Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Annie’s Adventures in Peru 2008
Volunteering and touring in Peru
This was a last minute trip for me, the Great Organizer, as I decided to go in late September after the Global Volunteers trip to Poland was canceled due to lack of interest. I already had all my shots for last year’s trip to China, so I was ready to go.
I’m going to working with a Global Volunteers (GV) team in an orphanage in Lima. I decided to go four days early so I could tour Macchu Picchu. I think the tour was set, but I didn’t have any details. For a super-planned person like me, this was disconcerting. I arrived in Lima 10:45 p.m. on Tuesday, November 4 and had arranged for a hotel. Guillermo, a travel agent recommended to me by GV, has sent me a copy of the general itinerary but no specific times or hotels.
I went to the 99 cent store and Big Lots before leaving for Peru to get things on the list needed by the orphanage. So that suitcase was packed. That will leave me plenty of room to bring back souvenirs etc. I know that gold, silver, and copper jewelry is beautiful and a bargain in Peru, but doubt jewelry will fit into my budget. I hope to do holiday shopping there. Peruvians are famous for their weaving, especially sweaters and hats. We don’t need too much of that in Phoenix, even in the winter.
I’m reading a book about Peru by Peter Flindell Klaren entitled Peru: Society and Nationhood in the Andes. It’s told from the peoples’ point of view rather than the rulers.
Arrival in Peru and day tour of Cusco
On the plane to Miami my seatmate was Patricia from Peru. That seemed auspicious. All went as planned. The hotel driver picked me up at the Lima airport and I did feel quite vulnerable as I waited on a sidewalk for him to get the car. My first night in Peru was spent at Hotel Torreblanca in a Spartan room with a huge bathroom with a Jacuzzi. I was able to watch Obama’s acceptance speech, trying to understand the English before it was translated into Spanish as there were no English stations on the TV.
The next morning a driver took me to the tour office. I was given some paperwork and taken to the airport for my hour flight to Cusco. I thought I would be on a tour with other people, but it looks like I’ll just be going with different groups every day. In Cusco a driver took me to my hotel, San Isidro Labrador. The location was excellent, just a few blocks from the main square. However it was more Spartan than the hotel the night before. There was no telephone, internet, or TV in the room.
I walked to Plaza de Armas. This was the center of the Incan Empire and it was divided into four parts, each leading from the center of the city. I ate a lunch of alpaca stroganoff. I have a headache, probably from the altitude, 10,900 feet up. A local contact for the travel agency met me at the hotel, handed me off to someone else, who delivered me to yet another person for my city tour.
There were 18 people in the group, with Sylvia serving as our tour guide. Very quickly we learned that she saw life from the Incan point of view. First we visited the Cathedral. It has 13 chapels but only one is open to the public. The other twelve belong to groups of families. Money cannot buy you into one of these chapels; you must marry into the family. This seems parallel to the society here. People of mixed blood (Incan and Spanish) control everything. The indigenous people have no power. Also inside the cathedral is a huca, a sacred Incan stone. The indigenous people come in to touch it, circling it with their hands three times one way, then three times the other. It is located in a corner near the door. There are many oil paintings that look like ones from the Renaissance. This is because the Spanish conquerors taught the Incans the Italian way of painting. One huge painting of the Last Supper had a roasted guinea pig on the table (a favorite food of Peruvians) and Judas had an uncanny resemblance to Pissarro. In the one public chapel there is a crucifix whose skin is very dark. The Incans crept in one night and put llama skin of it and it turned dark to match their skin. This is known as Our Lord of the Earthquakes because in 1650 the people took the statue into the square and paraded it around and the tremors stopped.
Next we visited the Temple of the Sun which is now part of Iglisia Santo Domingo. Those crafty Spaniards built churches on top of every Incan religious site. Archeologists found the Incan ruins below the church. The stones are all fitted together without the use of mortar. There are niches for mummies, which were put in the fetal position. Once this site was completely covered with silver and gold, with life-sized gold llamas and trees in the patio. Of course the Spaniards took all the precious metals. The patio does have some beautiful flowers. One part of the Incan temple would light up during the June solstice. The Incan engineers did this at all the sites I saw. They were excellent astronomers and architects. However they did not have a written language, or none has been found, so much of the information about the Incas comes from archeologists.
The last place we visited was a little outside of town, Sacsayhuaman (pronounced like “sexy woman”.) It was a fortress. There were many terraces which had different functions such as for growing crops, storage, or as retaining walls. Ninety percent of the site is still underground. The walls had huge stones (up to 250 tons) fitted together. How did they move the stones? They did not have the idea of wheels. Archeologists conjecture that they either used logs and rolled them move than a half a mile from the quarry, or sewed together animal skins and dragged them. Quite a feat. We also saw a natural cave with an altar. On the way in, a shaman (healer) was selling necklaces. Naturally I bought a few. I do know of some people who need healing. Our guide said that only animal sacrifices were made inside. Outside of the cave was a big rock that was supposed to look like a puma. Incans revered the condor, the puma, and the snake. Sylvia said this is where the human sacrifices took place. The young people were bathed and purified. Coca leaves were picked, dried, and put in small bags. These were put in the throat of the victims and they suffocated. (The tour guide at Macchu Picchu on Friday disputed that. He said there is no evidence the Incans did human sacrifice.)
The guide, Sylvia, offered to let us off at the alpaca wool factory just a few blocks from the square. Another couple and I opted for that. We got a lesson on the difference between baby alpaca wool (the first shearing and the softest,) other alpaca wool, and how to recognize synthetics. The sales woman thought I looked great in a wildly colored and patterned sweater. Great in Peru, but weird in Scottsdale. I bought very tame items as holiday and birthday presents.
The factory paid for a taxi to take us to our hotels, as it was past dark. I left my purchases in my room and consulted my guide book for a place to eat, as that was not included in the tour. I could see I was going to be spending some time alone, not like on the tour Las Chicas Locas took in Costa Rica. I ate at the Inka Grill on the square. I had the ayi del pollo, but it was a bit spicy for me. There was no heat in the hotel room so I wore two sweaters to bed.
Sacred Valley of the Incas
Saturday, November 8th, 2008
My tour group was fifteen people, most of whom were in their 20’s. I could not understand the tour guide’s English. I didn’t even catch his name!
First we went to a market way outside of the city. It must be just for tourist buses. I did manage to buy some jewelry and scarves.
We went to Urubamba Valley. Terraces abound. We walked down a trail with many steps and no railing. I do not have great depth perception and it was difficult. We saw the ruins of a village from about 1400 a.d. There were about 800 residents of this place, as the Incans lived eight to a room for each extended family.
