Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Peru part uno

Most people know that I´m in Peru. Specifically Huancayo which is 7 hours on the bus into the mountains. Its really cool because it´s a city in the middle of nowhere. You drive through 7 hours of nothing but trees and mountains and suddenly in the middle of the mountains is a city that has a university, a stadium, movie theatres and restaurants... it´s like Winnipeg in the middle of nowhere (which is sort of like... uh Winnipeg).
¿And how´s it going? Well I´d thought I´d be doing more volunteering but I actually only spend 4 hours of the day at the orphanage. We have to take a camio to get there- which is like a mini bus where they drive by and shout at you and try to cram as many people into a tiny little space... much like the buses I´ve been on in other developing countries. Then in the afternoons I take Spanish lessons. I´d thought that the Spanish I´d learned 8 years ago (in 2 months) would be enough to carry me through. However it is not. I know NOTHING. Still I´m working my way through. A smile goes a long way.
I´m living in a homestay with a WONDERFUL couple, David and Aurora, and three other volunteers. Our ¨parents¨don´t speak English so we talk Spanish at dinner every night.
My first night here we all went to a birhtday party of a friend of the program directors. It was interesting. The crowd was mixed, but mostly older- the birthday boy being 41- but we still played drinking games. (musical chairs anyone??)
For the volunteering... it´s what you would imagine. People had asked me before I went what I was going to be doing... and I could only answer ¨I don´t know- just be there.¨ And in fact that is exactly what we´re doing. There are lots of staff who cook and clean but they don´t have time to spend with the kids. If you imagine your own children- 1-3 children have 1-2 parents taking care of them. Here there are 14 kids who have a rotating staff of about 4. And to be honest they do still have some time to play with the kids... but there is still lots of opportunity for us to just be there. Some of the kids are developmentally delayed. Jose is three and he has a habit of just pulling down his pants all the time. (of course I think that non developmentally delayed kids do that too!) Today I was playing at the park with Pedro and at the base of the slide he pulled down his pants and started to pee. When he was done he pulled his pants back up and proceeded up the ladder to the top, completely nonplussed.
I was with the babies for a bit today. Miguel is 1.5 and he doesn´t walk or stand unaided but today we were practising standing and rolling over. There is lots of heartache in this place, but with it lots of hope. The kids are still kids. They run around and play, they hit you when they are tired, they laugh, they cry and they throw their food (man do they throw their food!!) I´m looking forward to the next two weeks.
My Spanish lesson mañana takes place in the market... which should be fun. This weekend our group is taking a side trip to the jungle. I won´t have time to visit the Amazon or anything while I´m here but apparently this jungle is supposed to be beautiful. I haven´t taken many pictures yet but when I do I´ll be sure to post...
Thats enough for now´- I´ll post again soon.

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