Sunday, 15 June 2014

Carnaval, travels, and Aldea updates

So I know this is late, very very late, so sorry sorry sorry for not writing...never seem to get round to it. There's always too much happening!!

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
(Sorry for so few photos, it takes ages to upload them)

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Christmas, New Year and Ecuador

The Christmas period at the aldea was weird, it got sunnier and sunnier every day and the kids decorated a huge tree outside with Christmas decorations that all the casas had made. There were visitas almost every weekend (sometimes more) - visitors that came to give presents to the children, throw parties for them and share chocolate milk and panetone. The weekend before Christmas I think there were 7 visitas in total over the 2 days - we were so sick of panetone by then!! It was really nice to see people being so generous to the kids who don't really get anything else from the aldea.

All the focus at Christmas seems to be on Christmas Eve, so we had a special meal of pollo a la brasa (roast chicken) and chips for dinner. We had been promised a big build up party at night to celebrate Christmas but really what happened was we just stayed up until 12, said Feliz Navidad, hugged everyone and went back to our casas. Got to be honest, it was a bit of a disappointment, we felt really homesick and just wanted to have had a Scottish Christmas like back home. Thankfully though casa 2 invited us to their house for more chocolate milk and panetone. We sat for ages with lovely Tia Carla with some of the older kids and had a long chat about ghosts haunting the aldea. It felt a lot more like Halloween than Christmas!

On Christmas Day nothing really special seems to happen here in Peru, but our Directora invited us to her house for lunch which was really nice. It made us feel way less homesick, since we actually had something to do to occupy ourselves and we were in a family setting. We actually did have turkey and potatoes which were so good but different to at home - just not roasted so it felt a lot lot healthier! (Probably better that way though so as not to add to our expanding rice bellies)

On 27th December we left for Máncora, Peru to spend New Year there with the other Peru girls. Máncora is awesome, there's such a great vibe there and we met so many people just travelling round South America. It made me so jealous so I'm already planning a return trip to South America to travel (once I have the money)! Pretty much every second person you met were from Argentina (on a side note, they seem to have way too many incredibly stunning people in their country, it's very unfair) which was weird since we were in Peru,

We said goodbye to the other girls and then Amy, Cassie, Amelia and I had a one day stop in Guayaquil where we walked down the promenade and went to the craft market before heading up to Montañita - such a stunning place, right on the beach in and it was lovely to be able to properly chill out and not do anything apart from lie back and relax. It was SO hot there, in the red zone for malaria so we were extra careful about putting on 95% deet insect repellent and of course our mosquito nets at night. Topped up our tan nicely there, just as people at home were complaining of cold weather and winter and such.

After Montañita we headed to Quito, the capital of Ecuador. This turned out to be my favourite place we visited and I don't even know why! It is absolutely HUGE. From the top floor of our hostal as far you could look the city didn't stop. I just loved the feel of the city, it seemed so friendly and  Unfortunately we only had 2 days there so the first day we took a $0.20 cent bus to the equator line (Mitad del Mundo) and spent a very rainy day there - for some reason, being right on the equator doesn't mean it's going to be hot and sunny all the time, even in the height of summer...Anyway it felt more like we were back in the UK with all the rain!! Our second day we took a bus to Mindo (1-2 hours away) where we went ziplining which was so much fun, amazing views of the Rio Blanco from hanging upside down.

From Quito we went back down south to Baños. There we went canyoning which was incredible!! Basically just abseiling down waterfalls which sounds absolutely mad but which is SO much fun! I would so do that all over again. Also we went to the thermal baths - you can't not go to the baños when you're in Baños! Really really lovely and and hot (and one which pretty much burnt your skin off as soon as you stepped in) and relaxing...although we did get stared at as if we were monkeys in a zoo or something.

I loved travelling, getting to see new cities and do things I've never done before. In a way it was sad to come home back to the aldea, but I missed the kids so much, especially the wee ones. It made me realise how hard it's going to be when we leave here in mid June to go travelling again!!

