Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Comas, Lima

After returning from Chincha, the GO group had a day in Lima to do some sightseeing/shopping. Well, the night we got back, we went out to eat and someone stole Randall's wife's purse. She had her own passport as well as her son's and all of her credit cards and cash. Randall, then, spent the day of shopping and sightseeing in the police station filing an official report and applying for new passports and travel papers so that they could leave with the rest of the group. The problem is that he and his wife were the spanish speakers. Guess who became tour guide... :) me. It was alot of fun, but i was dead tired after the day. It's easy enough to watch out for yourself, but try watching every person on the street and make sure that no one is following one of the 12 people in your group. Trying to watch our for everyone as well as bargain for their shopping was quite the job.

Luckily, they were able to fly our of Lima and arrived safely in the states. After that group left, i joined up with another GO group ministering in Lima. This time i did some translating for a medical team serving in the outskirts of Lima. Unfortunately, i was only with the group for two days before my flight left on Tuesday night. It was incredible working with them though! I mostly helped by translating in the pharmacy.
One of the things i did in between the two Go groups absolutely blew my mind. I have to share. I went with a lady named Wilma to feed some of the street children in the outskirts of Lima. Not necessarily without homes, but definitely malnourished. I was advised not to carry a camera, but i really wish i would have had some pictures. Each child had to bring a bowl to eat from (although they weren't turned away without one) but i'm not talking a small cereal bowl. These children showed up with mixing bowls and wooden spoons to eat with. That in itself was shocking, but after they dished out the food... I can't even describe it. I saw children two and three years old putting down more spaghetti than i could eat in two meals. I mean, they don't weight more than what? 30lbs. and they were eating a mixing bowl full of spaghetti and potatoes. I don't even know how to describe it other than heartwrenching.

Chincha, Peru

Chincha is located roughly four hours to the south of Lima in an area where they recieve between 0 and 0.7 inches of rain during January, February and March and nothing for the rest of the year. Literally, nothing is green. Regardless of the not-so-attractive landscape, the people are very welcoming and generous.



I spent the week there under the care of Randall Morton, who was leading the GO group. We all stayed with the Guzman family, an incredible family that serves the Lord with everything they've got and more. They have a million outreaches including 5 churches (most pastored by Pastor Gerardo and his children/their spouses. While we were there, we were actually able to help them build the 5th church. Like most buildings in Chincha, it was nothing more than four walls made from bamboo mats and a tarp to keep out the cold. The people were so excited that we even had the elecricity installed! Consisting of two lightbulbs. :)




I spent the morning of my time in Chincha working in one of the two schools (also founded and run by the Guzman family). Pastor Gerardo Guzman has 5 children of his own and three are married. Of those eight, a whole bunch are pastors and the rest work at the school i think. Seriously, they are all involved! I told you that they give their all. So, i helping in some English classes. From preschool (which was so my age group! After teaching 16 of them in Guate last summer, 8 was a breeze!) to 6th grade. Since we were only in each class two times throughout the week, we couldn't really start a new concept and expect the teacher to continue that, so we chose a few things and played alot of games with them... basically forcing them to use English and have fun at the same time. :) They didn't realize how much they were learning, which is the best way.




Break: Have to acknowledge that Espana won the World Cup! We had a great time watchign the game, althoguh Pastor David was not so excited as some people. jajaja.




In the evenings, we jumped into the numerous outreaches. Twice a week, the Guzman family and members of the church go out into surrounding villages where there is no running water, no school, no church, no transportation, and only about 10 houses. In these areas, houses are nothing more than four walls. One of the incredible things was to watch the response. It's easiest to gain access to a village through the children. They are more open to learning songs and listening to stories. Little by little, the adults get curious and oh the coloring sheets! I have to tell you about the coloring sheets. When we went out into the villages to share teh Word, we would often have coloring sheets, balloons, and sometimes a snack for the kids. When we started passing out those coloring sheets, all of the adults approached us and wanted coloring pages too! For them, it's the only way to decorate the insides of their homes, so those coloring sheets are very precious and you see everyone painstakingly coloring their paper so that it can adorn their simple home. Honestly, the sight made me want to cry. I've been culturally shocked before, but never have i seen so closely a community of people, content where they are and quite happy, yet living in such poverty. The wastefullness of the states puts us to shame.




We also had a one-night vacation bible school at each of the churches. I loved learning the songs with the children. And i can't even begin to describe the frienships i made in those little towns. Friends i will never forget, but friends that i might never see again. Although a few have access to internet and i can email, many of the children do not.




