Day 4 and 5: The Beginning of Volunteering

The following was written yesterday, but not posted:

Phew, Tuesday was a looooooooooooooo…..oooooooong day!  I was asleep within seconds last night and I´m still only half awake.  And the coffee is watered down blah coffee #thestruggleisreal.

Spanish class went well again yesterday and I was only half as starving as I had been the day before, so the time passed more quickly.  We learned how to use me, te, le, etc like I love you would be te amo.  I told a story about when Russ and I were in the DR and he wanted to ask the bartender ¨como te llamas¨–> What is your name?, but instead, he said te amo…hahaahaah.

Anyway, after Spanish I had an hour for lunch, so I went to THE Alpaca Lady.  Everyone knows her and says she has the best, least expensive things.  They´re right.  I just bought a pair of thick socks to keep my tosies warm since I´m always cold here.  I also ate lunch while walking (a small avocado and cheese sandwich, a banana and a juicebox) before heading back to the volunteer office to go to my first day at my project.10383662_10202305969678818_8267195402494158291_n

I am working at an after-school program called Corezon de Dahlia (Dahlia´s Heart).  A woman named Dahlia began the project a few years ago to give the kids a place to go after school while their parents worked.  The place is far, like really far.  But the kids are adooooorable!  They all greet us with kisses and hugs and say -Hola Professora!  And they are convincing.  We are supposed to help them with their homework, but they have a sneaky way of pawning off their homework onto us.  Their homework is usually to just copy a page word for word and then copy the picture and color it, so many of them asked me to help them draw the picture.  (I don´t understand the point of copying word for word, because I doubt they retain it).  I ended up drawing some very nice pictues, if I do say so myself, but then they colored all over them.  Boo.

After my placement, I took the bus allllll the way to salsa, which ended up taking about an hour and I was SO hungry, so I got an empanada on the street and walked to salsa but when I got there, they were way into it and I was lost, so I met up with my roommate and we took the bus home.  Never doing that again!  We ended up missing dinner, so when we got home, we walked next door in search of bread to make pb sandwiches.  We bought two things that looked like bagels, but they were donuts.  So that was dinner, with pb of course.

Then we took the bus back to town to go to the volunteer house for a pregame and then out to the clubs.  Holy moly, this house was like the Real World.  It,s a very (very very very) nice house with a lady that cleans, cooks, and sleeps there.  The house is beautiful and filled with 15-20 20-ish year olds.  Real World, yes?

We walked to a bar with a live band and hung out there. photo 2 (1)photo 1 (1) They had free food since this week is a big holiday.  I tried everything that didn,t have meat- quinoa with cheese, pasta with cheese, potatoes with cheese, and something that looked like hummus with cheese and tasted like fish.  Blech.

Then, we went to Mama Africa!  It,s not a huge club, but it was a lot of fun and they play American music and we danced.  We left around 12:30 and took a taxi home and I fell asleep immediately.  These clubs stay open til like 5 am but I had to be up at 7:45 so…no.


Okay so that bring us to yesterday (Wednesday).  I woke up sleepy and wishing I could sleep longer, but when there is an opportunity for food, I welcome it with open arms!  Im either going to come back to the US really thin from the lack of food eaten here, or nice and plump from all the carbs!  Ha.  So we had breakfast (bread, jelly, butter, tea) and then I finished getting ready and Amber and I caught Batman to town.

Wow.  Batman was so full that when we got on, they couldnt close the door, so we had to hold onto the bars on top of the bus to avoid falling out backwards.  (Dont worry mom, those buses are super safe!) Hahaha.  We were fine and they eventually got the door closed, which was a real treat.  Have you even bear-hugged someone on the bus?

Once we got to town, we walked to an excursion agency to book a trip to Puno and Lake Titicaca this weekend.  We booked it last night!  Im excited.

Then I had Spanish class and it was the best day so far, because we spent the first hour just chatting in Spanish and not doing grammar.  Grammar makes my head spin.  We learned about the holiday today in which all 13 saints will be carried to the Plaza by men that will walk miles, some without shoes.  We also learned that we can try the special dish sold today, which is chicken, cuy (guinea pig), and blood sausage.  WHO WANTS SOME?!  I think I can bring some back for you.

