Monday, June 30, 2008

Good-bye Wisdom Tooth...and Peru 7 members of WID/GAaD

They pulled my wisdom tooth. Apparently if you self-medicate long enough, they (the doctor types) see it as important to take action. I self-medicated for nine days, so Washington gave the okay to pull it. And let me tell you, it was the easiest trip to the dentist I have ever had. I was in the chair, he gave me an injection to numb my mouth. I went back out into the lobby to chat with my friend who came along to take care of me. They called me back into the chair and maybe seven minutes later I was holding my wisdom tooth, perfectly intact, between my thumb and my forefinger. I haven't had any pain, bleeding, nothing. I feel great.

With that said, I'll be heading home tomorrow. I'm excited to return. Now that I love my site, I don't like being away for very long. So I'll return on Wednesday.

Our WID/GAaD time was really productive. It will be sad to say good-bye to our Peru 7 members, but I think we'll have a good crew for our future endeavors. The training with Peru 11 went very well. They are a very positive and energetic group. They took the workshop very seriously, and I hope they had as much fun as I did. I look forward to working with them in the field.

It's always really great to get to meet the newbies, although it always signals that we're losing another group. Many in Peru 7 C.O.S. (close of service) August 2nd which means that I'll get to say good-bye to them before they go, but talk about a good group. They will definitely be missed, unless they're taking a third year. And then there are still more memories to be made. Peru 7 showed us the ins and outs of this country and what it means to be a Peace Corps volunteer. They took us to the good restaurants, told us which hostels give PC discounts, and danced the night away with us in the local discoteques. But, I don't want to say good-bye, to those seveners that will be leaving us, too early. I still have a month with a few of them.

But again my time in Lima is coming to a close, and for the first time since I started my service. I can't wait to leave Lima and return to my "home". That's nice. I think it shows that I finally love my job.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Still Normal

I've been having trouble sleeping for the past few weeks. I wasn't sure if it's because we're eating dinner just before I go to sleep every night (usually between 8:30pm-9:30pm), if it's the environmental noise from the roosters who have chosen to crow at 3:00am and every half an hour after that until we're all up and moving, or if it's something else. I've been trying to wear earplugs, but that didn't help. So last night, I grabbed my new sleeping bag (thanks Katie) and I climbed in and didn't wake up until 7:15am. It was so nice. Although I think I woke up briefly in the middle of the morning (probably a rooster), I managed to fall back asleep immediately so it doesn't feel like I woke up at all. Ironically, I'm more tired today than I have been on nights when I didn't sleep very well.

I also am having a wisdom tooth problem. My upper right has decided to grow in with a vengeance (I know, I know you're asking yourself - "at her age!") but regardless it's the most painful wisdom tooth I've had to date. I'm not sure if Peace Corps will pull it or not, that decision lies in the hands of some dentist who reviews cases like mine in Washington. I could of course always just go to a dentist here to pull it without PC permission, but I doubt I would take that kind of risk. My former host mom in Catilluc had tooth pain, went in and pulled one, and then lost six more or something. She's 29 and doesn't have any of her upper front teeth. Not a good option.

I head to Lima this week. I'll be going to training (Peru 11 is here) with WID/GAAD (Women in Development/Gender Analysis and Development) to talk about gender specific issues that we face as volunteers here in Peru. I'll report more on it when I get to Lima on Thursday.

All in all, things are still good. I've started teaching self-esteem charlas to 4th graders, and they now all stop me on the street or in the school to greet me or give me a kiss on the cheek (a common greeting in Latin America). It's nice to be appreciated. PC has also sent some seeds to help start my single mother's garden project. Now, if only I could get the regiadores on board with me, but they've been busy travelling lately. I'm also trying to get tutoria up and running, so I can start teaching values and other important themes in the secondary school. I can't seem to get the teachers on board with me in this project, which has been slightly discouraging. But that's normal. I'll resume my efforts on this when I return from Lima.

So, just a quick update. I'll post more pictures soon. Take care!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Things are too normal

Well, life has fallen into the normal pattern. You know when you get to a place where you don't even know what's exciting anymore because everything is the same ol, same ol. So, until I have a cool story to tell or more fun information, here are a few more pics from my time in Ancash.

This is the Plaza de armas en Carhuaz which is just north of my site. I've been very impressed with Ancash's Plazas and Catholic churches. Even with the destruction caused by the 1970's earthquake they've managed to really create some cool architectural stuff in their towns and cities. Huaraz might be the only exception, but it still has some cool stuff going on here as well. The plaza fountain does a color show at night.
Mama Gi and her cocina mejorada, so I'm not smoked out of the kitchen every night. She's not a great cook, but she's very sweet. She knows I'm not a big fan of white rice so whenever she makes it for the family she makes fried rice for me. I hope to start cooking for them soon, who knows if they'll like my crazy recipes, but we'll find out soon enough. Gi is very busy and she has talked to me about cooking on the nights that she is off in the field working. I might take her up on that. But only if I can cook the stuff I want.

My first regional meeting we took a hike up to Lake Churup. It was quite the hike and I was out of shape and lagging far behind my Ancash colleagues, but here's the picture to prove I got there. Not a bad view right.
Well, hopefully more to come. I did get my haircut today and a manicure too. Sometimes I can't believe I'm in the Peace Corps.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Family Time

I don't really hve much new to add. I am loving Ancash, and I'm very happy in my new site. Here's a couple more photos:

There was an Parade to Raise Awareness about the Environment. It was really cool to see all of the kids in their traditional dress and signs in Quechua.

Also, here's a pick of my family (l-r) Julio, Yoshi, July, and Gi. We have a lot of fun together.