My heart was pounding and my head was throbbing. I decided not to go up the mountain to see the religious site. The only other people my age, a couple from Switzerland, made the same decision, as did a young couple from Canada because the young woman was afraid of heights. It was quite a hike getting back. I’m so glad I bought hiking boots when I visited Linda in Massachusetts. I felt disappointed that I didn’t do the whole hike, but I know that the altitude was getting to me. I had met a man at breakfast at my hotel who said he almost died the day before because he pushed himself too hard.
We went to a buffet lunch in Culca. We were entertained by a trio of flute, guitar, and drum playing lively Peruvian melodies. The beets were terrific, as was the chocolate cake.
Next we went to the fortress of Ollantaytambo. There are 400 steps to get to the top to see the unfinished Temple of the Sun, again with no railings. I went up 91 and turned back as my heart and head were pounding like they were going to explode. I wasn’t really out of breath, just a bit scared of the physical sensations. I visited the ritual bath called the Princess’s Bath. The Incans were very clever at making aqueducts to get water. Again I did some shopping and bought a tee shirt and earrings.
My favorite part of the tour came next. It was Chinchero. Indigenous people live here in the traditional way. Llamas and alpacas roam the streets of the town. We had a demonstration of how the alpaca wool is cleaned, dyed with natural substances such as plants and insects, and how it is woven. The whole process reminded me of Navajo weaving, although the looms were not as sophisticated as the Navajos. During the presentation, we drank coca tea. I’m really not sure about these coca leaves. I know that’s where cocaine comes from but tea from its leaves is served everywhere. The sun was setting as we viewed the ruins and the Catholic Church built on top of the Incan religious site. The ceiling of the church was intricately carved wood.
On the tour bus I sat across from two scientists who were originally from Russia. They were quite interesting. Both are in genetics and need new jobs, so I’m going to send the information to my cousin Debby who runs an agency that places PhD scientists.
I ate at a chicken place that reminded me of El Pollo Loco. I’ve lost my journal, so I had to buy another one and rewrite the first few days of my adventure.
It was frustrating that since I was using an internet cafe, I couldn’t access my blog since the password is on my computer and I don’t remember it. I emailed the ASU help desk, but they wrote back that I had to call to get my password. That’s why I had to wait until I got back to Lima to log on to the blog. Tomorrow I go to Macchu Picchu on the 6 a.m. train.
I didn’t sleep much last night as I was excited about my trip to Macchu Picchu and worried I wouldn’t get up in time even though I arranged for a wakeup call and set my Suns alarm clock. The travel agency person was supposed to meet me at 5:20. By 5:30 I was getting nervous, but had no local contact numbers. Although the hotel receptionist called the tour agency in Lima, of course no one answered that early in the morning. Finally a new person arrived and took me to the train station. I met Aldo, the leader of the tour, who said he would meet me at the bus station in Aguas Calientes, the last stop. I don’t have tickets for the bus or an entrance ticket to Macchu Picchu, but Guillermo, the fellow who arranged everything for me, had always come through, and so I figured it would be fine.
The train was a Vistadome, which meant the top was glass so we could see the trees and snow covered mountains as we travelled. I sat at a table with a couple from Uruguay and Sylvia, a well traveled young woman from Colombia. She was with her sister and husband, but they were at another table. The table was set with a white tablecloth and blue runners. Formally dressed waiters and waitresses served us rolls, cheese, slices of meta, and coca tea. The ride was long, four hours.
At the last stop I followed the crowd to the bus station, where Aldo gave me my tickets for the bus and Macchu Picchu. It took 35 minutes on switchback roads to reach Macchu Picchu, which is about three thousand feet lower than Cusco so I no longer had a headache. I had been warned about sun block and mosquito repellent and took appropriate precautions.
Aldo handed me off the Wagner, the guide for English speakers. He was quite knowledgeable and easy to understand. He disputed several things that Sylvia, the tour guide from the city tour, said.
Macchu Picchu, built in the mountains in the 1400’s, is a very elaborate series of terraces and buildings. It was “discovered” in 1911 by American Hiram Bingham. The reason it’s in such great shape is that the Spanish never found it. The place was abandoned about 1530 but there is no explanation for this. This reminds me of the Anasazi in the four corners area of the American southwest. They built stone and adobe buildings along cliffs about 1000 A. D. and also abandoned them for no known reason about 1200 A.D.
Wagner thoroughly discussed Incan seismic architecture. The trapezoidal windows and the walls built at an angle were components of anti earthquake building ideas. The walls also extended underneath the building. They were connected by beams and the area was filled with pebbles. When earthquakes have stricken Peru, the Spanish colonial buildings crumpled but the Incan walls held. Seismologists from Japan have studied Incan architecture and used their ideas to avoid building collapse during earthquakes.
The Incans practiced a meritocracy, meaning that the nobles were chosen for their talents, not born into their positions. About 800 to 1,000 people lived in the Macchu Picchu community.
There was an intricate underground water system that delivered water from the top of the mountain. Some of the “pipes” have become clogged over the years so it doesn’t work in all areas of Macchu Picchu.
The Incans built rough walls for ordinary buildings that used mud in between stones, and more perfect walls, where the stones fit together perfectly for special buildings. They put gold clay over them so the buildings shone when hit by sunlight.
We saw the Temple of the Condor which had a stone sculpture of a condor, with its wings being the stone outcroppings.
The massive terraces were for farming and storage. There was no need to irrigate as this is a wet place, adjacent to the Amazon rain forest. Macchu Picchu was a trading center between the highland farmers and the denizens of the jungle.
The Incan astronomers figured out their calendar based on the June and December solstices. Their calendar only has to be adjusted every 1300 years, unlike ours which must be adjusted by a day every four years. The Temple of the Sun has a rounded edge and was constructed to allow the beams of the sunrise of the solstices to hit one spot.
After the tour, I went up some of the stairs (without rails) and sat down on a terrace and contemplated what life in this Eden-like setting was like six hundred years ago. When I finished my reverie, I noticed that an alpaca was grazing about three feet from me.
I walked around looking at the various buildings and terraces.
I took the bus back down to Aguas Calientes and had lunch, then shopped at the bazaar and did some shopping. I went to the train station and had a nice chat with a couple from Missouri.
For the train trip back, my seat was changed. I sat at a table for two with Sylvia, the young woman from Colombia. We ordered Pisco sours, a potent drink only made palatable by the sour mix. First the waiter shook it in rhythm. He passed the shaker to the waitress who shook it to another rhythm, and then spilled it all over Sylvia and me. What a sticky mess! We cleaned up and had a good laugh about it as well as free drinks. When we were toasting “salud” Sylvia spilled some of her drink on her sister. We laughed even more.
