Sunday, September 30, 2012

My new charango.

Ah, romance. When we met in the handicraft market in Lima, it was love at first sight. I bargained for you, but your price isn't any indication of your true worth.
I brought you home from the city to our house.

 I introduced you to my host-brother, Efrain.

He noticed right away how beautiful the carvings on your back are.
We took you to visit some important persons.
My host-sister Grecia is learning guitar, so she appreciated you right away.

You met the new chicken that wandered into our courtyard and hasn’t been claimed yet. Efrain is feeding her anyway, out of his own money. She was very interested. Or, perhaps she just hoped it was dinnertime.

My host mother, Elena, held you in her arms.

Kaiser, the roof dog, wasn’t sure what to say.

On the roof, you hung out with my laundry (that I washed in the stream earlier today).

You are so agile, my fearless charango.

Your sound is beautiful; sharp as mountain air.

So much more attractive than the incessant cooing starting before dawn of the lonesome dove that lives in a cage right outside my door. I do not love the dove. Fortunately, we expect to get him a girlfriend this week. That should stop him calling to every wild pigeon that passes. I hope.

We stepped outside to give you your first introduction to the neighborhood. Senora Irene, whose little shop is two houses down the hill, was happy to make your acquaintance. I buy my snacks at her place.

You had your first spiritual experience in the little chapel that is being built across the street…

…and met one of the men who is building it.

Ah, my charango. I hope we will make music together for a long time.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

World-wise school post number 1: The dogs

I have a pen-pal class in the USA that I'm corresponding with through the World-Wise Schools program of the Peace Corps. Information about WW schools is here. My class is a 3rd-grade class in New Mexico.

The following is an excerpt from my first letter to my class. This is for those of you interested in our dogs.

Our family has two dogs. One of them lives on the roof. His name is Kaiser and he’s a Great Dane. He is a guard dog. Here he is on the roof. 

Sometimes he sneaks downstairs because he is lonely.

Sometimes Efrain plays with Kaiser.

But eventually, the family makes Kaiser go back to the roof. He is there to protect us from thieves.

We also have a house dog. His name is Benji.   He’s a Pekinese.

He knows how to do a trick. He can dance on his hind legs.

 Every Sunday Benji has a bath on the patio. Because he lives inside the house, the family wants him to be clean and healthy, and free of fleas.

Benji is very patient during his bath and doesn’t try to get away. Here is my host mother washing Benji. 

We have a big family. My host mother is Elena, just like me. In Peruvian Spanish, there is a word for two people who share a name and are friends. We are tocayas. (If they are male the word is tocayos.)
In this picture you can see the children of the family. The boy on the left is Arturo. He is 6 years old. The boy in the middle is Efrain. He is ten years old. Their mother is Elena’s daughter Kenia, so I call them my nephews (mis sobrinos). The little girl on the right is Pamela. Her father is Elena’s son Alan, so Pamela is my niece. She lives with her parents in Lima, which is a very large city an hour to the west, on the coast. It’s the capital of Peru.

Elena is married to Nestor. He’s my host-father. They have 4 children. The daughters are Kenia and Grecia. They are named for the countries Kenya and Greece. The sons are Alan and Nestor, junior. In Spanish, that’s Nestor hijo.

Except for Alan and his family, everyone lives together in our house in Yanacoto. With me in the house, we are 8 people: Elena madre, Nestor padre, Kenia, Nestor hijo, Grecia, the boys Efrain and Arturo, and me: Elena hija. 

Here I am, on the hillside above the town. Yanacoto’s chapel for its patron saint is in the background.

From Peru, we wish you a beautiful spring.