Here Comes the Sun

As of three long days ago, I am in Peru. I guess I’ll talk a bit about all the little legs of this journey thus far.

First we had staging in Washington DC. They kind of just briefed us about Peace Corps as a “this is what you’re in for” kind of thing. All 55 or so of us introduced ourselves and gave a fact about Peru. My favorite was that in some town of Peru during Christmas, everyone fistfights. Afterwards they gave us a considerable sum of money and we went to have our last meal in civilization. My group somehow ended up at a Balkan restaurant where I tricked myself into eating raw deer meat. It was not bad, though.

Next morning we left for our flight about four hours early to get through security. We flew to Houston, then Lima. My last meal in America turned out be Panda Express. Who can argue with that? I got to watch some television and got a lil bit of sleep. Then finally at 10:30 pm, we arrived in Lima.

Bad pic of flight route

Bad pic of flight route

My first impressions of Peru were that it doesn’t feel very exotic or different from the US. As my friend Tony put it, “It’s like America except everything is in Mexican.”

We rode a bus to our resort in outskirts of Lima where they are cautiously introducing us to Peru. It was pretty simple and nice. I woke in the morning to lots of terrifying crumbly looking mountains. After breakfast we started more info sessions, medical sessions, survival spanish sessions, socializing sessions, technical group sessions.. all kinds of sessions.

Our compound

Our compound

More about the people I’m with: there’s like 55 of us, about 2/3 women, almost everyone seems to be in their 20s, except for one older Dominican woman, and no married couples. I’m in Water & Sanitation, and there’s about 15 of us. About half of us are in the Master’s International program like me. Everyone seems pretty cool. During our down time there were card games, soccer games, some yoga, etc.

Next day (Saturday) we got to meet our training host families. As they told us, these are “professional host families”. My mom has had 12 volunteers before me. I’m living with a great family up on one of those crumbly mountains in Yanacoto. I strongly suspect I’m the most remote from the training headquarters. But it’s beautiful here. Lots of sunlight and an awesome view of the valley. It’s kind of like the Wild West too.

Mi mama and a street in Yanacoto

Mi mama and a street in Yanacoto

Some highlights of my first day with authentic Peruvians:

We went to the market and a produce selling lady was asking me about the US and “bombear” something. I was like repeat repeat repeat.. and then finally she said something about zero zero and everyone laughed at me. Later my host sister explained that I scored a 00 because I’m from the US and didn’t know about bombing Syria.. oh well.

My sister and I did some great karaoke. I wish everything everyone said here came with subtitles.

We went to the 48th birthday of our community. My mom was like “I’m going to take you to the party so you can talk to the Americans” (meaning the other volunteers). There was an very entertaining soccer game on this soccer/basketball court. We lost but our goalie was hilarious. He would sometimes just give up goalie-ing and try and score.

Futbol

Futbol

Anyway, things are great and I’m gonna get into training real hard tomorrow. Hasta luego!

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