The entertainment on the train was a fashion show put on by the wait staff and a traditional Incan clown.
Sylvia and I shared our pictures of Macchu Picchu and talked in depth about our lives.
The trip back to Cusco took four and a half hours. My local guide was there to pick me up and drop me at my hotel. I wasn’t feeling well. I don’t know whether it was the tomato and lettuce on the cheese sandwich for lunch or the chicken salad sandwich on the train. I was nauseous all night.
Sunday Nov. 9 Global Volunteers Team
I didn’t write about yesterday as it was a transit day from Cusco to Lima and I had digestive problems. I stayed at the Torreblanca Hotel before I went to Cusco. The room was large and had a gorgeous Jacuzzi shower/tub. I was a bit surprised to find my new room was much smaller, about one quarter the size. But it is cocoon-like and cozy. I did meet a colorful character at dinner at the hotel. Fifty-seven year old Terry moved to Lima 17 years ago. He went to the beach every day for the first four years. He started to get bored so he started a business of importing used car parts. The business was wildly successful but his main competitor was the brother of then President Fujimori. Terry was told that his business was now illegal. He lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now he works in gaming, arranging for simulcasts for OTB (off track betting.)
Today I met our team. There are two Lauras. One is a restaurant owner from Virginia. The other Laura is a retired scientist from the Boston area. Westin is a 22 year old college student studying international business. Our team leader, Edith, is 27 and lives with her parents about an hour and a half from Lima. We gelled right away. We took a tour of the project sight, PPA, a place that provides safe housing and nutritious meals for 450 children. About 5% of these children are actual orphans. The rest are in the custody of the state for myriad reasons and many see their parents on weekends or monthly. It was quite clean and friendly.
We went out to lunch and had a delicious meal of fried fish and cooked vegetables. All four volunteers decided to go on the two and a half hour City Tour, which was $28 USD each, and boarded the tour bus at 2:10 p.m.
We are staying in an area of Lima known as Miraflores. It is quite upscale. Enrique, our tour guide, gave the explanations in English and Spanish and was quite easy to understand. We passed colonial mansions and foreign embassies. We passed a park where olive trees were planted more than 300 years ago and still are producing olives. An old wooden horse powered machine that pressed the olives into oil was on display.
We only saw Huaca Pucllana, the pre-Incan pyramid, from behind bars. This is a site I will need to revisit.
We went to the Plaza Mayor at the center of town. In one part of the square is a statue of San Martin, one of the liberators of Peru. At the center of the square is a 17th century bronze fountain that has lions copulating. Its water is supposed to aid fertility.
We all boarded a two decker bus and rode around the square twice because the tour operators had arranged it with the producers of a travel video. We saw three symbols of power in Lima: The cathedral, the president’s palace, and the mayor’s residence. There was an ironic juxtaposition of romantic horse drawn carriages and huge military tanks to protect the president’s palace.
We went into the Cathedral, constructed by Pizarro. It has been rebuilt many times due to earthquakes. The ceilings were white and arched.
We walked to Monasterio de San Francisco, a church painted colonial yellow on which many pigeons collected. My favorite statue was of the “Apostle St. Jude Thaddeus, work patroness and lawyer of the impossible causes.”
We toured the catacombs below the monastery. These catacombs were used as a cemetery until 1810. The wooden ceilings were fitted together with tension, not nails, and have survived Lima’s many earthquakes. It was pretty creepy to see the earthen rectangles that went meters down and still held bones. After years these bones were transferred to “wells” ten meters deep and arranged with the skulls in the middle. This was also another way to earthquake proof the monastery. Of course I had to buy postcards of the well for Susan G. and Veronica.
We boarded the tour bus about 5:30. We passed the famous statue of “the Peruvian Kiss.” That was the end of the tour, but we kept going around on the bus for no reason we could divine. At one point the driver, Edgar, left the bus for about 30 minutes and Enrique did not know where he was. We finally returned to our hotel at 7 p.m., to a very worried Edith. We took fifteen minutes to freshen up before going out for pizza and empanadas.
Monday, November 10, 2008 Global Volunteers Project
The Global Volunteer project in Peru is at PPA (Periculturo Perez Aranibar.) We took a tour of the fourteen acre campus, part one yesterday and part 2 today. We visited the kitchen, storeroom, toddler laundry, regular laundry and the hospilito. Children are grouped according to age. After age four girls and boys are housed and play separately. They do go to school together. The dormitories are large, clean rooms with rows of beds with colorful bedspreads. We visited the primary school, for children in grades one to six. Children in grades 7-12 go to a local public school. The kinder (ages 3, 4, and 5) gave a delightful presentation of the fable “The Hare and the Tortoise.”
We walked to lunch to Qubba, the restaurant we will eat at every school day. The Queen’s salad was half an avocado with a mixture of cooked peas and carrots. The entrée was a chicken dish with a cream sauce and mushrooms, and of course, rice. The dessert was a very yummy brownie with vanilla ice cream.
The walk back through the upscale residential area was so pleasant. The weather here is about 69 degrees during the day and dips to about 62 at night. It’s humid but not oppressive.
When we got back to PPA we read the journals of people who had done the jobs we had chosen. I’ll be working the “hospilito” (infirmary) in the mornings from 8:30 to noon and with kinder crafts projects in the afternoons, 2:30-4:30. Our team leader Edith showed me the way to the craft room. It’s on the second floor of an orange building on the boys’ side of the campus. I was introduced to Maria Flores, the teacher. The students weren’t due for a while, so I set about preparing materials for another class. They are making angels out of pop bottles and plastic balls. The pop bottles were cut, then papered so they will hold the student’s personal items. My first job was to cut holes in plastic balls, like the ones in McDonald’s playgrounds. I then fitted these on top of the pop bottles. I cut large circles of paper, then cut into the circles so the paper could be glued around the balls and thus fastened on to the bottles. Maria gave me very viscous sticky white glue. I was an absolute failure at gluing. The first one I tried ripped in several places. I felt bad about wasting resources, but there was no way to salvage the paper. The second one was off center and not done correctly. Edith came in to check on me and tried to rescue the project. Luckily the six three year old students came in and interrupted the work. The students were practicing skills they will need to make Christmas cards for their parents. They penciled around plastic triangles and circles, colored them, and cut them out. This is quite a feat for three year olds! Many of them were able to do it and were able to name the colors. I was impressed! I worked with Jessica, Heidi, and Ester. Jessica stopped working for about ten minutes and couldn’t be encouraged to continue. On her own she went back to her work. I hope they enjoyed my company as much as I enjoyed theirs.
