Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head
It’s hard to believe I’ve only been living here in Yanacoto for one week. It has been so chock full of Spanish, training sessions, awkward conversations, crowded bus rides, and delicious but sometimes ambiguous food that it feels like at least a month. I guess I’ll start by describing my daily schedule.
I usually get up around 6:15, which is like an hour after everyone else gets up. It depends on if I want to take a shower, which is likely the most dreaded part of my day due to the water being very cold. My strategy is to get as little water on me as possible, and it’s working so far. I have a quick breakfast and my mom prepares my lunch box. It’s very cute. Then I walk down the hill to the main road, usually encountering some other volunteers on the way. We have to catch a combi to get to the training center. This is a large van or small bus that is usually pretty packed so I have to stand and hold on for dear life. It’s also a little hard to see out the window so I just try to randomly yell out which stop I’m getting off at. Also price can be variable.
Once there, we have a full 8-5 day of classes. About half is language class and half is informational (Peru history, sickness, safety, etc) or about our technical group (mine is water & sanitation). There’s an hour lunch break in between. In the language class we’re learning mostly how to introduce ourselves and Peace Corps to Peruvians. One activity was to go to a nearby park and herd together random groups of people to give a speech, which was a bit awkward but they were surprisingly cool about it.
In the afternoon, we hang out for a while or go home. I have to face some fearsome dogs on my street. I swing my lunch box threateningly or pretend to throw an invisible rock at them. I am thinking of choosing a more diplomatic approach soon. My mom will ask me not how my lunch was, but what my friends said about my lunch. Usually the answer is that they had that yesterday. We’re starting to catch on to lunch patterns. I like to play with my 2-year old niece and 9-year old cousin, who quizzes me on English. We watch some TV, eat some dinner, and I go to bed pretty early for my standards.
On Saturday everyone took a trip to Lima, which is about an hour away. I’m putting some pics below of this trip.
Some highlights of this week:
Someone came into our house and asked my mom to “introduce me to your gringa.”
I asked my mom out of curiosity if they had butter knives in Peru, then she went and opened some out of wrappers and has included one with my meal ever since, even if the meal is soup.
My friend Erika offered her seat to an older man on the combi, who refused but was so honored that he began to sing a song for her and even brought out his harmonica.
I learned that I and three other Wat-San volunteers are going to shadow this legendary current volunteer for a few days this coming week. He is in the Lima department (like states in US) so it’s just a short bus ride away.
My mom cooked fried chicken. Enough said.