Thursday, December 27, 2007

Day 471: Adios 2007 and Hola queridos friends and fam

Happy holidays and New Year everybody!

We are saying goodbye to a year entirely spent abroad, in Peru. As much as our life has grown comfortable in our small mountain village called Musho, we think daily about how far away family, friends, and home are. Since our grand trip to Portugal in October to visit with Benjamin´s family, we have seen and done much. Our computer died again and we have struggled updating the blog, so excuse the dearth of recent photos.

We spent Thanksgiving getting to know the lowlands of eastern Peru, the foothills of the Amazon rainforest, Tarapoto with our good friend Laura Wellington. Bizarre, delicious fruits and monkeys were sure highlights, while the ungodly humidity and sun intensity made a short trip just fine with me.

Returning to the cool mountains, december has been filled with scheming for next year (our last). We have started another improved stoves project with an extremely rural neighborhood where the folks are primarily illiterate, Quechua speakers. It is a fantastic challenge and we are glad to have had the previous experience of implementing this type of project. Unlike many projects in rural places, participation has been outstanding due to the close relationships we have forged with these people over the last year. We have biweekly meetings where we do construction and nutrition workshops. Pictures to be posted…

The school year is ending here and we were invited to a bunch of celebrations which involved Huayno (local monotonous, but catchy folk music), beer, potatoes and guinea pig. Oddly, the parents celebrate more than the sixth graders, getting plastered and taking over the celebration completely.

One really nifty project we´ve been working on is a puppet theatre production in a small primary school of 30 students. We obtained a copy of ´´The Lorax¨ by Dr. Seuss in Spanish from a former PCV and have been using the story to create a show. The children made their own puppets and we just gave a performance to the parents at the school´s end-of-the-year party. The kids got certificates and native cherry tree seeds for their participation (the theme of the Lorax is environmental, of course, with tree conservation as a central topic).

We have lots of plans for the year to come and will be sure to post updates. Our nofalling email has been malfunctioning so we are making the move to our gmail account. It is identical ´benjandlib´ followed by the tag. Thanks to you all for the continued long-distance, long-term love and support. Ten months and counting. We can´t wait to see you all next year for the holidays.

Benj & Lib