When I returned to the Global Volunteers office I found Lulu, formerly known as one of the Lauras, looking like she had been whipped by an alligator. She and Laura were supposed to do one on one therapy with toddlers, but the physical therapist was not available. They spent two hours in the toddlers’ playroom being manhandled, hugged, bitten, and generally loved. Both Lulu and Laura looked absolutely exhausted.
We took a cab back to the hotel and met at 6:30 for dinner. We walked along the shore line and went to a restaurant there. We sat on the patio and listened to the waves. I ordered a Pisco Sour, but it was way too strong. I couldn’t drink it even after they watered it down. The first course was vegetables al dente: mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, artichoke hearts, and green beans. The entrée was kabobs of chicken and beef. It is amazing how well our team gets along and enjoys each other’s company. We’ve decide not to take any tours out of the city during the weekend. We want to go downtown to the pedestrian street, check out some museums, and see the musical fountains.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Children can understand most of my Spanish!
I forgot to write about my change of rooms. The team members were so appalled at the smallness of my room that they requested I be assigned a new room. When I came back to the hotel after work, the busboy and I moved all of my things to the room next door. It is a better place! I can turn around without falling over the bed, there is no step up to the bathroom and I have a closet and a refrigerator.
Today was my first full day at PPA. At breakfast the three other team members “chewed” their coffee. They say that’s the best way to describe this liquid. I either drink black or coca tea. We usually have eggs and peanut butter and jelly rolls while Edith gives us the schedule for the day. Lulu, Laura, and I took our suitcases of donated items for PPA today so we had to use two taxis. I was in charge of making sure my taxi got the right place. I met the challenge.
I loaded up on puzzles, colored pencils, markers, paper, coloring books, and paper airplanes and went over to hospilito. There were six children aged four to ten. The first question the helper asked was whether I had had chickenpox, as one of the patients was thus inflicted. Yes, I had them for my fifth birthday.
The only thing in the room for the children to do is watch television. I turned it off immediately as I figured they had the rest of the day to watch. I introduced myself and they told me their names and ages. I read the kids El Castillo de Chuchurumbel and they were very attentive. I gave out the puzzles, markers, pencils, and coloring books and they happily went to the tables to entertain themselves. Several asked me to help them and I did, but the 100 piece lion puzzle was very hard and missing too many pieces. Jimmy and I agreed to put it away and do something else. All this time I was speaking Spanish and the children understood me! I could not always understand them due to a lack of vocabulary, but it was indeed gratifying that so much of the language came back so quickly.
I told the kids “Henny Penny,” “The little Red Hen,” and “The Tree” in Spanish. They were an attentive and participatory audience. Brenda with the broken arm insisted that I NOT tell “Little Red Riding Hood” but I have no idea why. Other big hits were the Styrofoam airplanes and the GI Joe types with parachutes.
We took a minibus to lunch. The bus was behind schedule. The ticket taker hurried us aboard and the driver lurched ahead before we were seated, much to our surprise. Today’s lunch was cream of corn soup (with gigantic white kernels,) and what seemed like pork short ribs with sweet potatoes and of course rice. Dessert was a caramel crepe with chocolate ice cream. We needed the walk back to help digest all this food.
Westin, the 22 year-old college student, went with me to work with the three year olds. Maria Flores asked him to do the pasting project I had failed yesterday. She was impressed by his artistry, so I cut the paper and he glued. Eight three year-olds arrived, a different group than yesterday. We did the same project. It really is amazing how much better they were at tracing and cutting after only 15 minutes of each.
When we returned to the hotel, the Wi Fi was fixed, so I was able to post yesterday’s blog and write and post today’s.
Tonight we will eat at the hotel and play Scrabble. Heh, heh, heh!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
This morning the team accompanied two girls (Jessica age 12 and Jamora age 10) and the social worker to do home visits. Global Volunteers hired a car and driver to take us to the outskirts of the city to a very, very poor community. It took about 40 minutes to get near, and another 30 to find Jessica’s place. Her mother, who sells flowers, was not at home. The area was a complete dust bowl. We met her older brother and sister. They live in brick place with two small rooms with an open fire to cook. There is no bathroom or running water. They had a chicken in a cage and a small black cat. The sister spoke English fairly well and is studying it at an institute at which she was once a secretary. The institute didn’t pay her so she’s taking the wages out in tuition. Jessica rides two buses home every two weeks for a weekend with her family. The social worker took notes on everything.
It was even harder to find Jamora’s house, but we did. It was more in town. Her mother works as a maid and lives at her employer’s house. Jamora visits her there every two weeks. No one was home. Jamora wanted to get inside but didn’t have a key. There is no running water in the whole community. A truck delivers water to oil drums in front of houses. Edith had told us that her dog sleeps on the roof to guard the house, and indeed I did see a dog on a roof.
We went to a soup kitchen which feeds about 15 families who pay 1.5 sols (about $.40 USD) for a meal. The women who work there get to eat free. The government only partially supports the soup kitchen. I was surprised to see some fields with crops. Maybe there is an irrigation system. The poverty was heart-wrenching, but Edith says that we should see it as the people do, with hope. At least they have something.
We went to Qubba again for lunch, which was a stark contrast to where we had just been.
In the afternoon I again worked with Maria Flores, the occupational therapist. This time I did a better job at the project of pasting masks on tag board. Perhaps she has a plan of therapy for me. She explained that the students would cut the masks out, paste a tongue depressor and a strip of paper on the back for reinforcement, thus making a mask or fan. I would cut the eyes out with a box cutter. Then there would be stories. The four-year old students were late, so we walked to get them. There were sixteen students, which seemed to almost paralyze Maria Flores. Six of the students did not have masks colored and pasted. Maria Flores was going to take them to another room and work with them, but ended up staying in the room with me and the helper and making sure the students finished their projects. When they were finished, nothing seemed to be happening. You know me, I stepped right in and told “The Three Bears” and “Henny Penny” in Spanish, and then we acted out the latter. Then it was time for me to go. I hope I didn’t step on Maria Flores’s toes. I also forgot to cut the eye holes, but I imagine that will be waiting for me tomorrow.
We took a cab back to the hotel, showered, and walked with Edith to the massage place where all the therapists are blind. Westin had never had a massage before! The cost was $10.00 USD with no tipping. My massage was delightful! We exited the place an hour later as wet noodles.
