ok, so it takes forever to upload pictures, so i’ll have to do that later, but for now i’ll tell you all about my host family and my homestay.
my host parents are victor and denise (at least i think that’s her name, it’s hard to understand her), and they are native ollantinos who speak fluent quechua. they are incredibly nice, and are very good and speaking slowly and clearly to me and making sure i understand everything (which is good, because everyone seems to mumble and i can’t understand half of what anyones says). they are also very patient with my rudimentary spanish skills 🙂 the family actually live in two houses – there is one house where we sleep and shower, and another house about five minutes away where eat our meals and hang out (the kitchen and the living room). the house with the kitchen is actually built around the original inca city walls – it is incredible how much of the original architecture remains. outside there is a little courtyard where doki (the family dog) lives and also some ducks and their ducklings (i’m not sure what the ducklings do or what they are there for, but they are extremely cute and i hope they are not for eating). this house is sort of a compound – some of denise and victor’s extended family live here as well, but i haven’t been formally introduced to them yet. however, i was invited into the room where they raise and keep the guinea pigs – and these are most definitely for eating, according to my peruvian family. i’m a little nervous about eating guinea pig but denise told me the meat is fried, so i should be able to stomach it. also since i’ve been here she’s fed me some other meat and i definitely couldn’t tell what it was but i ate it anyway, so i’m sure the guinea pig won’t kill me.
victor and denise have a daughter, coralie, who goes to the university in cusco but she is on break now and staying with us in ollanta. they also have a son, victor junior, who is 11, and two of their nephews are staying with us too right now, angelo and rodrigo. i think the boys think i am the funniest / most interesting person they have ever met, and i’m ok with that. i don’t have any pictures of the family yet (i don’t want to be rude and ask), but i’ll try to take some soon. in the meantime i’ll post some photos of the two houses of victor and denise, and my little landing. i have discovered that my homestay seems to be the lap of luxury (for peru) – i have a private, tiled bathroom, and a cute little room that is (guess what!) painted green!! the only downside is that there are roosters outside who start to crow at the most ungodly hour of 5 am. also there are no windows, but a skylight (sort of), so it is pretty bright during the day, and it’s not very well insulated, so whatever temperature it is outside, it is inside my bedroom. i do actually have hot water, but it only lasts for about 4 minutes, so i’m going to have to make some adjustments to my shower routine (aka no daydreaming and wash myself as fast as possible).