Saturday, February 16, 2008

Getting to Know the People of Catilluc

The past two weeks have been impossible to do anything on the internet. I can't wait until school starts in March so that I have slightly more consistant (and faster) internet access.

Last time I blogged, two weeks ago, I forgot to mention that I went to a special wedding during Carnaval as well. Below are Esther and David. Esther is one of the technicos (think pharmacist) at the Centro de Salud in Catilluc, and David is a hometown boy who owns a bunch of cows and has his degree in sociology. They have actually been living together for over 11 years and have four children.
Esther and David have been two big, big advocates for me. David with his background understood from the first moment that I was probably a little timid. Esther told me, about a month ago, that she didn't like me when she first met me, but after I met David and David defended me she took a step back and realized that her initial impression of me was probably more my timidity (especially with Spanish) than my snobbery. Since, she has turned out to be a good friend who his very honest with me. That helps because Peru is a country of saving face, and it's hard to save face when you don't know what you're doing wrong.

So they invited me to their wedding. It was a very simple ceremony. It was a very Catholic ceremony with their younger daughters being baptized in the middle of it. The role of the padrinos (God parents) was promenent as they sat at the front with the couple the entire ceremony. The priest was very bossy. He kept telling people to control their children (a first for me in Peru), from where they could take photos, when the congregants were reciting a prayer he made them do it over - loader, and he even yelled at a couple at one point. That would never fly with a bride in the US, but Esther and David just sat there calmly. It was really just an honor to be invited.

Progress in the moving area is slow, but moving along. My new family has put in the door to my new room and the woodwork of the windows. They are going to put up plastic on the ceilings (you guys know how much I love rats) and glass on the windows and electricity. What I really need is stairs. Next chance I get, I'll take pictures and post them. For now, enjoy this picture with me and my soon-to-be host father.

Here's a picture of Ricardo and me at the Minksa. I took it self-portrait style.

That pictures comes from a day of volunteer work in the community. The former Andean tribes had a quechua word for these group activities. It's called Minksa and it was used in ancient times to call people to come together and help one member of the tribe or another. It is still used in Peru to bring people together, in this case, to clean the town and the lagoon.

Here's some of the men from Catilluc getting ready to dig a larger lagoon.

Like I said, hopefully I get to post more frequently when school starts again and I have internet fromt he colegio.

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