We walked a few blocks to a very nice Chinese restaurant and had dinner. It was a good walk home as we didn’t get run over. The days are quite filled but go by quickly yet it feels like I’ve been here a long time and have known Lulu, Laura, Westin, and Edith forever. I needed to get away and I’m so glad I’m in this place with these people.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Twister in the Hospilito
During our morning meeting, while the others drank their chewy coffee, Lulu read her journal entries. She has been saying that she can’t write and is embarrassed to do the journal. Her entries captured the spirit of our experiences with her own twist. Quite good! Laura and Westin left early so he could be in the kitchen to butter the 250 slices of bread. Edith, Lulu, and I followed a short time later to find both of them in the office. Westin reports that he will have to be there by 8 a.m. to do the job. I guess our morning meetings will be at 7:20 or so rather than 8 a.m.
I gathered many items to entertain the children in the infirmary, el hospilito: coloring books, colored pencils, markers, Twister, Candyland, storybooks, 100 piece puzzles, a parachute man, and outlines of the characters of El Castillo de Chuchurumbel, made by Susan Bailyn, who illustrated the book. There were four children; I’d guess all were around 10 years old, in the “day room.” They cheered when they saw me. I took out the “entertainment” and Luis and Marisol played Candyland while Mayli and Julia did the puzzles, with my assistance. Actually they were much better at it than me. When they bored of these activities, I took out Twister. They knew the game and went right to it. They were quite patient with my pronunciation of “left” in Spanish, and we laughed as they contorted themselves and tried to keep off the mat. When that got old, I gave them the Xerox pages of the characters from El Castillo de Chuchurumbel and they colored the castle. They asked me if the pages were “regalos,” presents, and I said “yes” as once they colored them they were theirs. They didn’t get into telling each other the story as I hoped they would. We read books, Luis made an A-frame house of cards, and they really enjoyed looking at the pictures from Macchu Picchu on my digital camera. I think I’ll bring my computer tomorrow and show them the pictures of China.
Lunch at Qubba was again a winner. I had a salad, which was sliced avocadoes and tomatoes, huge corn kernels, blanched green beans, peas, asparagus, and lettuce. The other choices were a skewer of grilled fish or chicken soup. I had fired fish for the entrée and it was delicious. Of course everything is served with white rice, which I can’t eat, but there is more than enough food. The best was the dessert, key lime pie with meringue. Yummers!
We walked back to PPA and Westin went with me for the kinder arts and crafts. When we got there a class of boys was doing exercises along to a Tae Bo video. Hmm, so for the boys it’s exercise and for the girls it’s arts and crafts. There are similar themes for the older children. The boys do welding and the girls flower arranging and cooking. After the boys left, Westin was asked to glue while I cut out the eyes I was supposed to the day before. Then I made a pattern for angel wings for the five-year-old Christmas project. The students were late in coming, but finally showed. They completed their masks, colored insect papers, and I told stories.
I am very impressed with PPA: its caring staff, the high expectations, and the facility. These children are here while in the U.S they would be in foster homes. I know that this is the best Children’s Home in the country, and I am proud to volunteer here.
Edith, Laura, and I took a taxi to the Indian Market, where I bought more holiday gifts. Cui (guinea pig) is a great national dish here. I bought a t shirt for my son that says on the front “Guinea pigs, I love them” and on the back it says “roasted, broiled or fried.”
The team members ate together in the hotel dining room. I did have a Pisco sour and it was delicious. My head is spinning at bit from it. Pisco is a regional brandy. The question came up at dinner at whether people volunteer and do good deeds to make themselves feel better or to help others. I think it’s a bit of both.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Movie day and Peruvian dances
I went down to breakfast early, drank some tea, and read. Laura joined me, then Edith and Lulu. Westin didn’t show. Laura and I volunteered to go to PPA and do the buttering of the rolls for the morning snack. I cut the rolls and Laura buttered them. We counted them so the correct number could be delivered to each section of PPA. It took us about 45 minutes.
I went back to the office to gather my supplies for el hospilito. I brought my computer as the kids wanted to see my pictures. The same four children were there: Luis, Marisol, Mayli, and Julia. Luis wanted to know if I could get the Internet. Negative. For the next three hours we read books, drew, sang ‘Hokey Pokey” and generally cut up.
Laura, Edith, Lulu, and I went to the market (think huge place with individual stands) to get the supplies for the afternoon’s movie for the junior high students. We bought corn for popping, oil, drink triangles, lollipops, and another kind of candy. We also bought High School Musical 3 for 3 sols ($1.00 USD.)
We went to the restaurant where we were supposed to meet Westin as he did not go to PPA in the morning. Laura, Lulu, and I are worried about him. He’s 22 and a good kid, but may be more fragile than I realized. We had another stellar meal but had to eat quickly. I felt nauseous on the way back to PPA. We set up the auditorium for the movie and Lulu the caterer organized the snacks. Lulu, Laura, and Edith went to kitchen to pop the corn and put it in individual bags for 110 people. I kept waiting for the students to arrive, but no one showed. I thought about going to the kitchen to let Edith know no students had come, but was concerned that if I left, the students would arrive with no one there. The students finally filtered in about 4 p.m. and Milli, the other Global Volunteers team leader started the film. It was in Spanish with Spanish subtitles except the songs were in English. The girls seemed to enjoy the movie, but the most of the boys were bored. There were about 70 students. The rest of the team returned with the popcorn. We handed out snacks intermittently. I think it went well. As soon as the movie was over, we stacked the plastic chairs in the front of the auditorium and swept the floors. We carried the left-overs back to the office and headed for the hotel.
We had a team meeting at 7 p.m. to review our goals. Lulu and Laura had issues about their situations. They are each working on-on-one with a toddler in the afternoons. They were prepped for the physical therapy but it doesn’t happen every day or for as long as they expected. The advice from Edith: Go with the flow. I feel I have the easiest jobs and no complaints. Perhaps el hospilito will be full next week with imps and I will eat my words.
Edith, Laura, and I went to Junius, a restaurant with a buffet supper and a floor show of Peruvian dances. The food was tasty but I ate sparingly as my stomach is not quite right. A band of five men, two with guitars, two with drums that looked like wooden speaker boxes, and one percussionist/Peruvian flautist, played some songs. The dances included an Incan fantasy, several with African influences, the coquetry dances, and an amazing scissors dance. The latter had many Russian dance steps. I was surprised to see so many African themes as I have not seen many Black people in the two areas I’ve been in. I’ll have to see in what parts of the country they used African slave labor. Chinese were also imported for labor, but not as slaves, merely exploited. It was a fun evening.
