Monday, December 10, 2012

First week in my site

I’m now in my site, my new home where I’ll live for the 2 years of Peace Corps service.

Here’s the view  coming up my road.

This was taken on a dry day, but when it rains, like it’s doing right now, it’s Very Muddy. Here’s more of my street.

Here we are, inside our courtyard.

The cows come right through the courtyard to their barn beside the kitchen.

We have turkeys

And chickens

And a beehive.
and sheep.

Another Peace Corps volunteer, Kristi, lives on the other side of the valley. Yesterday, we went for a walk to the cemetery. The views were beautiful.

And the cemetery was—interesting. I think someone wanted to include this person in sending sacred smoke during a funeral.

We say ‘buenos dias’ to everyone we pass. These kids exchanged greetings with us from their window.

We also visited one of Kristi's schools to get to know the teachers better. It’s a very ecologically minded school, and each class has its own garden.

Later, I walked back across the valley to my own town. We have a lot of eucalyptus from the 1940s reforestation projects.

I went to the market, where my host mom sells grains. I took a few pictures while I watched her stall for a while for her when she went on an errand.

It’s been an interesting first week. Sometimes I feel like I’m falling in love with my site. Other times I feel terribly out of place and off-balance. I’ve been able to meet with my mayor and discovered several local projects I can hop right into. I’ve been to my first Peruvian funeral, which was a very intense experience. I’m getting to know my host family better. I like walking around my town, soaking up the atmosphere. Other times I just curl up in my sleeping bag and read or watch tv shows on my computer. I’ve made a lot of progress on a practical level, like buying bedding. I now have a yummy warm alpaca wool blanket, a fleece sheet-blanket and a mattress cover with lions and tigers on it. I found a tailor who sewed my Peace Corps patch on my cap and fixed the zipper on my backpack, all the while having a jolly conversation about relatives in America. I cooked my first dish in my host mom’s kitchen. I bought rubber boots to wear in the barnyard. I figured out my systems for personal hygiene (hint: chamber pot). I have mastered the public transportation from my town to the nearby city. I acquired internet service, which sometimes works.
I am beginning to shift my attitude. Things here happen organically. People may or may not do what they said they would do (that includes me!). So much depends on factors that are outside of our control. I think I know what’s happening, but then it turns out completely differently. All plans are subject to change, and I don’t understand the rules. I’m adjusting to this, testing out a relaxed response to this new reality. It’ll all work out.
p.s. Wrote this post a week ago, but just now got access to enough bandwidth to upload it. Week 2 was also packed with experiences. Will report when I get the time.

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