My Spanish skills seem to be improving, but there definitely still are times when no one can understand me. This happened the other day when I took Nicki, John, and Rosie back to my homestay and showed them where the cuys live (the guinea pigs). Afterwards I asked Victor if the cuys are afraid of people, because when I tried to pick one up, they all ran away from me making this strange high-pitched warbling noise. But all he said was that the cuys right now are very small, and when they get big and fat it’s time to eat them. Guess I’ll have to come back to that one later.
Fiesta de Bautizo
Saturday night Victor and Deni took me to a party for a baptism – actually, three baptisms in one. It is a tradition in Peru that for a child’s baptism, they get their hair cut for the first time, and then they have a big party and people come and give a gift of money, and in return you get a lot of food and beer. Pretty much all of Deni’s family in Ollanta was there, including Mama Raquel (mi abuelita), who, by the way, was punishing more beer than I was. After a while people started dancing to Huayno, this traditional Andean music. I danced with Deni’s younger brother, and it was actually really fun except for the fact that he is much shorter than me (Peruvians are a very tiny people), and the whole time Deni’s brother in law kept bringing fresh beers for everyone even when we didn’t need them. This morning Mama Raquel came over for breakfast and wasn’t even the slightest bit hungover – I think she is my idol. I may have told her I want to put her in my pocket and take her back to the States with me. Oops.
Work and Play
Here is a rundown of my daily work schedule. Monday and Wednesday mornings John and I go to Yachay Wasi from 9 am until 12:30 or so, playing with the kids and mostly admiring their cuteness. Then we have lunch and head back to the office to lesson plan until our first english class at 6. Then we teach class from 6 to 9 and pretty much pass out right after. Tuesday and Thursday mornings we have our third english class from 10 – 11:30 am, then we lesson plan like crazy again for our computer class at 6, which grew so large that we had to split it in two. Then there are the weekly education meetings and volunteer workshops and a full staff meeting. So needless to say, it’s freakin nuts. We used to go to Yachay Wasi on Friday mornings too, but now we use Fridays for lesson planning, so that the rest of the week isn’t so crazy. On the weekends all of us volunteers will go on hikes and treks, work shifts at the Awamaki store, and hang out at one of the cafes in town to use their internet. We usually go out for drinks on Friday and/or Saturday nights, to the one bar in town, Quechua Bar. In actuality there are 3 bars, but two of them are closed at the moment, so Quechua Bar it is. Mostly we just sit around and drink beer slash mojitos, but we also get to play with the gatitos! (The owners of Quechua bar have a cat, and about two weeks ago, she gave birth to four adorable little kittens, and they are nice enough to let us hold the kitties for a bit while we drink our beer.) Side Note to any future travellers: hangovers increase exponentially in severity the higher up in altitude you go. Beware.
Soon to come: pics of the hikes and treks around town!