I made fast friends with a girl named Leslie. Teh start of our frienship resulted in discovering that we share a birthday. She turned 14 this year on the 14th of July. :) It was absolutely wonderful sharing the day with her. Made it bareable. I didn't tell anyone for the first few days of the trip that my birthday happened to be during our time in Chincha. I almost couldn't stand the thought of those people who have so little giving anythign to me. Accidently let it slip, 1. to Leslie and 2. to Leo, one of Pastor Gerardo's sons and a really good friend. Anyway, during the goodbye service on Wednesday night, they called Leslie and i up to the front and sang to us. There was a cake involved of course and we were each told to chose the piece of cake we wanted. well, that escapade resulted in our faces being shoved into the cake. Sticky icing everywhere and no water to be found in order to wash off. Good times. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hello from Florida!!!!

I'm currently sitting in the Ft. Lauderdale airport. Safe after my travels to Chincha, Peru and then in Comas, Lima. I'll definitley write about each of those as soon as possible, but i will be boarding soon. This is basically just to say that i had a wonderful time (other than the fact that my dictionary was stolen... i guess it could have been worse) and that i'm safe in the states before i head to Guate. Internet access in Guate will be limited, so don't panic if you continue to not hear from me.

The plan is to travel a bit first. No idea where, rita and i plan to just wing it. We'll go to antigua, stay in a hostel maybe adn just jump into a group traveling somewhere. (no worries, it will be guided... probably) Depending on what trip we take, we'll get back to La Senda after five days or so...

:) psyched! Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pucha!

Germany lost. :( My team went to semifinals and lost. What a terrible day. Just kidding, but i guess i want Espana in the finals. (Merely because Barcelona is in Spain and not the Netherlands...)

bout time...



I don't have to think about final exams!!!!! Yay! I finished my last final exam on Monday, slept basically all day, woke up, ate some food (for the first time in like 26 hours) and went back to bed. lol, it was beautiful.


So, for the record, i successfully wrote an 11 page paper (13 if you include the bibliography) in 26 hours. That is so a new personal best. I love to procrastinate, but this is def tops. Anyway, i have one paper left to write, but it's only 5 pages and there is basically no research involved. it's basically a book review which should prove quite easy (yay for being an x-English major!).


yesterday, i had promised Danielito a full day of play. So when i woke up at like 10 adn went to have breakfast, i was met by a three year old boy. Raquel! Raquel! Raquel! Quieres jugar?? jajaja, i loved it! So we played for a few hours in between Julianna teaching me how to make pollo con pina as it's like my favorite meal here. Unfortunately Danielito got in trouble for hitting Denisse after lunch, so he had time out upstairs. I watched the soccer game while he was upstairs: Uruguay :( What happened?


(P.s. Can't wait for todays game... 20 minutes countdown! Vamos Alemania!!!!!!)


So, plans for after the semester. I just finalized those plans this morning. I will be leaving on Friday night to join a group through GO International. We will be heading to Chincha, Peru where we will be ministering to kids at a school. :) If that doesn't sound like me, i don't know what does... I'm quite excited to be going. I'm so ready to serve instead of being served all of the time! When i return from Chincha on the 17th, i will meet up with another GO contact in Lima and work with her. From what i know, she has a ministry with street children, but i will be helping more with a medical team that comes on the 17th. Meds... never thought i would be helping in that area, but who knows, maybe i'll go into medicine... (just kidding, i don't think i could prescribe medicine when i'm always the one who is like... no, don't take pills! jaja. although i have to admit, pills are better than shots and i've learned that pills don't exist as much here... they give injections for everything here! how strange. I'm just glad i haven't gotten really sick, i'm not sure how well i could argue with a doctor in Spanish.)


I think that's about all for what i've done. After lunch adn the soccer game, i am going to try to crack down on the one paper that is left. I want to finish it today/tomorrow. Time is ticking and i have so much to do in Peru still. I didn't think the semester would ever end and now i'm panicing cause i haven't done half the things i wanted/needed to. I have to somehow fit all of my stuff into one suitcase. hmmm, should prove interesting, so i'm sure i'll post pics later. :)



Saturday, July 3, 2010

AHHHHH

I SO saw a John Deere backhoe today in the streets of Lima. Made my life, basically. jaja. Nothin runs like a deere!!!!! (unless of course it's my mind when i have a 12 page paper to write in 1 day... back to work!)

