Doing Things

Andy and I made Betty Midkiff spaghetti for the Peruvians

Andy and I made Betty Midkiff spaghetti for the Peruvians

Here I wield a machete. Fear me, weeds!

Here I wield a machete. Fear me, weeds!

Laguna de los Cóndores

Laguna de los Cóndores

Hello Blog Readers. These things are few and far between but whatever. I am excited to say that after being here quite a while I’m finally doing things, and I’m gonna tell y’all about those things.

I recently got back from this Project Design workshop in Chiclayo, where we had to bring one of our Peruvian counterparts. I brought a lady who is in charge of one of my annexes (which is just like, a smaller town in my district) where they don’t have a wastewater system set up and so we’re gonna do a project of putting in nice latrines with septic tanks at everyone’s house who wants one. By septic tank I just mean a large hole in the ground, not to be confused with the expensive fancy septic tanks people have in the States. I presented the idea to the community the other weekend and we formed a committee to work on it, and then this past weekend we had our first meeting and work day where we went to ask house by house if people were interested in participating. Theoretically if we can get financial help, the materials would be paid for, but every house would have to actually build their latrine. That’s how things usually go here. I’m really happy that my counterpart and committee so far seem motivated and interested in the project. How we’ll get the money, I don’t know, and also some homes will be difficult since they don’t have too much land, but for now I’m satisfied.

Going to Chiclayo with Mary was cool in itself, because she had almost never left her little pueblo and had so many new experiences. She had some family there and we hung out on our free day, going to this cool museum (about this ancient culture that had pyramids and crazy jewelry) and having lunch on the beach. We went to a supermarket and got on an elevator and she freaked out when it started moving. Another amusing moment was when she saw an African American volunteer who was with us at the bus station. She was like, oh! I love Negritos! They’re so pretty! and wanted to take a picture with him, which I recommended her against.

After I got back from that I went immediately on this terrible trip to a lake with my site mate and his dad and another volunteer. I don’t mean it was entirely terrible, just that I was unprepared for the full day of hiking there and full day of hiking back. Also, the concept of hiking here in Peru is completely different from what I was used to. In America hiking was something pleasant, where the paths were dry and relatively level. In Peru hiking is climbing up or down steep rocky muddy paths or navigating little swamps at the high altitudes and every other step you’re trapped in the mud. Or at least I am. Peruvians never fall or get trapped in mud. Part of the trip was upon a horse, and that turned out to be really fun. I never even fell off. Turns out four legs are better than two.

Anyway, I was going to talk about work. So this other little annex that I did my community diagnostic for said they wanted to turn their taps and have water actually come out. My host dad gave them the idea of connecting to a neighboring system. One time I went to our mayor to just gauge his interest about it, and he said it just wasn’t worth the money since the community was so small. But regardless, the community made a document to the other water system, and then the president of that system went and talked to the mayor again. Apparently that changed his mind, because next thing I knew, we had a meeting at that little annex and the mayor made this grand speech about how he was going to make this project happen. So if it happens, that’s great, cause I almost did nothing. They told me my job was to “bring the drinks”.

Other things I’m doing are teaching too much English, helping the tree nursery make organic fertilizer from a biodigester, sort of helping this Catholic youth group, helping form an association for disabled people. I’m hoping to start working with water committees soon. I’m also hoping to start this thing where I teach high school kids hygiene stuff, and then they go and teach elementary school kids. But poco a poco, they say.

Okay, I’m going to close this blog post with a fact I’m discovering to be quite prevalent: many Peruvians drink their own urine medicinally. And I’m not gonna knock it til I try it. And I’m not gonna try it.

 

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