We now have a new summer timetable in the aldea, which Amy and I both really enjoy. In the mornings we have the wee ones in for an hour - that's Jandi (1), Fatima and Estrella (both 2 years old) playing with dolls and plastic bricks and drawing a wee bit. Then from 10 until 12 we're in the swimming pool with the pequeñitos - the kids aged 3 to 6. After lunch we do art with the pequeñitos again which they love - every day without fail we have kids knocking at our door wailing "para pintaaaaaar, para pintaar".

In the afternoons we have also started English lessons with the 5 siblings that are going to be adopted by a family in the U.S at the end of February. I really wasn't sure how this would go because I do not see myself as a teacher, at all, but it seems to be okay. The 3 boys (11, 12 and 15 years old) seem quite willing to learn and they're improving. The twins are harder to work with, they're 9 years old and don't have as much enthusiasm as the boys but we're getting there (we think) and they are learning, little by little.

Also a big change in our aldea life is that Margarita and her 3 siblings have left to go and live with their parents. One of us was taking Margarita to the hospital every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for her therapy so without her here it's a bit weird! Unfortunately we're really worried her parents won't be able to take her into Trujillo for her therapy since they don't have much money, and that everything she's improved with will just go backwards. Of course she is with her family now and that's better for her, but we're just concerned about her development. She's just such a lovely wee girl!

I think that's everything for now, really sorry for the delays in blogging -I need to get back into the routine of getting a post done every 2 weeks or so!! It just depends though because some weeks it seems like nothing happens apart from our usual day to day aldea life, which I don't necessarily deem blog-worthy.

I'll leave you with some pics of our holidaying up North and in Ecuador.

Ciao for now!! Cuidate xxx





Amy, me and Cassie on the equator line

At the thermal baths in Baños

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Huaraz and Llanganuco Lakes

Right so first and foremost I am sorry it has been so long since I did a blog post! Too much happening and not enough money. So here comes news of our first bit of proper travelling! Only a short weekend and we were dying after arriving back in Trujillo at 4am Monday morning, but it was so worth it.

We took an overnight bus and arrived at 5am in freezing Huaraz - people had told us it'd be cold but we clearly hadn't really listened to them enough! Everyone else was in big warm blankets and jackets and there was us in our jeans and thin jumpers, used to warm sunny days in the aldea. Buying an Andean jumper was top of our list!

We spent most of the Saturday in the market - it was so fun to see another city's market since we've become so used to our own. Huaraz is so beautiful, surrounded by huge snow-topped mountains but still so sunny.

We couldn't wait to get up into the mountains so booked an organised walk for the Sunday, leaving at 6am. The bus journey up was so scenic even if rather bumpy, and we passed lots of cute wee Andean villages up in the mountains before getting to the Llanganuco Lakes - they are so gorgeous and so amazingly blue, even when it's not sunny! I spent a good 10 minutes in wonder at how beautiful it was.

The town of Huaraz sits at over 3,000m above sea level and we walked from 3,900m to 4,600m that day. Altitude sickness was not fun but manageable, I don't think either of us thought we would actually get it but we realised we must have when we were too out of breath for it just to be unfitness! We carried on and started the walk up to Laguna 69 - I must say it was most definitely not the easiest walk I have ever done, but it was so so beautiful, even more so that we had finally made it to the top!

Unfortunately as soon as we got to Laguna 69 our guide told us there was going to be a huge storm so we only had 10 minutes there before we had to practically run back down the mountain to avoid getting soaked and also to make sure we got the bus taking us back down!

Amy and I at Llanganuco Lake (in our Andean jumpers)

Laguna 69

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Pickpockets, Halloween and Criolla dancing

