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Published: July 22nd 2008
Watches over the city of Cusco...He lives on the top of a hill and can be seen from almost anywhere in the city.
I apologize in advance for the lengthiness and influx of pictures in this entry, but I've done a lot since last time. These pictures are from my last week in Cusco and my first week in Lima. I spent my last week of Cusco trying to make the most of every moment and seeing everything I could see and doing everything that I could do. I went on a tour via horseback which was really fun (although my butt was sore for two days after). I didn't realize you used so many muscles when horseback riding. The horses took us to some of the more remote ruins in Cusco (the ones that aren't quite as touristy as the ones I saw in the Sacred Valley -- last entry). There were some awesome views of the mountains and the city.
There was also strikes throughout all of Peru for two whole days while I was in Cusco. Everyone was talking about the strikes several days before, and everything shut down because there were so many people in the streets that cars couldn't pass. It was actually kinda nice with the absence of all the usual noisiness and busyness that is usually in
the streets (other than the shouting people anyway). The people were protesting a lot of stuff: they are unhappy because the average salary in Peru has not increased in years despite the increase in inflation, and the people of Peru aren't really benefiting from the export of all of its natural resources (i.e. gold, silver, etc.), amongst many other things.
My last week in Cusco, two other students from the school stayed with the same family as me. Matt, from England, and Romke, from The Netherlands were both traveling through Peru (separately), and were fun guys to hang out and chat with. I was able to meet a lot of fun people in Cusco and was sad when it was time to leave. I was mostly sad to leave Monica and Jorge, my Peruvian mom and dad...they are such a welcoming family and had a great time staying with them and learning some Spanish and more about Peruvian culture.
About a week ago I arrived in Lima, to begin preparing and training for my project (which will actually take place in Tumbes -- about a 19 hour bus ride from Lima). I will be in Lima for about one month
Dia del Paro Nacional
For two days there were strikes throughout all major cities in Peru. Businesses and schools closed for the day because all of the streets were filled with people on strike
as I get everything together. I'm staying in a swanky (and safe) part of the city (San Isidro), which is really nice for my first few weeks in a foreign country as I figure everything out. Last week I visited the lab which my boss (Dr. Gilman) is in charge of. The lab is in a university here in the city...the university also runs a hospital (the best in Lima) which was actually really good to see (interestingly, out of all the different wards (i.e. malaria, tuberculosis, oncology, etc), the dermatology ward seemed to be the most packed with people...hmmm). I was only visiting the lab and hospital for one day, and so I have spent the rest of my time working at a research site located in a shantytown (pueblo joven), a poor community on the outskirts of the city, called San Juan de Miraflores. This community, as with most shantytowns of Lima, are very poor. Many people literally live in shacks with dirt floors. Many do not have electricity, and more importantly, many people have no access to water (at all...they don't even have access to unclean water) or a sewage system (they have to dig holes in
My hourse, Navajo
Horseback riding is not one of my fortes, but it was a fun!
the ground to put their excrement or find somewhere else to discard it -- you can imagine the types of health problems that can arise from this).
Other than planning for my own project, in San Juan I have been going out with the field workers almost every day observing (and trying to help them out as much as I can with my limited Spanish). The field workers are working on a project similar to the one I will be initiating in Tumbes in August. They go around to homes measuring the weight and length of children 0-2 years old. This has been a really cool process to see...over the past year in school, we learn about all the factors that play into field research and into measurements such as body measurements (anthropometrics) of children and collection of data, and I'm now actually seeing it in real life. I'm sorry I have no pictures of San Juan at this time (I haven't had an opportunity to take pictures) but will post some when I do so you can have a better idea of the conditions of the community.
I'm lucky enough to have a friend here in Lima from Hopkins
and have been able to also meet some other American and Peruvian friends here. This past weekend a few of us went exploring Lima a bit and have posted some pictures below. I was able to try some great Peruvian cuisine 😊 (please see the pictures). We went to the district of Barranco in Lima, which is a cute little area with beautiful infrastruction, cafes, bars, etc. Barranco is quite pleasant and I will probably be spending more time there in the future.
Ok, well time to wrap this up...but just one more thing - Some things that amuse me about Lima are 1) every single driver honks his horn constantly while driving (for no reason at all)...people honk their horns if behind someone while there is a red light...once one person begins to honk then everyone else begins. It's pretty funny 😊 2) I pass 5 Starbucks and 3 Chili's everyday on my way to work.
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