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Published: April 12th 2010
Mom and babe
Andea mujer and babe walking at Villa Paraiso (on the way to Flora Tristan)
Arequipa, Semana Santa, mas tiempo en Florea Tristan (Villa Paraiso)
We are settling into living in Arequipa and into our volunteer project here. After the first day, I was asked to teach intermediate English to a few of the older boys/teens (around 16 years old). I was asked to teach this group about 5-minutes before classes started. No problema! I was given a pre-intermediate book and found some notes: “pagina sobre fruta” Okay, I guess I can talk about fruit…that shouldn't be too hard...
No notebooks, no paper…did manage to find two markers and a white board (WOW!) but nothing to wipe off…No problema! So…we just kind of winged it by talking about things they were interested in and working a lot on pronunciation. Never realized how hard it is to pronounce English words.
The following day I did manage to find a text book and copied out some pages for the ‘Present Continuous’ tense…okay, fess up, how many of you know what the ‘Present Continuous’ tense is? I am (verb+ing), you are (verb+ing), he/she/it is (very+ing), we are (verb+ing), they are (verb+ing).
So from Thursday, April 1st through Sunday, April 4th, 2010 is “Semana Santa” or
Shari ensena a un estudiante
Shari teaching a student at Flora Tristan
holy week. People in Latin America take this ‘holiday’ extremely seriously and so all we have been seeing lots of people selling ‘Jesus on the cross’ memorabilia, crosses made from reeds, people visiting churches, lots of mass(es), lots of confessions and most fascinating is the re-enactment of the last supper, the trial of Jesus, the reenactment of the crucifixion, a procession of the Jesus’s body with a huge statue of the Virgin Mary. This is perhaps the most sacred of all religious holidays and people take it very seriously and very somberly. It has been a fascinating thing to be witness to and Marleigh has found it most intriguing. She also cannot reconcile why we all celebrate Easter with Easter bunnies and chocolate when people here are reflecting on the death of Jesus and are 100% absorbed in this sorrowful remembrance. I am hoping that the pics/videos might provide a glimpse of this.
Before we left Bend, Oregon, our friends Nancy and Ray (Hola!) showed us a slide show of when they were in Ecuador and Peru. Nancy had stayed with a family for 6-months (hace 25 años) and was able to provide us with the email of the
Marls, Ans, and chicas
Marleigh, Ansley and their 'estudiantes' jugando at 'la cancha' (playground) with tiza (chalk)
family. Long story short, we emailed, they responded and we have been able to bridge and forge a familial connection through our dear friends in Bend. Indeed the globe is small!
The volunteer work at Flora Tristan school continues to be rewarding and also really, really difficult. What I mean by that is that the children are delightful; eager to learn; eager to please; and are so loving and inquisitive. But we come in for an hour or two, then leave and go back to our comfortable lives. They live in these tiny brick structures…there is some water in the village, with more coming soon, but no toilets and lots of dirt and filth and stink everywhere. I struggle with what else we should be doing for them. It is difficult in that the T-N-T folks aren’t directly involved with the day-to-day activities and there doesn’t seem to be a ‘head person’ in the village to coordinate things.
Nonetheless, I am learning more about English than I ever knew. This week I am reviewing (hmm…how about learning) “Phrasal Verbs”. Okay, who can tell me what a phrasal verb is? Sh-h-h, a secret…I didn’t know what one was until
Ansley took this photo of some of the children at Villa Paraiso jumping rope at 'la cancha'
yesterday. Verb + adverb or verb + preposition that changes the meaning of the verb….for example “break down” = malfunction…. “blow up” = inflate or destroy…”take off” = remove. You and I and rest of the English speaking world rarely think about the complexity of these phrases, but indeed they are complex and difficult to explain.
One morning, we were talking to the owner of the hostel. I asked her where I could get my hair trimmed. She told me that one of the women (Jessica) cut hair and would cut our hair for S/3.50 each. So, one morning after breakfast, Jessica got out all of her equipment and did a magnificent job cutting all of our hair…we paid her S/15 total, which came to a little over $5.00 for all of us. I highly recommend you all come to Arequipa for your haircuts!
So, our last day volunteering at Flora Tristan is Monday, April 12th; we wish we had more time to spend there with the children/adults. It has been a very enriching experience for us all. Just an interesting side note to consider. As I mentioned in the previous blog, there is (was) no toilet at
Shari and ninas
Shari, Marleigh with some of the wonderful children at Flora Tristan. Las amo mucho...
the school and as best as we can tell, there is no plumbing in the village. The volunteers had raised an issue to the T-N-T coordinators about the need for a toilet. So, last Friday, a group of volunteers cleaned out the area for the bathroom and put in a toilet. Supposedly there is a pipe…but we don’t know where the pipe leads to. Meanwhile, the toilet (and just a toilet…no seat) has been installed. Toilet paper cannot go into the toilet, so it has to go into a waste bin…Since we’ve been at the school, we’ve not seen any of the classroom wastebins being emptied. So, here are some of our questions about the newly installed toilet:
Who buys toilet paper?
Who buys a waste bin for the toilet area? More importantly, who empties the pee-pee and poopy paper in the waste bin? Next, where does the human waste actually go? The toilet is not made of porcelain, but rather of a porous cement like material. I can only imagine after a time of pee-ing into this toilet, what kind of smells will slowly and permanently seep into the toilet. The toilet is rather high and huge for
Washing basins at the Monasterio de Santa Catalina (a huge monestary in Arequipa - it consists of a small walled city in the center of Arequipa)
the little ones to use, so now, they can easily squat and go - but they will need a lot of assistance to use the new toilet….who knew that such a simple thing could really be quite so complicated….
On Tuesday, April 13th, we hope to visit an orphanage…then it is off to Cusco on Thursday, on the overnight Cruz del Sur bus…
Our next blog update will provide highlights from our weekend trip to Colca Canyon and all of the amazing things we saw and did. It was an incredible trip (in a tour bus with a guide) and we’ll do our best to fill you in with some of the highlights. I’m sure there will be more interesting details to include…so stay tuned!
Abrazos y Besos a Todos!
Andy, Shari , Ansley, Marleigh
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