Well, I am officially in Peru.
Although, not without a struggle. My flight out of Calgary was delayed two hours due to mechanical problems, causing me to miss my connecting flight in Houston to Lima and then Lima to Chiclayo. So instead, I flew to Chicago then Miami then Lima, arriving in Lima after 26 hours of travelling and no sleep! Greasy, exhausted, and a little emotional (a lot emotional), I discovered that my bags had not arrived in Lima with me. This little complication caused me to miss my flight from Lima to Chiclayo, because I wasn’t allowed to leave until I made a baggage claim and there were about 15 of us that need to do so. I only cried a little bit, I promise.
I finally flew out of Lima at 3:30 pm Thursday, after sitting around since 4:30 am! I arrived in Chiclayo, bagless, but relieved to finally have arrived! Tom and Carol, the directors of the organization, were there to meet me, and they drove me out the compound. I am about 20 mins from Chiclayo, in the little community of Pueblo Nuevo/Ferranafe.
Peru is beautiful. And, really dirty! Where I am living is better, but in the big cities, there is garbage everywhere. A lot of the buildings are half built, and as Carol explained, the Peruvians will build until they run out of money, and then they will stop a job halfway until they have money to finish it! It’s funny, a lot of buildings are still a work in progress! Everything is painted beautiful colours though, all of the houses are blue and green and yellow!
The weather is waaay hotter than I anticipated. I knew they were about to head into winter, and I even used precious luggage space to pack sweaters! I remembered being so cold in Africa, I didn’t want to be underdressed. Obviously I didn’t do a lot of research about this… Because I have not stopped sweating! I hear it IS supposed to cool off… whatever that means for being just under the equator!
The place where I’m staying is great – a walled/gated/LOCKED compound – my mother is so thrilled! Within the compound there a children’s home, a duplex with one home upstairs and one down, both with 5-8 kids. The downstairs home has Peruvian house parents, and the upstairs home has a couple from America, a teenage girl, 2 toddler boys, and my new room mates: Claudia (6) and Perla (9). They are my new best buddies and don’t seem to mind that I can’t speak Spanish. However, this does not stop them from speaking at me incessantly in it, and we both pretend I understand. Every single person here speaks only Spanish to me, so I do a lot of pretending with a smile and an occasional “si.”
Also within the compound is an elementary school that services 160 kids from the community, as well as some of the kids from the home. Starting the week after next, I take over for the English teacher and will be teaching the English classes for pre-K to grade 4. I will observe next week, and then take over for the teacher who is returning to America for a month or so. I am a little nervous about taking over, as my Spanish is so limited! I am picking up a lot, even in my first few days here, but I feel like I probably need to figure out “sit down; be quiet; stop” etc! I will have a Spanish helper in the room, so that should be good!
The principal of the school is from Canada, and he, his wife, and 2 teenage children have lived here for 3 years. They are so kind, and even had me over for pizza last night, after taking me to pick up my now-found luggage! I think he will be a supportive leader as I take over the teaching. But, get this: We have a curriculum and workbooks for every grade but they are worried about copyright laws, so instead of actually photocopying them, the current teacher uses them for “ideas” and then makes her own worksheets that are basically identical…. Copyright is such a drag. And really, who actually follows those laws? Apparently me, now that I get to make all my own resources…. Someone should seriously look up the actual law. Is there any way to get around that?
Anyway, everything here is great. My bags have arrived, I am learning Spanish, the people are friendly, and I even got to be in a parade… Hahaha not joking.. I was supposed to accompany the four year olds on a “walk” which actually ended up being a parade about vaccinations? Men on stilts and clowns included. The kids had all just been vaccinated and the hospital put on a parade with them in it. I walked with the kids, and got a solid sunburn, but I got to see all of the community! Even the market, where they sell chicken with the head and claws still on and gutted fish from the ocean!
Keep you posted!
XO – kb
PS I can receive texts for free! It’s really expensive to text you back, but I do love hearing from you!