On Tuesday 22nd October we got a bit of a shock when we were asked to look after pretty much all the kids that don't go to nursery (jardín) or school, because most of the tias were going off to some meeting or training in Trujillo. Jandi (11 months), Elvia (Jandi's mum), Fatima (2), Margarita (5), Esmeralda (6), Fiorella (11) and Cristopher (8) - the latter 4 because they're new and so don't go to school yet - were all in our house and we had no idea what to do with them or how to control half of them. Fatima kept crying and looking really unhappy and not talking at all, apparantly it's because Margarita can't talk and so she thinks it's okay for her to be silent too. (To explain, Margarita is 5 but can't speak or walk, we're not entirely sure why but we've been taking her to the hospital on Mondays to try and get an electroencephalography - they put wires on her head and it's supposed to see what happens when she sleeps I think - although both times we've been she's not been able to fall asleep so that's why she needs to keep going back.) Anyway we looked after all of them from 8 until 12 when the wee ones came back from jardín and most of the tias came back. However, the tia that was coming to look after casa 10 (where Fatima, Margarita, Esmeralda, Fiorella and Cristopher all are) was still not here and then Xiomara and Daniel from casa 10 also came back from school and had to wait in our house for like an hour before Tia Rosa eventually came back. Then we were asked to help feed Fatima and Margarita when we still hadn't eaten ourselves - it was heading for 2pm by this point and we were properly starving.

The day after that we were in the salon doing our dancing activity with some of the girls when Tia Gloria came in and demanded that everyone went to their casas immediately. So we did as we were told, went outside and started walking towards our casa and all the kids we saw were shouting"run to your casa, quickly, quickly!" We waited at the kitchen windo waiting to see what on earth was happening - which so far was nothing apart from one of the tios wandering round the casas, we presumed checking everyone was in their casas. Thankfully then we saw Leonel and so asked him what was happening, who told us there were pickpockets round the outside of the aldea. He motioned slitting his throat, said they'd been here before, which got us pretty scared from then on. We triple locked our front door and double locked ourselves into our bedroom with a food stash in case that was us in for the night. Stayed in our room for an hour or so probably making ourselves more scared than we should have been, until we saw José out of our bedroom window sweeping outside casa 5 and we deemed it safe to venture outside. Later someone told Amy that in fact there had been a crazy woman at the front gates and that's why everyone had been locked in their casa. We weren't really sure what to believe and still to this day have no idea what happened. 

That Thursday (24th) we also were incredibly stupid and got locked out of our house. Not only that, but we got locked out of our room too since we'd left the key in our room. Luckily we are able to get into the front door without a key by putting a sweeping brush through the gap at the top of the door, but there is no way into our room when the door is shut without our room key. It was after the Direccion (office/admin building for the aldea) had shut so we couldn't ask anyone apart from the tios at the front gate, who said that there was no master key for individual bedrooms, only the actual casas themselves. So we thought right, well we're scuppered. We'll have to break the glass at the top of our bedroom door to get in. However thankfully we decided to try and get in from our window since they don't shut very well and we were able to push one open and then open the other. That then presented another challenge because we didn't know where we'd left the key. It wasn't on our key hook we'd made - even if it had been, it's right next to the door and the window's right opposite from it and way too far to reach across even with the brush. Finally we saw it on Amy's chair by her bed which thankfully is right by the window and we were able (with difficulty lifting the chair up one handed through solid prison-like bars) to get the key and let ourselves in without breaking glass and shattering broken glass over my mosquito net. Event over. Now we always remember to ask each other who has the key before we leave the house!

So this week has been Halloween, and even though they don't celebrate Halloween here in Peru, we thought we'd do something fun with the kids. We divided the kids into different age groups and each day of this week (apart from Wednesday) we painted cauldrons (the bottom of plastic bottles, painted black by us) with ghosts and pumpkins and spiders with the younger ones and made cookies with them to take away in their cauldrons along with a few sweeties. We watched horror movies and made cookies with the older kids too. We felt pretty good we'd been able to do something good with the kids as it's really hard to come up with exciting things to do that keep the kids interested. 

On Wednesday we didn't do Halloween activities with the kids as it was the dia de la cancion criolla - National Day of Criolla singing. There was a competition where each casa presented a soloist and then a group act of criolla singing and dancing. It was really fun to see the kids dancing (some in traditional dress) to their country's traditional music. 

Hasta Luego, 


The boys' painted cauldrons

Gean Carlos and David with their Halloween cauldrons

Painting with Danery and Xiomara

Baking cookies with Fany, Dina and Blanca
The older boys' finished cauldrons

Maria Luisa and Angel in their traditional dress

Casa 10 dancing to Criolla music

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Mirador, powercuts and carambola jugo

So POST came. Such a great moment. It only took about a month to get here and it takes about a week for us to send things home which is annoying but I guess it just makes post arriving even more exciting.

