Sorry, I have been unable to get internet the past couple of weeks. Here's an old post:
So it has been a wild ride in Catilluc the past week. I think I’ve said it before, but I’m not sure how much work the teachers of Catilluc do. Case in point, this week was the 25th anniversary of the secondary school. And there really wasn’t school all week, but there was a beauty pageant, two dances, and a whole day of cultural happenings. Many of which I missed because I either didn’t want to go, or I have a big Peace Corps presentation in a week, and really don’t know where to go or what to do with it.
The pageant was very interesting. It was like any other pageant, except a little more boring and a lot more whistling (silvando in Espanol) and oogling (not sure there’s a translation for this) by the audience members. In fact, I would easily say that two thirds of the attendees were men. The girls weren’t even dressed scandalously. Pageants have never really bothered me before, but this one really did for some reason. By the end of it, I just wanted to leave. The other interesting thing is that my mom did the make-up and the very naturally beautiful girls looked like clowns. Thank you Victoria’s Secret Beauty (my one year of work) for making me so aware of make-up tragedies. It was so depressing I didn’t stick around for the dance. That, and I spent three painful, make-up and whistle filled, hours watching the pageant on my feet.
I did dance the night away the following evening. Like I’ve talked about a number of times, alcoholism is a big problem. So I spent most of the night dancing with drunken men. Luckily, there is no such thing as slow dancing in Peru so I didn’t have to be touched and fondled, but I had to listen to the rude comments (being a gringa gets a girl way, way too much attention). I love to dance or I wouldn’t have stuck around. I also wanted to get walked home, but the teachers I passed the night with wanted to stick around much longer than I wanted to, and I don’t want to doubt their reasons, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that they wanted me to start dating one of their colleagues…but I’m not sure about that (p.s. no interest there). Anyway, I ended up running home because the said drunken colleague was in pursuit. My host family didn’t open the door right away, so I pounded and pounded until finally I could get in. Nothing bad happened, except for maybe my manners, but hey, he was drunk so what does he remember now.
I’ve been working on researching my community as part of a Peace Corps presentation. It saddens me to learn about the problems that can be found in this tiny berg. In the past three months I have learned that teenage pregnancy is at 4%. Poverty is incredibly high. I’m learning more and more about the culture of alcohol. Earlier tonight, a good friend of mine told me she was sad because she works all day and her husband takes the money, spends it on alcohol, gets drunk and then (at the least) mental abuses them. She didn’t say anything about violence, and I didn’t see any marks, but I hope to talk with her more as the days come. She has been a good friend to me.
I’m back to being frustrated with my Spanish. After having a couple of good weeks, I’ve started hanging out with the local doctor. He’s a cool guy, but right now he’s driving me nuts. He’ll ask me a question, give me three seconds to process it, and then turn to the next person and tell them I don’t understand him. Sometimes I do, but my self-esteem is dropping slowly. I told my counterpart today that I want to take a “pause” from him. But just a few minutes ago, he harassed me again about my Spanish and then told me I took it too seriously (which was so the wrong thing to say with how I’m feeling about my Spanish right now). So I denied an invitation to his house, began to cry in front of him, and then (practically) ran to my house to avoid making a scene (probably too late). I’m in a weird state right now. I can’t really explain it. I’m sad half the time, and yet I’m happy the other half. I feel very manic, and when I try to figure out why I’m so upset I can’t figure it out. Then I’ll be happy again, and forget that I was sad two seconds ago. Luckily, I go to “reconnect” our Peru 9 three month reunion where we present our research and catch up with the other volunteers in our class. I am so excited to see the good friends that aren’t in Cajamarca. I’m excited to see the volunteers from Cajamarca too, but I did just see them three weeks ago. Anyway, I hope to post one more time before I go (this Saturday) but Internet has been sketchy. Take care.