Friday, July 2, 2010

cena de despedida... y mi cumple




As the ISA program is just about over and the first student was leaving on Thursday, ISA planned a going-away dinner for us. It was quite fun... until the "surprise". Cake for my birthday which obviously meant singing and all that jazz. I was not thrilled. I was slightly miffed at the ISA staff who claim to "know me really well" yet throw me a surprise party. Either they don't know me at all, or they don't really care and just do what they want.





It wasn't terrible and after everyone stopped watching me like a hawk, i did actually enjoy myself. It's only the second time in my life when three guys have sung happy birthday to me (the first being a group of counselors at Mantowagan during the mail call) and not just English but Spanish too. :) And this will be the second year in a row where i have been in a different country on my birthday. We'll see how long i can keep it up!








P.S. on Saturday i will finalize plans for after the semester (hopefully), but with a paper and exam Monday morning... i'll let you know Monday after a nap. :) Till then....

Monday, June 28, 2010

Good times....



Danielito has become quite the little troublemaker, but i still absolutely love playing with him! I love when i can hear him talking about how he's going to play with me as he comes down the stairs with his mom...then i hear him walk to my door and knock/push it open! "Quieres jugar???" Who in their right mind could say no to anything so adorable?

We took pics of the whole family on Father's Day, but i haven't had time to update the blog lately. I had my 20 minute presentation this morning in my History of America class, So so so glad that is over! Now it's just reading books and writing papers. (granted that reading accumulates to about 600 pages not including research for the papers i have to write)... but only one more week of school! Yay!


After the semester plans are still in the making, but i'm getting more and more excited about the possibilities. I'll update you all when I know more about what's going on.



Sorry for the lack of posts recently, honestly, unless you're interested in hearing about what i have read about the Mayan civilization, there isn't much to tell. (i went to a museum on Friday which was pretty awesome, but that's more or less then only thing i've done all week) School will consume my time for the next week as well. unfortunately.


p.s. countdown to Guate is at 22 days! I can't wait to see my kids!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Just one of those days...

So, i have a million pages to read (1. a book in it's entirety for my final exam on Thursday, and 2. 10-12 sources for my 10-15 page research paper due next Monday), a thousand reasons not to do it, and absolutely no motivation. I'm thinking today isn't going to go so well.

On a happier note, i have pretzels and nutella waiting to be eaten AND number 1 reason, it's Father's Day!! So, Happy Father's Day Daddy! (and all you other wonderful fathers out there...) Miss and love you! Que la pasen chevere! :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Luciana



Basically the most adorable "niece" ever. I've been nothing but smiles with a baby around. :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Haircut. :)

So, I decided to go with a friend to cut my hair... I told the lady three fingers thinking that if she did a bad job, it would still be long enough to go somewhere else to get it fixed. Well, 1. I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a good job and a bad job and 2. luckily i have curly hair so that you can't tell anyway because instead of three fingers, i think she took six or so. It's definitely alot shorter than i expected! Then she blow-dried it after cutting it.... i had straight hair for a day. Everyone told me they liked it, but I refuse to spend 20 minutes fixing my hair after washing it, so this might just be the only time i ever have straight hair.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Huaytapallana

So, Friday morning, we wake up early... as in 6:30. We went to do a little bit of shopping for food and stuff to take along with us to Huaytapallana. We met with the guide at 8:30 and by 9 we were in the van driving the two hours to Huaytapallana. Ok, so Huaytapallana is a glacier in the Andes mountains. The highest peak is at 5,5?? meters. I can't remember exactly, and we weren't able to climb to the peak anyway. Before starting to climb, we gave an "offering" to the mountain. lol. Not that i believe in this stuff, but apparently some of the natives do. So, before starting this four hour climb, we smoked a cigarette, chewed on coca leaves and drank pure alcohol. jaja...Destroying your lung capacity just seems like such a wonderful way to start an intense workout... especially when the intense workout is in high altitudes.
Seriously, the view got better around every turn in the path...
there are a total of five lagoons near Huaytapallana, this one was def my favorite, the color is beautiful.
So, to climb onto the glacier, we did have to use ropes although with good shoes, it would have been pretty easy without a rope. Either way, it was a safety issue although again, i was amazed at the lack of safety precautions. At parts in the trail, you're looking at a 100 ft drop or more. Not like a cliff drop, but if you fall, you're not going to be stopping until the bottom. And the so called 'trail' was less than a foot wide and covered in rocks, boulders... you name it. Can't lie, half the time i was trying to jump from rock to rock (especially on the way back down... i had more energy).
there were a total of six people in the group, plus the tour guide (Juanito). Boy was he adorable! But that's not really important. Anyway, we're like walking around on this glacier and Juanito asks if we want to go higher. lol. Need he ask? Apparently, yes, cause 4 of the 6 stayed below. Daniel adn i were the only ones to take him up on his offer. So, after some more climbing, and the zoom on my camera, here is the rest of the group. :)