We went to the Mirador last weekend for the day, which is this sort of holiday resort in Quirihuac and just an hour's walk or 5 minute combi ride from the aldea! It was a lovely break and much needed. Ever since we spent s./200 soles in TGI's that ghastly night early on we're petrified of spending any money. It cost s./10 to get in (roughly £2-3) but what we didn't realise was that that also gave us a s./10 voucher for lunch! So pretty much got a 1/4 pollo a la brasa for free, and I would say that meal was pretty high up my favourite Peruvian meals so far. Also we got picarones which are like fried doughnuts served with honey syrup - so delicious especially when made fresh but I'm sure they don't do much for our expanding rice bellies.

There was a powercut on Tuesday evening, just after I'd finished dinner in casa 8. Most of the kids were already in their beds so it wasn't as much of a mayhem as I would have expected. Tia Carmen lit a single candle melted onto an upturned cup and it struck me that that one candle was all that was needed for a whole house of 11 children, when at home in Scotland we would have had candles in practically every room and torches and phones everywhere to light thing up. It was so much darker than at home as well, when the lights first went out I couldn't make out one thing in the darkness and I was struggling to make out who was who when there were so many kids about!

Sorry for the short post, it doesn't feel like much has been happening recently. I think it must be because we're realy getting more settled into the routine and things aren't so new any more. Each day goes by so quickly and before I know it, another week has been and gone. It's weird being in casas for the second time, that I've now been in all of them! I can't believe we've been here for almost 2 months now when at times it still feels like we've just got here.

Anyway I'll go for now, need to get home to make my own carambola jugo - my favrourite freshly made juice by the aldea tias.



Saturday, 21 September 2013

Fridges, Matias, native foods and the craziness that is Peruvian traffic

So last Wednesday we'd been feeling a bit down since Monday and Tuesday's activities had been a bit crap. We were lying in our beds feeling sorry for ourselves when we hear a knock at the door. I get up to go see who it is and see two Tios standing outside with a massive fridge. They hardly explain anything, just bring the fridge inside, plug it in,  make sure it's working and leave. At this point me and Amy got so excited. It genuinely made our day, that might sound a little bit sad but when you've been having a crappy week with no-one coming to activities, it meant a lot! Now we enjoy cold refrigerated fruit, water and Fanta at our leisure. Talking of Fanta, Fanta seems to taste way, way better than it does at home. We're not sure if it actually is different or we'd just been craving it so much that's why it tastes so incredible.

On Thursday we had Matias in our house trying to get him to sit down and actually do one thing for an extended period of time when he started wailing "popo, popoooo". We had no idea what he was saying but we assumed he meant he wanted to go to the toilet, so we left him there. It was about this point that Amy and myself were almost in a breakdown from laughing so much! So he kept on wailing and wailing so we went in to check on him haha and saw him sitting on the side of the toilet. We were just exasperated by now and so told him "hace un popo, lava tus manos y luego ven por aqui" (do a poo, wash your hands, and then come here). What followed was possibly the funniest thing I have seen in a long time. It was the sight of his wee face scrunched up in concentration, obviously trying very hard to do what we'd asked him. We gave up and for some reason had to go pull his trousers up before he came out. After that we had to take a few minutes to compose ourselves in the kitchen before we could face him again.

I wanted to talk a bit about how different the Spanish is here to what I learnt at school. Here they say "carro" for car instead of coche. Instead, "Coche" means buggy/pushchair/trolley. Instead of aqui and alli (meaning "here" and "there") they pronounce it "aca" and "aya". They don't use "zumo" for juice, but "jugo". Also they always say "ahorita" instead of ahora so we take "ahorita" to mean the equivalent of "right now" instead of just "now". They use "chompa" for jumper which is pretty easy to remember! "Tengo sueño" (literally means I have dream) is their way of saying "I'm tired" instead of "estoy cansado/a".

Another strange thing about Peruvian language is that they use rico (rich) and feo (ugly) as an adjective for everything. Food, clothes, facial expressions, are all described as feo. It's just a bit strange hearing "este comida es feo" (this food is ugly).

