Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Day in the Life...again

A while back I think people asked me to give an update on how I spend my time at site. Now that I've moved to Ancash and have a ton of projects, I think it is again an appropriate time to talk about this topic. Of course, it varies on a day to day basis depending on meetings, classes and travel. But for the most part, here's how it works.

6:00am I wake up. Everyday, no matter what, I'm usually up by this time. Then I usually listen to some music or a podcast or I do a bunch of reading. I try not to do anything before 8 not because I'm not up but because I want some quiet morning time to start my day.
8:00am (this varies) but usually around 8 my host mother calls me to have breakfast which is usually bread and avocado, but sometimes egg. I've tried to adopt a vegan lifestyle as much as possible (I'm really bad at it right now). Lately, I've been buying enough avocado to have a half every morning and to give the rest to my host sisters. This is usually when Mama Antu (my host grandmother) makes her first visit, greeting me with "Buenos Dias Adriana." Even though we remind her, she never seems to remember that there is no 'd' in my name. She usually asks me some kind of health tip; today she wants to know what vitamins she she should buy to get better - she's had a sore throat for weeks. I tell her that she really should be eating her vitamins, and that Vitamin C and E are what she wants and she can find that in oranges, mandarines, and carrots but she complains that they are cold and she shouldn't eat them because they're "cold". Side note: there are a lot of beliefs here that "cold" water and food cause illness. First, if they ever realized that it's not that "cold" and that it doesn't cause sickness, I don't know what they would do - mabe start eating more vegetables. But who am I to argue, I've never seen the studies to know that they are wrong. Regardless, I try to convince Mama Antu that she needs to eat more oranges and mandarins. We'll see.
8:30am - I'm usually headed to the school to teach Quien Soy Yo or a Values Class or something of the sort. Lately on Mondays I've been teaching Gender classes at 8:00am.
10:30/1:30- I head to the health post (on some days) to see if I can meet up with anyone. They have been so busy there lately, I feel more like a nuisance. So I'm hoping that I can find time to work with them after October. Maybe during the summer vacations from school, we'll see.
1:00 - I eat lunch with my family. It's usually rice and beans or something of the sort.
2:00 - I retire to my room to plan lessons, read books or magazines, listen to podcasts (my latest favorite NPR's "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!" (Thanks for the rec. Julie), watch a TV show or two.
4:00 - I usually do a half an hour of yoga.
5:30 - I head down to the municipality to teach a two hour computer class (this happens Mondays and Thursdays right now, but we'll see if it expands)
8:00 - I return to eat dinner at my house. This will usually be the first time in the day that I will see my host father. Also, we watch a Mexican Soap Opera called "Victoria" and 9:00pm Megali starts (a Peruvian gossip show that I can't stand - but more on this in a sec.) So around this time I retire to my room to plan lessons, read books or magazines, listen to a podcast, or watch a TV show or movie or maybe listen to music.
10:00pm - I'm usually hitting the hay or going to sleep.

So, that more or less is my day. Sometimes I have more classes and meetings and some days I have nothing. Some days I walk all the way to the school, health post, or city hall only to have to return because my meeting or class has been canceled.

As for Megali, think the TV show "Extra" combined with a show like "Ellen" (I say that only because Megali likes to dance in the opening as well - "Ellen" is a much better show in my opinion). Megali Medina is one of the biggest celebrities in Peru. She reports on all the gossip, but she also is homophobic and the show is kind of in bad taste in general. That being said, Megali was arrested about a week ago which I personally believe is an injustice. Now don't quote me on this, but the Peruvian law structure is very similar to ours and I think that Megali was in her rights even if what she did wasn't for the best of motives. She was arrested last week for taking pictures of a famous Peruvian Futballer (Soccer player) on the sidewalk in Miraflores (which is a really nice part of Lima) with a model. She has evidence that they were together, kissing and hugging. And she got arrested because that soccer player brought chargers against her. Now, I don't support the paparazzi or anything, but from my Journalism law classes (and if the Peruvian law structure is as similar as I think it is) she took the pictures from the sidewalk, and he was doing it in public - which means he has absolutely no grounds to have her arrested or sued. Anyway, we'll see what happens with Megali in the next couple of weeks as she fights for her freedom. But in truth most people believe a huge injustice has happened here and there is a huge abuse of power. I think someone recently told me that they think that government wants her arrested so she'll stop reporting on their private lives as well. What do they have to hide? And like I said earlier, I don't support her, nor am I a big fan of her program, but this is obviously an abuse of power.

That's just the local news.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Yuly's Birthday and Other Cultural Things I Didn't Know

So my older younger sister turned 18, October 1st and here in Peru Birthdays are very important, but mostly an important time for family. So all of my host mom's side of the family gathered to eat cuy and celebrate Yuly's 18th. This date marks the first time I actually found myself sad to think about leaving them in the summer of 2009. I teared up a number of times, but luckily, no one noticed. All in all it was a pretty chill day, but for the record: I love my host family and even my host extended family.

The birthday girl is to the right and my host dad "Papa Julio" to the left. The cuy was good, but not as spicy as normal.

This is my host mom's mom. They call her Mama Antu, and I love her. She's so great. She always says how much she' going to miss me when I leave and she's always checking to see where I'm gonna go. One day I asked her what she thought about having four girls before she had a son and she said, "I think it's pretty great."
Another thing I learned lately is that sheep are not allowed to eat alfalfa because it knots up their stomach. Below are pictures of my host mom and aunt (Tia Rosa) pressing the alfalfa out of the stomach of a sheep that didn't know any better. Notice they are using a sandal. I love Peru!
Never a dull moment in the Peace Corps.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

All about the IST

A scene from one of the final skits from our Theatre IST.
Every Peace Corps group in Peru gets one In-Service Training during their service. Peru 9 Youth Development’s was last week. It was held up in Piura, and yours truly plus two of my good friends from Peru 9 lead and taught it. The IST was about starting a Teen Theatre group in these small communities to talk about social issues. It was a three day workshop taught entirely in Spanish as volunteers were required to bring a Peruvian Community Partner with whom they would start a Teen Theatre group upon returning from the IST.
My Community Partner and I. Elba is so much fun. I'm glad I took her.

I am most proud of the fact that my Spanish managed to hold up, and that I did one of my favorite workshops entirely in Spanish. I'm really proud of our efforts to make it the best IST possible, and we heard that this is the first time PC-Peru has used volunteers to teach the Workshop. So we're very excited that this will be replicated with Peru 11, and that they will have our Peru 11 trainers.
But I think pictures say it best, I mean theatre really is all about action.
Volunteers playing the improv game "Machines".

Jamar and Jah playing props as Peruvian Cumbia Singers in a Music Video.

Ali, Elena, and me the three Volunteer trainers. We had such a good time, really NAILED IT.

All in all, I feel like people had a really good time. I didn't hear a negative comment the entire time, and people who were only doing it to do it, said they learned a lot and are excited to go back to their sites and use it. So I think we should be pretty happy. I think there are ways we can fix it before the Peru 11 IST, but that will come when it comes.