So, something all Peace Cordians in Training get to do is go on this week long thing called Field Based Training – where you basically get to go visit actual real live volunteers in the flesh and they plan activities and jobs for you to do based on your program. They split up the Desarrollo Juvenil (Youth Development) group into two and my group of 10 got to go to the district of Cajamarca to meet 5 current volunteers and see their sites and their work. We left Saturday the 11th and came back Sunday the 19th (my host dad’s birthday!). I guess it all really starts with the bus ride:
So the Linea bus ride to Cajamarca from Lima takes a total of 18 hours. Yup. You heard me. 18 hours. PERO…. Seriously the nicest seats EVER. Much better than planes, trains, cars… etc. You can basically make your seat go all the way down to sleep through the night. Plus, we traveled from 7 pm until noon ish the next day both times. Needless to say to all who know me well and have seen my epic ability to sleep on moving machines… I slept well. J On the way back mi amiga Katie baja y yo had a competition… because, well.. the bathrooms on the bus are the only things that really need some upgrading. Or cleaning. We decided to have a competencia who could avoid going to the bathroom the entire trip. The winner got cookies. What a horrible bet. Worst (but funniest) bet I ever made… I lost.. but made it 17 hours!! Woot.
We traveled to the following ciudades (cities) wth our tech trainer Angelica and one Spanish Instructor Betty: Cajamaraca (the capital), San Marcos, Ichocan, Chancay, Aguas Calientes, y La Grama. All the volunteers who showed us around and set up activities and classes for us to teach to the youngsters were awesome and chevere. I loved the smaller towns and the scenery was absolutely STUNNING. The clouds and the sky were bonito beyond reason. I forgot what it’s like to actually see the sky! And stars! (Here in Lima it’s foggy ALL the tiempo… or there’s a haze… not to say that I don’t like Lima, it’s just how it is). I also had the chance to see Lightning bugs for the first time and they are AMAZING. I love them and I felt like a little kid pointing and excitingly shouting “there’s one! There’s one”. Asi.
I got to teach some sesiones educativas to some jovenes (youth) in some classrooms with a group of my fellow trainees (yay Same and Jenn!) and I felt like it was awesome. I feel like I’m ready and excited to start doing these same things. My Spanish can always get better (I feel like it definitely needs some improving), but I am confident enough to lead a class of kids and I love just playing games with them and learning from them. We had this epic 2-hour game of Capture the Flag one day, which was definitely a highlight. I hope to play many more games asi in the next two years.
The city of Cajamarca is beautiful as well. We got to spend our last day just wandering and exploring. I bought a couple of cute belts and… all the food we ate during the trip was wonderful. Menu anyone? Yeah. Menu is basically a really cheap (and delicious) big meal during lunch. Usually between 4 to 8 soles you get a big soup and then the main course of usually some sort of meat with rice and then possibly a dessert and drink. Que chevere, no?
Now I’m in this weird week because on FRIDAY we will find out where we will be living for two years! No puedo esperar!! Seriously. I might die from waiting. J And I believe everyone feels the same way.. we were so inquietos in class today.. whoops! Yesterday I had my second interview with my APCD (the directora of my program) where they asked me about my preferences, etc. I don’t know anything for sure yet, but I requested to go to the sierra, live in a small town, possibly learn the indigenous language of Quechua and be somewhere where it rains and is not hot… preferably near some sort of internet source. We shall see. Maybe the department of Ancash? Cajamarca? I will definitely make sure to post where I’m going as soon as I know. In two weeks we will go on site visits to visit our site for the first time for a week. That will be a nerve wracking, but exciting trip for sure!
In other noticias: My familia y yo are getting along just splendidly, my host brother and I talk about horror films almost daily, I watch my sister cook and help out so I can learn how (so far.. I still have much to learn!)… we’ve been eating this delicious cheese called mancora the last two breakfasts that I brought back from Cajamarca… we will have Spanish classes in my house tomorrow here (which I like cuz that means I don’t have to take my lunch box with me and feel like a 5 year old again J ) I’ve gotten to know and like my fellow trainees even more since FBT and oh! I made friends with a cobrador (the guy who works on the busses who we have to pay and they also tell the people riding to get on the bus and get off) today. I’ve just gotten into this one telenovela called Luz Maria…. Umm… que mas? I still need to learn how to hand wash my clothes because my family still does it for me when I’m out of the house…. Everybody is still hung up about Michael Jackson’s death here…. I had my second youth group yesterday, which was awesome. Kids (including boys) seem to love the game Mother May I. Which is good for me, because it takes little skill on my part J.
I hope all is well in the USA.. Please email me when you have the chance. I love getting emails (Even small ones) or feel free to send a postcard to my address si quieren. Miss you all! Sending you lots of Peruvian love.