Archive for January 2009

Parting words from Lima

January 14, 2009

Today´s our last day in Lima!  The week has totally flown by in some ways, and in others I can barely remember the time before I was here – I feel like I´ve been in Peru for much  longer than a week.  I have greatly enjoyed our time in Lima, especially living at Westfalia.  The kids there were really amazing, and they took us in right away, were patient with my spanish, and took our stumbling around in workshops well and I think even learned some things.  That being said, between being there and at La Sagrada Familia, which is in the slums of northern Lima, I still feel like I´m missing something.  I think that it´s much more difficult to see and feel urban povety, especially across cultural lines.  Being the slums, I could tell that everyone living there was clearly living in poverty, but it´s not the same kind of poverty as we were taught about in D-Lab, so in some ways feels a bit less drastic.  It´s interesting because in the US, brand names are used as a status symbol, and I´ve noticed that in Peru they are definitely not, because you see all of these people in these slum areas that you know are poor wearing Adidas and Nike clothes, which took me a little while to get used to.  I have loved working with the people in Lima that we have been working with, looking at problems of urban poverty, and everything else, but I am excited to move to a more rural area and really experience that.  I´m glad that we will be able to see both sides of the coin while in Peru, and I think that I´m actually more interested in rural poverty issues, so I´ll get to see if that is actually the case.  In many ways, I think that rural poverty is much less complex because there is often much greater room to grow for them, and the problem is less about those people´s status and ability to survive in the complex system that a city is and more about giving them access to tools and resources that they can use to simply generate more money in a lot of cases.  I suppose I will find out in a few days if it actually is what I think it is.

¡Estoy en Peru!

January 10, 2009

Hello from Peru!  It´s great here, quite warm.  I just spent the last three days living in an orphanage outside of Lima called WEstfalia.  It was the most fantastic place ever – the kids were great, we ran a few workshops and they were also awesome, and we each got assigned a “casa” that would make it feel a little more like home, and we te all of our meals in our own casa.  I think my spanish is slowly coming back, since no one there spoke English so that was kind of cool.  We also playd nonstop games, and plenty of soccer.  I also managed to get literally about 50 bug bites a night, which was slightly unfortunate.  The food was good, it was interesting to see what they ate, and that it wasn´t terribly different from what we did, just in quantity and timing it was different.  They also drank almost no water which was killing me, since I am normally constantly drinking water in the US, but they literally would have a cup of powdered milk with breakfast (which definitely took some getting used to, by the way), and then that was basically it until maybe something after dinner.

Alright, time to book all of our tickets for Machu Picchu!

….and we’re off!

January 5, 2009

After spending eight hours in D-Lab working on projects today, and probably about that many more tomorrow, we will finally be leaving off to Peru super early Tuesday morning!

I am extremely excited, a bit nervous for some reason, but overall, I can’t wait for the trip.  I know I made the right decision in going, which is also nice.  I can’t wait to see how things work out while we’re there, to put my Spanish to the test, and to get my feet wet in what I hope will be a continued passion/life path.  I suppose in a way this is my first real test to see if all of the things that I’ve been excited about since high school actually will pan out, that I will actually enjoy the challenges, pitfalls, and satisfactions of international development work.  No pressure, D-Lab.

Amy’s parting words today will be mine, which are that in going on this trip, and in taking this class, we are reaffirming our belief that every one of us can make positive change in the world.  I am not expecting this overarching idea to suddenly happen on this trip because well, if it did, I suppose I would have made my change, right?  It’s going to be hard, different from anything that I have ever done, and a lot of the things that we have been working on might not work out.  But I’m ready.

Pedal-power washer

This is my team’s Pedal-power clothes washers for one of the orphanages we will be visiting, when it was 99% done.  Pretty exciting stuff!