The kids and tias also all find it impossible to say both of our names. My new names range from Heller to Jerry  (remembering that their J sounds like the end of "loch" so it actually isn't as far off as it looks written down). Amy is constantly called Eeeeemmeee or Ah-mee. A lot of the time we are just referred to as "la voluntaria" or I've even heard some saying "gringa" or "gringita" since they can't remember our names or who is who.

Traffic in Peru, or Trujillo, at least, is absolute madness. Speedbumps are vicious, unmarked and often, and jolt you abruptly forward in your seat every 30 seconds. It doesn't help that there is a constant lack of seatbelts here so you just have to learn to provide your own suspension. Also Peruvians don't seem to bear in mind that a 5 seater car is meant for 5 people. Most times I get in the aldea car to take someone to the hospital, I sit with them in the front passenger seat or am squashed in the back with 3 if not 4 or 5 other people. I think the most there's been in one standard 5-seater car is 10. I was told on my first day in Trujillo that the most people there are, the less you move about.

Aldea meals are actually not nearly as bad I was expecting. Breakfast is almost always a bowl of hot milk (although sometimes quinoa porridge instead) and two rolls. Lunch is the main meal - some sort of soup and a plate of rice with beans/meat/egg/protein of some sort and a vegetable. Dinner is the same as lunch, but minus the soup, and quite often stone cold. Since arriving here I've had this weird seaweed-type thing (but not the tasty crunchy type you get at the Chinese), gancha (some sort of popcorn kernels we think - sometimes this is soft and just like beans, other times roasted and salted so it's halfway to popcorn as it is in Western countries), whole fried fish (which was a bit of a surprise when I realised I was making my way towards the eye) and what I think might be straight chicken liver which I've been given multiple times in soup. I've also become used to having beans, egg, and avocado with everything which I didn't like before I came here. Olives I still haven't gotten round to liking yet, especially first thing in the morning with a bowl of milk.

I've also had chicha morada (yummy drink made from dark purple sweetcorn-lookalike boiled with water, lemon juice and sugar), yuca (potato-type thing) and lots of yummy fruits - granadilla, chirimoya, carambole, lúcuma, pepino dulce (sweet cucumber/melon type thing), orange-coloured bananas, bananas small enough to fit in your hand, and mini orange-type things I'm not sure the name of . Peruvian limes are also used in everything. Some of the fruits I mentioned are made into delicious jugo in the aldea and are served at lunchtime as a pudding.

If you go to it gives you a description of some of the fruits I've had.

The last thing about food I must mention is that today - wait for it - I had pasta. In the aldea. Like proper spaghetti. It doesn't sound like much but when you've had rice every day for the past month or so and then you get given a plate of spaghetti, it's pretty phenomenal!

Activities-wise, arty things have taken a back seat. With the older kids (13+), we now do dance/zumba with the girls Mon-Thu, and sports with the boys Mon-Fri. It's a shame we don't do anything with the younger kids at the moment but we're thinking of starting up arty/craft sessions again from 2 until 3 before our sports stint from 4 to 6. It's not as hardcore as it sounds haha, zumba is really good fun and the boys always want to do football which just means standing about trying to run away from the ball when it comes our way.


The general view from the back of a Combi

Chicha morada

My first aldea meal! (rice, beans, fried egg, onions)

Saturday, 7 September 2013

First week of activities and Huanchaco

This week was our first week of scheduled activities so we were a bit scared about how it would go! Monday was group 1 with the youngest kids aged around 5-10. We weren't sure whether we'd have tantrums or what but thankfully the colouring in sheets went down a treat, which really we should have expected since they'd been asking for "dibujos, dibujos" pretty much every day since we'd arrived. Tuesday with group 2 (10-12) and Wednesday with group 3 (13-15) went surprisingly well with drawings for them too. Then Friday came, we still didn't have a clue what we were meant to do with kids our age so we brought paper and instructions to make paper planes along with games like checkers and bingo. None of the older kids came haha so that was a bit of a disapointment but some variously aged children did come instead so we played a couple of games of bingo.

