yes…I have developed a reputation for being quite the camera man…but with good reason too.
For my talents, Shannon enlisted me to come down to San Marcos to get some footage of her end of the summer school fiesta sort of event. I obliged and ended up having a great time. The Clausura also had some great performances by her students that I thought would be great for everyone at home to see. The performances are of traditional dances from Peru along with some very Peruvian traditions…minus a very interesting Jazzercise-esque number (I’m still puzzled).
Shannon’s clausura one
Who doesn’t love a good music video?
I had approval to spend a couple of days up north in the historical and very liberal city of trujillo after a very rough month of February. Getting the chance to reconnect with some of my fellow Peru 12-ers in my training group (even before reconnect) was so therapeudic. We ended up having a great time just disfrutar-ing the beach, eating some good sea food and seeing what the old city of Trujillo had to check out. It’s so interesting to go visit another department’s capital city after having spent three months in site/only in Ancash. La Libertad was like another world compared to what we’re used to here in the mountains. There we people actually dressed like you might see someone in California (boardshorts and all). There was a starbucks…yes a starbucks. I mean, it’s just hard for me to believe that just one department away there can be such start differences in culture. Peru is good for that.
The creativity certainly wasn’t lacking on this one…
trujillo music vid
Being a volunteer in Ancash has its many challenges but I think all of us would agree that one of the most daunting aspects of surviving up here in the Andes is the language. Speaking quechua is not a figment of my imagination, it’s a reality…a harsh reality. So Peace Corps comes in to alleviate that stress with two weeks of intensive quechua classes at the Rima Rima institute in Huaraz.
Great right? We get to spend a whole week in Huaraz, going to class, cooking meals together, enjoying each other’s company… sure. But it became oddly similar to a real world scenario and luckily I knew how to tactfully pull out the camera when we all stopped being polite and started being real…
The real world quechua
I visited many homes in Chucos with the nurse at my health post and as a result came back with some great footage of just the people of the village. What I’ve compiled sort of serves as my farewell to the village of Chucos, the place I called home for 3 months…
the chucos through my eyes one
Claudia and I had the amazing opportunity to pair with the Peruvian organization Juntos to work on a week of hygiene educational sessions with over 300 mothers in our district in the Conchucos valley. The week we had was so rewarding and truly a great way to begin working as peace corps volunteers in our region. We were able to get to know so many people and really start getting a feel for how we can positivly affect the population in need here with our health initiatives.
While I am sad to be leaving these people in the district that my former site was in, I am happy that I was able to at least work on one project the they benefited from. The video is a quick run through of the weeks events. Hope you enjoy!
The ¨let´s talk hygiene¨ one
I just wanted to throw out some news that I´m sure would have surfaced for most of you in due time but it´s almost best to streamline this kind of information.
I will be leaving my site of Chucos Ancash. Peace Corps Perú came this past week to help me move my things down the mountainside (which was NOT an easy task…lol). I am not leaving Perú however, I am just making a site change to the town at the base of the mountain called Chavin (which you saw the video of the ruins that are there in Chavin in a previous entry of mine…if you haven´t, check it out!).
I wanted to just say that while februrary was a very difficult month for me considering how rough the first three months can be especially given the challeneges that my old site presented, I am sure that this is the right move tp take. I also want to express how it has nothing to do with the people of Chucos and their lifestyle. I enjoyed my time there up on the side of the mountain and learned A LOT. My family was good to me and the community is certainly not at fault for my moving to a new site.
In the end, I think I just realized that in order to realistically see myself living in Perú for two years, I need to be comfortable and happy. If there are moments a peace corps volunteer´s service where they don´t see themselves realistically feeling that way in general about their site, then it is certainly a good opportunity for a lot of contemplation of how they can make that a reality. The office in Lima was WONDERFUL in helping me make this happen and over the next month or so I will be developing the new site I am moving to and starting fresh.
I am writing this because it should be clear that the village of Chucos is a wondertful community and I feel so lucky to have been able to have shared 3 months of my life with them. I am parting on positive terms and have even discussed the possibility of returning every so often to work on short term projects with them if the opportunity presents itself.
I was told early on in training that if you want to be here in Perú, there is support and an amazing staff to help make that happen for you. While not all peace corps volunteers realize that this is something for them, I did realize that I DO want to be here in Perú, doing this work. So, from first hand experience now, I will say that it´s true: This is the hardest job slash experience that you´ll ever love, it´s not easy… but as long as you WANT to be here, you can make it happen for yourself. I´m proud to say that I have no desire to leave and a fresh start in a new site is something I´m very enthusiastic about looking ahead to now.
so at one point during our training in Lima, a ¨higher-up¨ from USAID told us to remember that were not here to become Peruvian…we are here to share our culture, experience, enjoy… but BEING Peruvian wasn´t something that we should feel compelled to accomplish. Now this is coming from a proud anthropology major that prides himself in acclimating well to foreign culture situations etc…
What that rep. of USAID said that day in training resonnated for the volunteers of Ancash when we prepared to celebrate a VERY american tradition overseas: SUPER BOWL
a day of high calorie dips, chips and beverages.
What was missing this go around were the sports commentations in English and also the entire reason for watching the super bowl in general: the high quality commercials that pay a fortune for their 30 second airtime.
in light of the tragically absent components, we decided to make a day of our little American tradition with adventure and fun.
Here´s what ensued that one fine day in early february!
The superbowl extravaganza one