Saturday, November 15, 2008 Annie
On my first day off I got up about 7 a.m. but didn’t get out bed for another hour. After a shower, I checked email and went to breakfast to get a cup of tea and read. By and by Laura came in for breakfast. We talked and agreed to eat at the hotel and go to the fountain show tonight, then go to a museum tomorrow.
I went back to my room and finished yesterday’s blog and organized my pictures. I walked down to Vivanda, a supermarket, to get some chocolate, potato chips, and batteries for my camera. I took some pictures of unusual plants I saw in landscaping on my way. It’s a warm day, 73 degrees and sunny. Just delightful.
Lulu and I went to the Indian Market. We bought gifts and a few things for ourselves. We were hungry and went to lunch at a Swiss restaurant with delicious food. I had parmesan scallops that were baked in their shells. We went back to the Indian Market for a few more things before coming home. I negotiated for the taxis and all went well.
I walked around the block from my hotel and found the ocean! I sat on a bench in the park above it and people watched, contemplated, and read.
Our team leader, Edith, is off for the weekend. We have coupons to eat at the hotel. The team met for dinner (asparagus soup and mozzarella bread for me.) We took a taxi downtown to Circuito Magico del Agua, a park in which there are thirteen fountains in different shapes and sizes. It’s only been open for a year. We saw only one tour group. The rest of the throngs were Peruvians enjoying the park and the mild weather. One of the fountains made a pyramid of water, one had a slide show of Peru projected on the water, one was coordinated with music, and one was “traditional” with Incan faces spewing water. People were darting in and out of one of the fountains where the water would go off so you could run to the middle, then start again. A few people managed to stay dry, but most got caught by a sudden spurt. The team walked through the “tunnel fountain” as if it were a test of endurance while it actually filled me with wonderment. The underground tunnel that connected the two parks had a display of public works of the past few years. The transformation of some of the streets and parks was amazing.
On the ride back the cab driver got a bit confused, but it worked to our advantage as he took a detour to the upscale mall and Weston got out there to commune with some people closer to his age. The driver finally found our hotel.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I had stomach trouble at 5 a.m. but went back to sleep from 7:30-9:30 a.m. Laura knocked on my door and invited me to go to a museum. I felt good so I went. We discussed our plans with the woman at the front desk and she told one of the workers to get us a taxi and give the driver the directions. We thought we were going to The National Museum of Archeology, Anthropology, and History. We ended up at a much smaller museum, The Larco Museum. It houses quite a collection of pre-Columbian art, especially pre-Inca. We hired a guide to take us through the museum, and she definitely was a find. The necklaces, vessels, earrings, patchwork and regular textiles, breastplates, and much more were from the civilizations from 8000 B.C. to 1300 A.D. The artistry of the cultures was amazing! There was a storeroom with 60,000 ceramics. An erotica collection was divided into four categories: religious (showing mating of deities that produced the natural world,) humorous (among which were pop corn pans where the steam came of out vaginas,) moral (showing what happened if you got syphilis, was a commoner and practiced polygamy, and that you could enjoy sex after death,) and instructional (which showed different positions and people generally enjoying sex.
After the tour we ate in the museum’s café which was excellent though the service was on Peruvian time. That was okay since we were in no hurry. We sat outside and had soup (Chicken for me that tasted Jewish) and desserts (strawberries atop a strawberry mousse tart.) On the table when we sat down were corn nuts as appetizers, except these corn nuts were not as dense as those in the U.S. because the corn kernels are so much bigger.
We took a taxi to Plaza Mayor to stroll on the Pedestrian Street. We rode through poor and industrial areas of Lima to get there. I was rather surprised that the shops were not at all touristy; rather they were clothing and electronics stores for the locals as well as restaurants. I found an office supply store and bought some CD’s to copy my pictures for the rest of the team. I also went into a department store and bought some hot wheels puzzles for the Global Volunteers office at PPA so I can use them in el hospilito this week. The weather was sunny and quite warm.
We went back to the hotel and as we rode closer to our section, Miraflores, it got cloudier and mistier. I had thought I would go to the ocean and read, but the weather was not inviting. Instead I took several naps after downloading my pictures.
Laura and I went to Maveny, a pizza place. The meal was heavy on cheese, so we took a walk to the supermarket, Vivanda. I bought some of the Peruvian corn nuts to have as a snack in my room. I’m writing this blog, and then I’ll read myself to sleep. I do miss all of you at home.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Team Felled by Illnesses
I went down to breakfast early in order to have tea and read. Laura came down for a few minutes, but told me she was sick and would not be going to PPA today. Westin came down looking wan. He was very sick yesterday and feeling marginal today. Lulu and I are fine. Westin and Lulu left early to cut and butter the rolls.
At el hospilito there were only two girls, Marisol and Isabel. The latter looked flushed and was said to be coming down with. We did a new puzzle I bought of the Disney princesses. It took the three of us a while to complete it. They used the watercolors on coloring book pages and I wrote a limerick for Coach Davey. We played Twister, did the Hokey Pokey, and created with colored pipe cleaners. Marisol and I worked on a new Hot Wheels puzzle I had bought and there was a piece missing!!! Westin came by, completely sweaty, and said he was going back to the hotel to take a shower and would meet us at lunch.
Qubba again served up a delightful lunch. The others had beef soup while I had an autumn salad. The entrée was lentils with either soy sauce chicken or regular roasted chicken. I ate the latter. We kept worrying that Westin would not know the way to the restaurant from the hotel, but we should have had more faith in him. He showed up and ate soup and ice cream. For dessert, Edith had the baked apple, I had chocolate ice cream drizzled with fudge and caramel, and Lulu had a crepe with chocolate ice cream inside.
In the afternoon I worked with Maria Flores and the almost four year olds. Before they came I traced, cut out, and edged wings for those bottle angels the five year-olds are making. What part are they doing? It seems very work intensive for what they’ll end up with. The class of nine children was quite unruly. They were rude and refused to follow directions. I wasn’t in charge, but it was uncomfortable for me. Westin had quite an active afternoon with Oscar and Arno and a tag-a-long. He looked completely bushed!
We walked quite a way to a restaurant called “San Antonio’s.” It was an upscale sandwich and salad place. I had an artichoke pastel and a brioche de chocolate which were to die for. I did notice that all of the diners were very light-skinned. It was in a snazzy section of Lima called San Isidro. Hmmm.
Tonight I will finish the Peruvian fiction book, Ximena at the Crossroads. It’s a strange but haunting story about a young girl and her well-to-do family in the 50’s in Peru.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I finally passed gluing!
