children back to the States with us when we leave and paying for the remainder of their secondary and university education. We were certain to make sure that the family understands that we will not take the children back to the States, but we will try hard to play a special role while we are here in their community!

As it turns out, we were unable to baptize all three children because the Priest requires the parents to be married in the eyes of God, not merely living together. The day was long and involved, but fun. The kids were really excited to get all dressed up and after the ceremony we headed back up the hill to their house where we ate food until our bellies were unhealthily distended on potatoes, rice, and pasta!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Day 186: The Poop Chart, for reference only

In case you ever need an official consult, please refer to the following chart.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Day 185: Garbage producers

Benj and I just wanted to share this photo with you all. Taken on January 21st, the plastic bag that Benjamin is holding represents all of the garbage that we produced during the first 7 weeks of our service (Nov. 27, 2006 - January 21st, 2007). This doesn't include 3 tin milk cans and 2 plastic yogurt bottles. Ahh, the benefits of eating the potatoes that come directly from the field to the pot to the mouth!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Day 177: Surfing lessons

The water was not warm, but it still felt good to be riding the waves! I have never surfed before, but there is always time to try new sports. I did manage to stand up on my board a few times during our 2 hour lesson, but mostly I just banged my feet on the rocky bottom and sucked in salty water. Our teachers held our boards and then told us when to stand up as they pushed the board up on the waves. We were never more than chest deep. Hilariously fun. I imagine that if I were a volunteer on the beach that I would want to turn this sport into a hobby. - Libby

Monday, March 05, 2007

Day 174: The Ruins of Chan Chan