Right so at the beginning of March there is this massive festival all around Peru called Carnaval. We celebrated carnaval in the aldea on the same day as our Desk Officer Felicity came to visit the aldea to see how things are going. So we were really stressed out about how it would go! She had to assess one of our activities, but things were a bit messed up in the aldea since everything was geared around carnaval so we got the wee ones in early to do some art - they kept saying ooh is this the new volunteer blah blah haha (as they almost always do when they see anyone white in the aldea). Thankfully they all behaved pretty well considering what they're sometimes like. I think they might have just been nervous because they didn't know her. They're a nightmare with us usually. So everything went smoothly, then after lunch carnaval started: i.e. everyone starts trying to soak each other in whichever way possible - water balloons were, of course, in high demand but most of the kids just filled buckets full of water from the outside taps and dumped them over people's heads. Charming. At some point people brought a bit of paint out and everyone went mad for it. We snuck into our house to get some supplies and to add to all the fun. Anyhow we all ended up soaked and covered in paint but having had the most fun time ever. After the water/paint fight everyone danced around this tree they'd put up with toys and plastic balls and things hanging from it - a real life piñata tree! The kids took turns to hack it down with an axe until it fell down and the kids scrambled aroud to get all the toys. After that it was pretty much over and we retreated back to our house to shower before we had to get our bags and go into Trujillo with Felicity. By that time we had completely forgotten that she was actually there to do a project visit since she'd just joined in with all the carnaval madness haha but we said our goodbyes and Amy and I headed off to get our bus to Cajamarca that night to continue the carnaval fun there.
Now we thought carnaval was madness in the aldea. We had no idea what was coming for us in Cajamarca. We had heard it was meant to be the best place in Peru to go for Carnaval, and I guess that's what we got! We woke up on the Saturday to bands playing outside in the street. Looked out the window and saw these bands of people already covered in paint, walking around playing drums and trumpets and carrying industrial size buckets of paint, throwing it at anyone who walked past. We got changed into clothes we wouldn't mind sacrificing for the sake of carnaval and when we ventured outside we were faced by a whole streetful of these paint-throwing bands. They seemed to like to target us gringas, especially at the beginning when we were completely bare of paint, which was fun apart from when they tried to put paint in your eyes and mouth...Anyhow we were a bit stupid that we went out unarmed, everyone was just throwing water and paint at us and we couldn't do anything about it. By this time the whole street was absolutely crammed full of people and we ended up walking along with the whole street along to the Plaza de Armas where the party continued. Once we had exhausted ourselves enough we went back to the hostal to sleep before we got up to meet Amelia and Cassie who had just arrived. The next day we went out ready for day 2 of paint fighting but were very disappointed that there wasn't any - Amelia and Cassie even more so because they'd missed it the day before! Apparently the first day is the only paint day - something we did not know and no-one told us...Anyway so we walked up this hill up to a pretty church where there were stunning views of all of Cajamarca - it's so beautiful! Also it was kinda cold which we weren't expecting...Yeah so on our last night we think it was the last night of Carnaval so there was this big procession in the Plaza de Armas of a coffin with a dummy in it going round the square and everyone following it. Anyway that was a nice way to end our trip to Cajamarca.
In March we had a weekend in Lima where we actually got a little bit of touristy stuff done...We went to the Museo Rafael Larco, ate at La Lucha which does the most delicious sandwiches and is quite famous in Lima. Also found a SUBWAY which I must say has to be one of the highlights of the trip for me.
We also went to Piura to visit the volunteers there in their aldea and to see what another aldea was like. So the aldeas in Trujillo and Piura are pretty similar, apart from Amelia and Cassie have more adorable little babies who all stay in the one house together so they help out the tias there with looking after all the wee ones. Other than that it's pretty much the same as us, they do activities in the afternoon with the older kids in their house. The aldea itself is really similar as well, it's the same layout with separate houses scattered about. Also they have workshops for the older kids and a panaderia where some of the older boys learn to make bread which provides the aldea with their morning pancitos.
Back to some aldea updates. Forgot to mention that in March-ish the summer holidays stopped and the kids went back to school, so we were back to our old timetable of looking after the babies and toddlers in the mornings - before the summer holidays we had Fatima, Estrella (both 2) and Matias (3) but now Matias goes to nursery (cutest and weirdest thing ever) and little 1 year old Jandi is walking now so she's basically replaced Matias! Fatima and Estrella are the same as always, Estrella usually annoying the others...So we look after them in our house while the tias are busy cooking in the houses and don't have time to play with them like we can. In the afternoons we still get the pequeñitos in to draw and it's honestly amazing to see how much they have all improved since we arrived here. Little Renzo just used to scribble but a few weeks ago he drew something that actually resembled a person for once! It was so cute. We always stick up the kids' best drawings on our walls but we're running out of space now!
It's June now and we have no idea where any of the time between January and now went. We now have only a week left in the aldea and we don't know how that's even happening. I can tell leaving is going to be possibly the most difficult thing I have done in my life. We've been here for over 10 months and this is our home here - the kids are like our family, the tias like our substitute mothers. I can't picture living somewhere else, having been here so long already. I can't imagine what it's going to be like travelling and not always having the aldea to go back to after a weekend away. We're just trying to make the most of what little time we now have left in the aldea.
Don't want to end on a depressing note - as sad as we are to leave the aldea we are incredible excited to be going travelling, to Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia and Chile, etc. I also can't wait to see all the fam and my friends back home. I just can't believe how fast it's all going!!
Anyway I am SO sorry for the lack of posts since January. It's been too long. I'll try to blog more regularly when we're travelling.
That's all for now,
|Carnaval madness in Cajarmaca|
|Amy with Jandi|