Ok so this is my very first blog as a Peace Corps volunteer. Please forgive the humongous gap of stories for which I should have told but didn’t get the time or motivation to do so, so here is a rap up. Inspired to travel the world, encounter interesting situations, climb some mountains and most importantly do what I do best which is helping people, I set my mind a little over a year ago back in my home town, Puerto Rico, to join the Peace Corps and become a Peace Corp volunteer and leave everything behind to just follow the heart and some eager thoughts for new adventure and change. So after some essay writings and some recommendation letters I became one and was chosen to be a part of the Small Business Development Program to serve in Peru…yes Im in Peru Bitches!!( sorry back to being nice). I have been here for a little over 4 months now. The first 3 months was training in Lima, and this is where I got to meet the most outrages, fun loving, crazy smart, and good looking people, hahah in the world my fellow Peace Corps trainees who are now official volunteers all over Peru. I love my 17ners!!! The business crew, as well as the youthies, (youth development volunteers), 51 people from all over the states. Now I am currently in a town called Frias up on the mountains in the department of Piura, in the north part of Peru, trying to complete the daunting task of the community diagnostic (a study of the community that is imperative for us volunteers the first 3 months in site). Ok so that’s the rap up and here I am. Now the actual blog post.
This month of October is full of “fiestas”, (Parties) here in site. But here the word fiestas has more of a cultural meaning, here it means to celebrate the saints that look over the town. So this month it’s the statue of “Sr. de los Milagros” turn to be held up and carried in a chair while the town people sing and march the streets and decorate their houses with yellow and purple balloons. Some of the kids here wanted me to carry the saint but for those of you who know me, know that I prefer to just stay on the low side. So instead I opted for just saying present and looking at the people pass by while I was up in the balcony thinking about how many people in the world do this and deposit so much faith in saints and have so much hope for their town. It got me thinking about home and all the cultural gatherings that occur in PR as well. So while I was home in Puerto Rico last October figuring out what Halloween costume I would wear for some party, on a different part of the world people were singing and celebrating life and their blessings, having this thought may seem naïve to some, but for me, this being the first time I have ever traveled outside of that beautiful island that is Puerto Rico, seemed to be the most intriguing though I have had this month, so I dwelled on the thought for a while as the parade kept its course. So maybe sometimes I can get so frustrated here with all the differences in culture, food and living situations but I remind myself that taking the step to see and experiences these differences make my job as a Peace Corps volunteer a tad more satisfying and interesting. More on “fiestas”, my host dad turned 50 on Monday and we had a celebration planed out for this occasion, little did I know that in the living room there would be more than 20 crates full of Cerveza Cristal, so I knew that I would be drinking in a circle that night. Drinking in a Circle is one of the ways Peruvian people drink here, they sit in a circle and drink room temperature beer out of the same glass, yes people imagine 25 or more people drinking out of the same glass, not a sanitary situation but that’s culture for you. So I decided to reward myself with some circle drinking because of the hectic week that had passed and no I did not get drunk, but the birthday boy did and started crying on my shoulder talking shenanigans, haha so that was the bedtime call for me, but the party lasted all night and was a blast. So I’m looking forward for the fiestas to come (since theirs like a million every month) in November we celebrate San Andres so maybe I’ll have a story on that to share.
On other topics, funny things I have seen here in my site has to be people cleaning their ears with matches, I was appalled with this unsanitary and harmful way of cleaning but at the same time I could just not stop laughing about it. The things people come up with! Other random comments
1) I got my first pair of Peruvian shoes made out of tires. Usually it’s the people from way in the campo who use them so you can imagine how weird I look using them. I got comments like: “look at the gringa using Yanques!! Apparently they got some laughs out of that.
2) I have turned into a fan of Peruvian music; I find myself occasionally listening to music from, Los Deleites, Corazon Serrano, Sensual Caricia, and much more.
3) And every night my host family and I gather around to see Al Fondo Hay Sitio.
4) I am constantly sleepy and not sure if I have gained some weight cause of so much rice, potatoes and tortillas, I swear I need to learn how to cook cause if not that is going to be my menu for the next 2 years, and I don’t think you can ever get used to rice and potatoes.
5) And Finally but NOT less Important, a new born baby was named after me this week, it’s an honor but I’m not sure she’s going to be able to handle the ample challenges of carrying that name, LOL
Well this is my first blog and hopefully there will be more to come, In the mean time I have to get back to my overload of work. Oh I forgot to mention what I do here as a volunteer just so you know I am working with 2 schools, with 1 I work with the kids giving “charlas” about “orientacion Vocacional”, Career options, and with the other school I work with older student on “gestion empresarial”, business management, and I work the business part of our organic potatoes’ growing project, also I work with a group of artisans who work with textiles and finally I am working on my Community Diagnostic….UFF I need to breath!. Hope to post soon!