Hello my peoples.. Hope your summers are going (or ending..?) well. It’s been a bit chilly here lately. We don’t have much of a winter but it’s noticeable. In my part of Peru, almost no one speaks Quechua, the language of the Incas, but there are a few words still hanging around. One of them is “lie” which means “cold”. It’s funny to hear people saying “Lie!!!!!” all the time.
July was a lot of fiestas. I mentioned that in my town we had our “Patron Parties” where we celebrated the patron virgin for two weeks. Also we had Peruvian Independence Day at the end of the month. I realized as an American or just a Rebby I did not have the stamina for two weeks of partying.. but I toughed it out, survived somehow, and I am here to tell the story. So anyway I’m gonna talk some about things we did. Or just show photos.
To start off, there was a parade where little kids showed customs and traditions from our area. It was possibly the cutest thing I’ve seen in my whole life.
Another Bingo event, this time in the day, where my family won this very fancy plastic pitcher. This event was a fundraiser for the new group for people in town with disabilities “Si Se Puede”.
There was nightly mass for nine nights during the town fiestas. The suffering of going to mass every night was aliviated by free food at select houses. I am not hard core enough to have attended all nine masses, I made it through about half. I am certain that at this point in my service, about 8 months in, I have been to more masses than I had gone to before and likely will ever go to again in my American life.
One day there was an awesome Weaving Race. They were weaving belts in the traditional style that not many people still practice. The participants had an hour to weave as fast as possible. It´s fun to cheer on a weaver, even though I wasn´t exactly sure what to say. ¨Weave weave weave!!¨ The winner had over a meter woven.
There were a lot of town dances. I made the mistake of going to the only one that cost money. Either way, it was really fun. It was interesting how people formed themselves in little orbits around their boxes of beer. One time I swayed out of the orbit and got snapped at.
My mom competed in a cooking contest where she, to her horror and disgust, got second place. She made guinea pig and other stuff that I can’t translate.
There were two processions for our lovely Virgin, Carmen. This is just where people walk extremely slowly and mournfully carrying the statue of the virgin through the streets. People who live in the second stories also throw things at it. It kind of made me think of Mardi Gras but slower. One was after a 4 AM mass. I think it’s like an intertown competition which town can make their citizens suffer more for their Saint. I heard one town has an all-nighter.
Somehow in between all the fiestas I’ve started a project in my health post where they go teach handwashing and toothbrushing to the kids in the schools. All my other things have come to a complete halt.
The Peace Corps volunteers in Amazonas had a “Prom” where I won most Peruvian outfit. This is traditional dress of Leymebamba.
So that’s what I’ve been up to… and I’m going to close with another fascinating Peruvian health practice. This one is really good. It’s a kind of way to diagnose a person. You take a guinea pig. Alive. You go to the sick person and rub them all over with this living guinea pig. After they’re good and rubbed, you cut open the guinea pig. The problem has now been transferred to the guinea pig, so based on the insides of the guinea pig, you know what is wrong with the human. So, like, if the guinea pig has a small mammalian digestive system, the human must as well. I’m pretty sure this is backed by years of research at the top institutions.
Mucho amor to everyone and good luck in your lives! I´ll be thinking beautiful thoughts about yáll. Thanks for reading!