Laura was still too sick to work this morning. Lulu and Weston went early to butter the rolls (for about 350 children.) I arrived a bit later and helped them. I went back to the office to pick up puzzles, construction paper, colored pencils, markers, watercolor paints, coloring books, storybooks, and Candyland before heading over to el hospilito. There were three girls today: Mirasol and Isabel from yesterday and Brenda with the broken arm was back. We enjoyed doing the new Spiderman and Hot Wheels puzzles as well as drawing, painting, playing Candyland, me telling and reading stories, and taking pictures. Laura decided she could work so she came over to tell me so we would make sure to wait for her before going to lunch. Brenda tried to squirrel away the construction paper but I asked for it back because I need to use it the rest of the week. It wasn’t until I unpacked my backpack in the Global Volunteers office that I realized that Brenda had pinched my sunglasses. Luckily they were not expensive, but were from Big Lots, though it was disappointing to have it happen. I need to remember that they have very little personal property.
Lunch at Qubba was a salad and beef and spinach ravioli with flan for dessert, along with the ever present garlic bread on which we all thrive.
Weston came with me to Kinder crafts (occupational therapy) in the afternoon. He set right to work gluing the angel’s heads. I decided to try gluing the pink tissue paper over the heads to make the faces. I succeeded well enough that Maria Flores did not ask me to do something else. When the three year-olds came, they cut triangles from green tag board that had already been traced. They glued three together (large, medium, and small) to make Christmas trees. We then dotted the trees and they pasted on plastic circles for lights which they had punched out the week before. It was a bit tedious for them. I was helping Marisol, who kept trying to eat the sticky glue. I asked her to go back to her chair. On the way back she fell and got a bruise on her neck. I felt terrible! This class was MUCH better behaved than yesterday’s class.
We all went to get a massage at the place that employs only blind therapists. We insisted that Edith get one too. Lulu was so relaxed that when the therapist tried to tell her in Spanish to sit up she said, “No habla Ingles.” Weston joked that the message was so special he couldn’t talk to his mother tonight. Mine was even better than the first one, and for only $10.00 USD. Lulu and Laura wanted to take a taxi rather than walk back to the hotel. The five of us smashed in a taxi would make a great photo.
We had dinner at the hotel and continued to talk and laugh. This certainly is a special group of people!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I Have It Easy
I got up early, washed my hair in the shower that got cold by the time I got to rinsing myself off, and contemplated the day. I definitely have the easiest assignments of the team. Laura gets mauled by the babies every morning while Weston does hard labor like trimming trees with machetes and I play with a couple of kids in the infirmary. In the afternoon, Lulu and Laura do physical therapy with Emily and Maria Christina, toddlers. Weston plays with the two worst behaved kids in the school for two hours while I cut and glue. Sometimes he gets a respite from Arno and Oscar and gets to help Maria Flores with me. I don’t feel guilty about the situation. We chose before we really knew what was involved. It’s very nice not to be in charge. Perhaps I would teach the Kinder crafts differently but I don’t have to worry about it. I just have to do what I’m asked to do. I love it! I’ve been having a gas problem, burping and farting a lot, probably due to the mounds of garlic toast I eat every day for lunch at Qubba.
Lulu, Laura, and I cut and buttered the rolls for the morning snack with caramel goo and butter. We then counted them out (200 in one container, 151 in another, and 75 in another.)
I went to office for my supply of things to do and headed over to el hospitalito and there was no one to play with. Isabel was sick in bed and so was another boy, Benjamin. I went back to the Global Volunteers office and found Edith. She took me to the leader of the kindergarten who asked me to make popcorn containers for the students. I was led to a classroom where the students were barely under control. They ran to tell me and Edith about their teacher who had been hurt in an accident the day before. I did not realize this meant they had a substitute. I thought it was a regular teacher’s aide. I made the last popcorn container but it was rejected by the substitute because there wasn’t enough overlap above the upside down party hat. I did it again. I told a few stories and the students were attentive. They finished their craft type activity and got out puzzles to play. I sat at a table and helped them. I let out a silent deadly fart and one girl held her nose, but nothing was said. I did not own up to it. The substitute disappeared for while, and then came back with the morning snack: the rolls I had cut and warm milk. For 30 minutes the students ate and generally fooled around. The substitute asked me wipe off the tables when the students were done, and a few students refused to let me near their space at the table. They were getting rowdier by the minute. The substitute had them put away all the puzzles, and then left me alone with the kids! I figured recess was imminent. Some kids darted out of the room, others tried to swing on the classroom door; it was chaos! I’m not good with chaos, but I had no authority. Twenty-five minutes later the substitute returned. The students took off their smock uniforms and went outside for a very brief recess. Then it was time for the Fiesta. The teachers had taken large mats out of a storeroom and set them around the edge of part of the playground. The students sat down with their classes. First the youngest, maybe 3 years old (?) tried to play musical chairs. That was pretty entertaining except I was in charge of my class, as the substitute was nowhere to be seen, and they were punching and generally cutting up. A few children from each class got to do an event like walking with a hard-boiled egg on a spoon, etc. It was a lot to ask three, four, and five year-olds to be attentive while others played. In the U.S. we would have had stations and done the events simultaneously so everyone participated. After the Fiesta, we put away the mats and the children played. Some kids and I danced to the music, forming a rumba chain. Quite fun.
Laura had a heart breaking “aha” this morning. She felt, rather than thought, about the kids having no one constant in their lives from whom to get comfort. Sad and sobering.
In the afternoon I went to help Maria Flores. She was tracing circles on tag board for the five year-old girls to cut out. She needed a form for the smallest circle and I used a five sol piece, smaller than a quarter. I doubted that the students could do it, but they proved me wrong. These circles will make snowmen. It’s a cooperative project in that one class cuts the circles, another will put the texture on, a third will put on the hats and faces, etc. We cut strips of orange and yellow paper and the girls made hair for the boys’ angels. I questioned why the hair was these colors when the kids all had brown hair. The answer was very practical: that’s the color paper they had. But why wasn’t brown paper bought?
Laura and Lulu had to deal with ants in the playroom they were using.
After work we went shopping for gifts for PPA: copy paper, pencil sharpeners, and shoes for toddlers.