After class, I caught the bus home for lunch (which I love about this country—people leave work for a couple hours to go home and relax).  We had pasta with vegetables and a little beef and salad.  Then I quickly dropped my stuff off and caught the bus Salla Huasa to my project, which is about 25 minutes from home.

All went well at the placement.  I helped one little girl with her homework and it was a PROCESS!  She kept writing and then erasing what she had written until it was perfect, which I find a lot of these kids do.  Two of the volunteers that are leaving this week brought enough tooth brushes and tooth paste for everyone to take home, because many of them have rotting teeth.  They also bought lotion because these kids have the reddest, dryest (is that a word?) skin.  I hope those products help!  They also sand songs and danced for about a half hour, which I took lots of pictures of 🙂photo 3 (1)photo 4 (1)

I took the bus home and there was a lady carrying 3 bags that were MOVING!!!!  I think they were chickens because they were bawking, but she just carried them like they were bags of clothes!  Only in Peru!

When I got home, we relaxed and then had dinner (rice with tuna fish mixed in—Dad, it was your kind of meal—and homemade chocolate pudding, which was so good!).  After dinner, we caught the bus back to town to meet up with two other volunteers and go book our trip to Puno.  We did that (after arguing with the guy about the price—Russ/Dad, are you proud of me?!).  We all booked the trip for about 75 dollars for a 3 day, 2 night trip where we will stay with a host family, go to a typical celebration dressed in traditional costumes, and tour Puno/ Lake Titicaca.

After that, we went to visit the Alpaca Lady and everyone bought sweaters, but I helped them pick them out.  I am trying to avoid buying souvenirs until after the first week, at the very least.  Then we walked back to the bus stop and stopped on the way to watch a basketball game that was happening in the really cool dome-shapped amphetheater thing.  Then no buses came so we took a taxi and I went to bed as soon as we got home!

Tomorrow Ill tell you allllll about the festivities of today, what its like to run at a very high altitude, and what I saw when I visited a market (hint: it had to do with a woman and the toes of a chicken).

Stay tuned!

P.s I was able to upload my pictures to the family computer, so here are some from the last few days:

My room:10338274_10202305705952225_5232727886994700182_n10492240_10202305705792221_5946765395132028523_n

Around Peru:10494831_10202305948958300_8188501163489990952_n 1907373_10202305771953875_1874006125822688216_n 10341457_10202305791874373_8013580497817344626_n  10426921_10202305938718044_6701503694970785130_n10481941_10202305962278633_8976418667419238829_n

The people:10479589_10202305967998776_5745967978169891436_n10440709_10202305787474263_1896147633042381994_n10428019_10202305791234357_3372685984859582608_n10382839_10202305786234232_643965594098796625_n Corikancha:10353570_10202305721632617_5126107986425842576_n 10378912_10202305721992626_1136197218859715643_n 10402527_10202305728912799_8266089866408418702_nIn the Plaza de Armas and the parade:10341952_10202305935757970_5236398447809915426_n 10390085_10202305934237932_4232724490685413651_n 10387221_10202305955398461_8096772301402498683_n 10390093_10202305952318384_1721674272809197700_n 10390932_10202305989399311_6972580846971443648_n 10443445_10202305747633267_7606236935945492536_n 10455361_10202305988479288_8052165622298000441_n 10462933_10202305947878273_7746471441256793775_n 10487388_10202305946318234_8903557621482315304_n 10491249_10202305959998576_1183951765226645472_n 10491189_10202305958158530_2455238373332867939_nphoto 3photo 2 (2)photo 1 (2)photo 4DOGS!  Mom, I am bringing one home:1964972_10202305941318109_404739031412725419_n 10372574_10202305964478688_5896115626910135464_n 10422242_10202305788194281_6285007902259490781_nFlowers:10374460_10202305736712994_6231190902180842077_n 10440641_10202305924117679_5876316402442966842_n 10443346_10202305738913049_4489757833683470280_n 10460741_10202305734752945_8513529067041880401_n

And that´s it!  Thanks for reading!

p.p.s No, the rianbow flag is not Gay Pride.  It´s the flag of Cusco, or the Incan Empire.