We did sort of have to watch where we walked... Juanito's foot went through the ice once. Bad time, his shoe was waterlogged in freezing weather. :(





Sorry for the abundance of pictures, i just like them all! Again, this place was simply breathtaking. totally worth missing two classes for the adventure. We didn't arrive back to Huancayo until sometime between six and seven. We bought return tickets for tonight at 11 (yay for another night on a bus). Then we roamed a little bit, always watching for TVs covering la copa mundial! Woo hoo, futbol! We had some dinner, ate the ice cream that we didn't eat last night, and chilled in the central park for a while. Arrived back in Lima at 6:30 am on Saturday. Plenty of time to get back to my house for a little breakfast, then Daniel had an exam at 8 and i unpacked and showered before my make-up class at 10.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

So, on Tuesday I received an email from Daniel asking me what i thought of traveling this week. Eh... no se. But seriously, I have so much work to do that anything sounded better than schoolwork. Besides, I really wanted to be spontaneous for once in my life and just , well, leave. So, Wednesday night, Daniel and i hopped on a bus for Huancayo. If you think the name sounds familiar, I think you're awesome; cause that means you've been reading. :) I have been to Huancayo before with ISA. This time, however, was sooooo much better! Ok... starting at the beginning.
Daniel and i had absolutely no idea where we were going until about 4:30 PM on Wednesday. (keep in mind we're leaving Wednesday night and planning on an overnight bus trip). We bought tickets to Huancayo around 7 with the bus leaving at 10:30. Not bad at all... we got to the bus station early and just chilled, waiting for departure. I think i lasted about a half hour on the bus before i was sleeping. Can't say that i slept well, but i slept.


We arrived in Huancayo at 5:45 am. Wandering around the city in the freezing cold when nothing is open yet isn't exactly what i was expecting, but it was pretty sweet! We stopped in at some hostels, trying to find a cheap place to stay for the one night that we will be here. At one hostel, we asked for information on some tours. We/I really wanted to go to Huaytapallana. Well, basically, Daniel got sick. combination of the altitude and the fact that he was in the hospital not long ago, so we ended up getting a room in a hostel owned by the cousin of the tour guy. long story... Anyway, we both slept for a few hours after all of the rush this morning. Daniel woke up feeling much better, so we decided to find something to do. We roamed around the city(and found the Abraham Lincoln school lol), bought some bread for lunch, then decided to do something exciting. We were recommended to go to La Laguna de Paca, so we went. Why not?

To get there we took a combi to Chupaca, then a taxi to la laguna. The taxi driver was awesome. His name was brian and he offered to come back to get us later if we wanted. I took his cell number and Daniel and i set off across the field to see la laguna. eh... not impressed. Not quite the excitement we were looking for, we decided to make our own. We were in a valley and looking to the left decided it would be pretty sweet to climb the hill and look down on the laguna. So we did. It was all super except that our hill ended up going on forever. (about dead center in this picture is where we wanted to get to the top...)
Here are a few pics from the climb... i took a million. it was all beautiful! I'll try to post them all on facebook.

It took us a good two/three hours to get to what we thought was the top. lol. we were wrong. As we came to the crest, we realized that we had alot to go. We both wanted to get to the top, so we kept going. We reached the top... again. Only to find... again, that we were still quite far from our goal. Unfortunately, we couldn't go on. We had to get back down... but not before we were captivated by the sunset. Now, if you know me, you know i love sunsets just as much as the sunrise. Well, i happened to be with a boy who likes the sunset just as much as me, so we therefore stopped to take pictures. Now those of you who have more experience in climbing mountains than i do, would realize right away that stopping on top of a mountain to watch the sunset is a bad plan because after the sun sets... you have no light in order to get off the mountain.

Yeah, so, we started back down. Quickly. well, as quickly as you can go when you're climbing among rocks and it's continously getting darker and darker and you're sliding as much as you're walking. We finally did make if down, but it was quite the adventure let me tell you! Being in the middle of nowhere, there were like, zero lights anywhere. It was some serious dark!!!