On Tuesday I went to the hospital with Fabricio. Fabricio is this adorable little 3 year old boy in casa 5 but since he has brain problems he can't speak or walk. I wasn't really sure what I'd be doing but I just kind of helped with taking him places and picking him up since he's so heavy! Tia Marta also told me that he'll be going to a home in Cajamarca for children with special needs at some point in the near future. I'm so sad he's going, especially since this is only the start of our year and he's such a sweet boy. I saw him laugh and smile for the first time that day and it was so wonderful, the tias and children don't have time to spend time with him on his own to help him develop so the home in Cajamarca will be really beneficial for him.

On Friday we helped Tia Marta in the enfermeria making cotton wool swabs and gauze pads which was nice as we actually felt like we were being helpful. We had planned to leave for Huanchaco after lunch at around 2-3 but Amy had since been told that there was going to be a football game between all the casas at half 2, and we had to play too. Brilliant. So for once things actually happened on time, we all went up at half 2 and found that football had turned into volleyball. We then played multiple games where I either ran away from the ball or tried to hit it which always resulted in me almost breaking my hand because the ball was like a rock.

Afterwards we managed to escape to get a Combi from outside the aldea to town to get another Combi to Huanchaco. Our first holiday!! Thankfully Marta had given us detailed instructions on how to find where the Huanchaco bus leaves from so we (surprisingly) had no problems whatsoever getting our buses and arriving in Huanchaco which is this gorgeous (even if somewhat touristy) beach town which is where we are now. Today we treated ourselves to a lie in (haha, we got up at half 8) and hot showers which were SO GOOD. You never truly appreciate a hot shower until you have 2 weeks of cold showers beforehand. Yes, so unfortunately in the aldea we have no hot water since some of the previous volunteers broke it from using it too much. Yippee for us. Although we have found that it's best to have the cold shower at the middle of the day when we think the sun must heat the water tank up a tiny bit, plus we've been up and doing things for a while, instead of it rudely jolting us awake at 6am.

Sorry, back to Huanchaco. Last night after my restaurant meal of chicken and rice which I really shouldn't have ordered since it was pretty much identical to what we eat in the aldea and our first taste of pisco sours (yummy), we headed back to our hostel and the restaurant below. We were then beckoned over by some young-ish Peruvian guys who sat with us while we ate our pancakes and they had their dinner, we all attempted a conversation in Espanglish whilst watching Peru play Uruguay in the world cup.

Today whilst looking for a nice place to have lunch we were heckled by about 5 different men trying to get us to go to their restaurants. After escaping them and avoiding any awkwardness by going to one of their restaurants we found a cheapish place where I had the most yummy thing ever. It was called "sudado de tollo con arroz y yuca" which was basically like fish and vegetables in this really delicious slightly spicy sauce, with rice and yuca which is kind of like potato (looked it up in the dictionary later and it just said yuca or cassava) but not as nice. Very weird. But oooh the fish. Too good. All seafood here is meant to be amazing since it's right on the coast so I should probably have some ceviche tomorrow.

Another thing I should mention is that I just went out to take a nice photo of Huanchaco at night, and this guy asked me in Spanish if I spoke English, I said yes and I found out he was from Germany at which point I got really excited because it meant I could actually practise my German on him! We proceeded to have a conversation in mixed English, Spanish and German. It was a complete nightmare. I was speaking German like a first year which is so embarrassing since I've only just finished advanced higher. I guess it just goes to show how much my Spanish has improved since I got here. I found myself wanting to speak Spanish more than even English as I wasn't sure how good his English was and I felt just as comfortable if not more comfortable speaking Spanish. I kept saying "pero" in the middle of a German sentence and then realising I should have said "oder". And I'm only less than 2 weeks in, goodness knows what I'm going to be like at the end of the year and trying to relearn German at uni!

Anyway that's enough for now, I recmembered to bring my camera cable this week so you can all enjoy some photos!!


At Edinburgh airport ready for departure!

Our house
Torch Festival at at the school

Renzo and Matias

Angel and Mirabel

David, me and Angel

Amy with the kids drawing


David and Matias drawing