Friday, March 21, 2008

Day 555: Shout out to our dear friend Lwell

Lwell, thanks for the visit. Please be careful on your travels in Patagonia!!!!

Watercolored boy ponders life as Lwell on the "other side"
Peru, a room with a view. Lwell's a great hiker, especially on sustained uphills.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Day 550: Condors and Spitting Llamas and Nature

One of the many reasons to visit the highlands of Peru is the opportunity to view one of the largest bird species on the planet. Unlike the nearly extinct California condor, this species has multiple strongholds throughout the Andes.
This guy looked like Ringo with his mop top.
Surly suri alpaca who spit at me (see below)
Like many animals I met during famed Mustache March, the Surly Suri alpaca didn't dig the facial styles. It's been snipped, grandma, don't worry.
Mmmm, a cactus in flower.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Day 542: Coastal fun

On a few precious days off, we visited Paracas Bay (Poor Man's Galapagos) and Huacachina oasis (sandboarding is flipping hilarious!).

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Day 540: Earthquake Relief Work in Canete

Six months following the 8.9 scale earthquake, the coastal region of Peru most affected is still reeling from the devastation. We helped for two weeks, offering 5 health fairs to groups of families (about 150 people) who are receiving composting letrines from CARE International. We also accompanied CARE employees on house visits and donation campaigns, distributing plastic goods for cooking and storing water. In six months, CARE built over 6,000 letrines in the region. Other international relief efforts are present in abundance, but it seems the national government is still developing an appropriate response, including replacing sewage systems and schools. It was a powerful emotional and educational experience. Our hearts go out to the people reconstructing their lives.
Lib and Mustache man facilitating an engaging and educational game of homemade jeopardy with questions focused on health and letrine maintenance.
Two boys standing alongside an irrigation ditch and in front of a open-bottomed letrine that falls directly over the canal.

Six months after the quake, people are still living in the temporary relief tarps donated by other countries like the United States, Europe and Chile. All the adobe structures were decimated, so many people are saving up to rebuild with brick and cement (one of many reasons for the delay).

Letrines built by CARE are located on whatever land families have available, often alongside diary cows (a primary source of income besides laboring on cotton, yucca, feed corn, artichoke or asparagus fields).
Ella Ewart, our Peace Corps colleague, is sitting with an Andean immigrant who is originally from Ayacucho. She spoke little spanish, preferring her native form of Quechua. Like many, she immigrated to the coast as a teenager in search of work. She labors on large farms owned by the wealthy, planting, weeding and harvesting export crops she doesn't even know how to prepare. After decades of work with artichoke, she inquiried how to consume the plant. Mindblowing, really.

Here, we are prepping donations of various sized buckets and plasticware.

Libby, the hand-washing specialist, at it again.

A large storehouse completely destroyed by the august 15th, 2007 earthquake.

Coastal sunsets were a highlight after a year and half of mountain landscapes (not that we're complaining one bit).
Lib and lots of Franklin's gulls, among other wonderous seaside species.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Day 537: Celebrating Mustache March (Sorry Grandma, I know you hate facial hair!)

Here I am multi-tasking as I assist in the management overseeing the letrine-building project with CARE International.