Luckily, we had Brian's number cause there was no one left at la laguna. We would have been stuck for a while. After getting back to Huancayo, we searched around for ice cream... but got distracted by the picarrones. Then back to the hostel for a semi-early night before Huaytapallana tomorrow!!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

bailaton




Dance off... chevere! So every Thursday, classes are suspended from noon until 3. (Luis finally provided the answer to the mystery of why there are always a million people meandering on Thursday afternoons) During those hours there are always activities going on and things to do. Well, yesterday, there was a dance off... It was sweet! Of course, it happened to be a ridiculously hot day with the sun beating down... poor dancers. Would have been easier to dance for two hours strait if it had been colder. Anyway, i met Sara there early and we actually got seats on the bleachers. :) Unfortunately, the pairs that we liked best were eliminated after three or four rounds. Although we had to admit that the pair that won, was pretty darn incredible. they deserved their award. Even though fairly close, the songs were all soo upbeat that it was hard to snap good pictures. (not to mention that i forgot to charge my camera as i haven't used it in a while and only had a quarter of a battery). I also took a few videos, but the quality is b.a.d. Either my camera has been dropping one too many times or something got messed up... it kept refocusing...so upsetting.
video

new foods...!!!

So, I went out with a friend and tried some new stuff. jeje :) This one, i'm really proud of, although it wasn't my favorite. I definitely couldn't eat very much. I tried to find a picture of it online, but failed... and i can't remember exactly what it's called in Spanish. But, since only a few of you would understand that anyway, i'll just describe it in English.... basically we were walking around the streets of Barranco and there is this place where they sell anticucho. Yay! I love that, so we were going to eat... and Luis asked me if i had tried this other thing. No... but i'll try it now. BAD DECISION... this "other thing" happened to be random pieces of cow that no one else eats. lol. No, the stomach, intestines, and liver were basically cooked on a grill, piled high on a plate, and served with choclo and potato. Bon apetit... :) Liver... i liked. intestine was a little chewy, but not bad (although i did have trouble with the whole circular shape of it... strange!), stomach. eww. Weirdest texture of anything i've ever eaten.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Earthcakes and chocolate quake.

:) A day apart, but still. Does life get better? On Sunday, we had a 'tremor' in Lima. It only lasted fifteen seconds or so, but it was totally chevere! I was unfortunately in the least exciting place ever... my desk. Very upsetting, but it was much better than sleeping through it like the last two tremors.

Then on Monday, i went to a friends house (Sara, she's awesome!) for chocolate cake. Celebrating birthdays is so much fun, especially when it isn't really anyone's birthday. lol. First time i've actually had an "american" style dessert since i've been here. Cake here is just different... good, but different. (ok, i did attempt sugar cookies...)

Then had a fun adventure on the way home. haha... not sure where my mind was exactly, but i paniced on the combi and thought i had passed my 'paradero' (stop). That basically means that i'm in Callao, another district of Peru that is much more dangerous than San Miguel. (Callao is only about a block past my house...) So, i frantically, baja-ed as soon as I could.... only to find that i was still seven blocks from my house. lol. Being cheap, i weighed my chances and decided to freak myself out and watch for robbers for seven blocks at 9:30 PM instead of paying the 50 centimos to get on another combi. lol. I survived though. ;) Than stayed up till 3:30 reading for my control the next day...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

El Bosque









So, last Sunday before i was dying, my family took Becca and I to El Bosque. It's a private club... beautiful! And warm! :) There was sunshine! Anyway, there was a pool, a lake... you know, club stuff. So we had a blast just hanging out and all... my favorite part had to be Danielito. :) My 'nephew' is basically the most adorable thing that speaks Spanish. He's been coming with his parents to our house almost every day and he loves to visit my room. I wish i had toys or books or anything, but he seems to find things that amuse him. He loves my alarm clock (that for some reason, not sure if it's merely the battery or the fact that whatever black stuff is used to make the numbers started spreading all over the little screen, but it doesn't work anymore) anyway... he uses it as a cell phone. I think he gets the greatest pleasure from hanging up on people though. jaja. He's three though, so i've been loving the playtime!


Also was able to see my brothers play soccer for the first time. I was pretty excited to see Daniel play since that is his job. Granted, he was playing against normal people so he wasn't going all out, and his team won every time anyway... but it was still sweet! Very very nice footwork! Reminded me of Nate's team though, a little bit unbalanced. My brothers were on the same team, but Danny had half the goals and Ernie had half the goals... I'm not sure where the other people were. I think i remember there being other people on the team... maybe i dreamed them. Not sure. :)