Thursday, September 13, 2007

Week 3 in Catilluc

Las Senoritas on the river

Week three. I wish I could say my life has taken on some kind of steady schedule, but my brain is rebelling against the very thought. Every time I try to wake up early to go for an early morning walk, my brain screams “Didn’t we just do this for 20 months? Cut it out! You’ll have the rest of your life to have some kind of schedule.” So currently I’m rebelling. I won’t rebel for long, but I will rebel until I buy an alarm clock, which I almost did at my last visit to Cajamarca city, but rebelled against it then too.

Our first three months are supposed to be about research and not about work. Currently, my life is the opposite. I open the CAID (youth center) everyday except Sundays, but I have yet to ask a stranger a question about their community. In my opinion, this is bad. I need to get on this research thing, but for right now I’m just enjoying getting to know people especially the children. My favorite groups are my two groups of Senoritas. I have one group of the girls in secondary and one for the girls in primary (ages 9-11). Last Tuesday, I took the older girls on a hike up the river. Or should I say, they took me on a hike. It was really fun, but I noticed that although I was trying to stay sure-footed they were scampering around in flip-flops. We enjoyed a picnic of yogurt and my favorite vanilla tasting crackers. It is when I’m with these girls that I feel like I’m doing something worthwhile, even though we haven’t really started the “worthwhile” yet.

Yesterday, I went to Tongod (the nearest city, and city it really isn’t) with the woman who is quickly becoming my good friend. Her name is Luz and she is the Pastor’s wife. She is 24 and so far we get along great. My other good friends include my host parents. My mom, Giovanni, is only 29 and my father, Maximo, is the nicest guy I have ever met, but I think I talked about them recently in a blog. I am also good friends with my next-door neighbor, Rosa, who was really good friends with the volunteer I replaced. Rosa is the biggest helper at the youth center. She is 30. So it’s nice to have friends my age even if their lives are very different from mine (they all at least have two children aged 9 or older - do the math, that´s fun).
Rosa is on the right, my mom, Giovanni is on the left.

Also, yesterday, I went to a birthday party at a friend’s house. And let’s just say I was a little confused. The Spanish is improving, but it’s times like these that I just want to laugh at myself. I had come under the impression that it was the birthday of my friend Milly so when I got to the house I wished her a happy birthday. She laughed, it wasn’t her birthday. I then heard her say something about Brian’s birthday. So I thought to myself, who’s Brian, but I went along with it anyone. Eventually I figured out that Brian was the younger son of my other friend Violet, but to make things even more confusing we were also celebrating the birthday of her older son, Arnold. Apparently they were born three years and one day apart. By the way, Violet is one of the older mothers in town. Oh, and I had brought a present for Milly, not for two boys ages 6 and 3…oops! Is that a culture faux pas? Anyway, other than being offered more food that I can eat (a common problem I encounter) fun was had by all, and I actually managed to have an intelligent conversation with the guests. Baby steps.

Here´s a photo of Brian and Arnold. I did buy them gifts today. It was a cultural faux pas.

1 comment:

April said...

I am a RPCV (cameroon). I am traveling to Peru next month- arriving in Lima and then traveling to Cuzco and not sure where else. any visitors that would come to cameroon, i would have them bring tons of "care packages" for the people i worked w/.

my travel compatriots and i are only bringing a small bag of travel clothes - we would have plenty of room to pack a bag of clothes, crayons for kids, or other supplies to any pcvs you may need...i remember wishing after the first month...if i could only go back and repack!

if there would be any opportunity for us to help out - I would be happy to try to make it happen - let me know.