For dinner we took a taxi, but the traffic was horrendous due to the APEC meeting. World leaders are converging on Miraflores and many streets are closed. The taxi had to drop us off about ten blocks from the Acantilado (Cliff) of Barranco restaurant in the Bohemian part of town. Outside the restaurant is an area where lovers congregate and kiss. It’s on the water with a beautiful view. We had vegetable lasagna with Greek olives and beef with onions. Laura remarked that she could see a reflection of a Madonna in window and wondered if she was having a religious experience. Lulu looked around and pointed out the stained glass around the corner from our table. Weston said it didn’t look like Madonna and we all cracked up.
Dessert was the national pride: picarones. It is like doughnut but made from sweet potatoes and squash and served with a cinnamon sauce. We ate two servings and said we were glad that we didn’t find out about them until nearly the end of our trip or we would have insisted on them every day.
Thought for the day:
“With women (and men) like these, failure is impossible.”
---Susan B. Anthony
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Maria Flores Floors Me!
Westin, Lulu and I put ham in buns and buttered other buns this morning. We had 100 less to do because Lulu bought cupcakes for the kindergarten. Gloria was grateful we still have one more day to help her. Lulu delivered cupcakes to the toddlers, 3.4, and 5 year olds and helped Gloria deliver the rolls to all the boys.
Laura thought five was the maximum number of babies to climb on her but she was wrong. Today she had six cherubs . She gave three pairs of shoes to babies’ cubicle. The great helper there, Patricia, went bonkers over them as did one of the nuns who came over three times to see them. Unfortunately the shoes have round laces and are difficult to keep on the kids’ feet.
I stopped by el Hospitalito to make sure there were children to be entertained. Brenda, Marisol, and Isabel were there, but the latter was too sick to interact. We did puzzles, they drew pictures for me, we read books, told stories, and generally had a great time.
We took our usual bus to lunch. You have to get on quickly and sit down quickly as it begins moving as soon as the last person mounts the stairs. We had cream of artichoke soup or a vegetable omelet for appetizers at Qubba today. The main meal was spaghetti with beef or chicken tossed with soy sauce. I asked for fried rice instead and they accommodated me. Delicious. Weston and I had to hotfoot it back to PPA as I was told by Maria Flores that today was going to be a busy day and I had to be on time. We were a few minutes late, not bad.
Maria Flores was in the larger room with a big group of students. There were two big chairs for Weston and me. The children acted out El Castillo de Chuchurumbel while Maria Flores read the book I had given to her. It was an excellent production, the children were so well behaved, and I was truly moved that she would take the time to plan and practice this while she has so much else on her plate. After the performance I distributed the masks the students had made and hugged them good bye.
Two of the students stayed and Maria Flores started their angels with them. Weston and I glued. I mastered the gluing of the heads!!!!! I felt like Rocky on the steps. After that, we cut out feathers for the angel’s wings. Four more five year old boys came and we worked on their angels. We glued the hair and made the face with pens and the boys pasted the feathers of the wings. I used a glue gun to affix the wings on the bottles. After they left, Maria Flores asked us to stay longer and work with another group. Weston had to decline as he had to call his bank before it closed. Edith and I stayed. It took another forty minutes for the next class to come. We cut out feathers and glued on hair. These boys were also interested, cooperative and well behaved. It was a long but good day for me.
Lulu found a large card from the four year olds that she worked with in the kindergarten. Then she and Laura did physical therapy at PPA with Rosa Christina and Emily. They took half an hour to just play and hug and love the kids. They fed them and were upset at the way the substitute helper was treating some children as she was feeding them. It was the very first time anyone has seen unprofessional behavior on the part of the staff.
We went to Donoatello’s for dinner where there was a difference of opinion on the rankings of garlic bread. Lulu thought Donatello’s was the best while Annie considered Qubba’s the best. We had a lovely dinner and sang the song for Edith that goes to the tune of “Daisy, Daisy.”
Edith, Edith, you are our leader true.
We’ve been lucky to be on a team with you.
It was the trip of a lifetime.
You have been our lifeline.
The chores and tasks,
And all you ask
For the children of PPA.
When we got back to the hotel, we started the techno party. Annie downloaded everyone’s pictures to her computer, then made CD’s that Edith uploaded. There were a few glitches: Annie erased all of Lulu’s pictures from her camera, but luckily they had already been uploaded so she could give them on CD to Lulu. Also, Weston’s Apple computer wouldn’t load Annie’s PC formatted disk. He had to download everyone’s pictures from their cameras.
Thought for the day: “The only gift is a portion of thyself.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Friday, November 21, 2008
Our Work is Done
Weston, Lulu, and Laura went early to butter the rolls. Annie was the slacker who had another cup of tea and a piece of coffee cake from the bakery around the block.
There was no one to entertain in el hospitalito, so Annie spent some of the morning with the babies and toddlers, Renato, Rosio, Angel, Fidel, and Mateo to name a few. It is amazing how open they are to accept affection and attention from new people. One of the favorite toys was a basketball, which Renato kept sitting on and bouncing himself up and down. Perhaps he has a future in the NBA. Laura came in later, having finished the rolls, to help and play with the babies. Annie took Renato for a twenty minute walk to use up some of his energy. He seemed to enjoy the quiet and the out of doors. Lulu spent the morning with Rosa Christina. They visited us in the baby area. Weston weeded.
At 10:30 Annie went to give an English lesson to two sixth graders. One of them was Jessica, from the home visit, the other one was a very sharp girl named Julissa. They were quite attentive and practiced sentences about family, foods they like to eat, dances, professions, and clothes. Weston came to say good bye. He left on an afternoon flight to Cusco to start the Inca Trek. He is sure a good sport to hang out with the middle-aged ladies. It was with full hearts that we all left PPA today.
We went to Qubba via the luxurious SUV of a Peruvian volunteer at PPA. She expressed her thanks to us, and we to her for all she does. Lulu says she is very good with the children. After lunch Edith and Laura went on a search for the right size diaper for the kids in the cubicle where Laura volunteered. The pharmacy had all the sizes but the one they needed.
Annie stopped off at the photo store and made copies of pictures of PPA staff members that the team had taken. Edith will distribute them next week.
Laura is leaving tonight so we went a bit earlier to dinner at San Antonio’s, the place with the artichoke pastel, chocolate cloud (steamed milk infused with chocolate and served with whipped cream and meringue pieces) and macaroons and chocolate cake. We took pictures of Edith doing the two fingers pointing at her eyes and then us, meaning “I’m looking at (watching) you!” Annie gave Lulu and Laura three CD’s each that hold all of our team’s pictures.
It was tough to say goodbye. We’ve laughed so much; learned about empathy, ourselves, and others; and reminded ourselves how much can accomplished when people work together as a team. We recommend a Global Volunteers adventure to everyone as a way to wage peace and remember what it’s like to be really human.