Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fog, Mountains, and Guinea Pig... I must be in Peru.

So our plane was delayed and we ended up getting to the retreat center in Chaclacayo at 2 am.  I was groggy as we stepped off the bus and I was faintly aware of the smell of burning leaves, cold air, and thick fog.  As we walked into the center we passed a dog... wearing a tattered t-shirt?... the whole thing felt so surreal.  I snapped a photo as the gate squeaked shut behind us.

The first days of training have been long and exhausting.  We spent a lot of time sitting through presentations about what we would be learning later.  I suppose the extremely structured schedule is so that we don't have time to freak out about our 2 year commitment.  Personally I feel great to be here and I am chomping at the bit to get things rolling.

I met my host family for the next 10 weeks and they are very generous and nice people.  They have had four volunteers before me so things are pretty smooth at home.  They gave me my own room but I feel a bit bad because it is huge.  The rest of the family (six kids, one boyfriend, two grandparents, and two parents) all live in the other three rooms of the house.  So I obviously feel like a jerk for taking up so much space.  But it is rude to say anything and I appreciate their generosity.  They are great cooks and have been very willing to help me with my spanish and homework.  We have had a some great conversations and I am sure I am in a great environment for learning the language quickly.

My first day here they were having a birthday party for their 83 year old and made something called pachamanca.  This consists of putting a bunch of meat (guinea pig, rabbit, chicken, and pork) and potatoes and fava beans in a hole in the ground (which is called pachamama).  They throw in some coals and hot rocks and cover it for an hour to cook.  It was really good and I was totally stuffed by the end.  I was surprised to try guinea pig so soon.  check out the photo of the plate of food they gave me.

One of the more interesting things we have done during training is something they call "Mission Impossible."  Elke (an advanced speaker and pictured below) and I went around my community of Chacrasana and asked shop owners, community members, teachers, and kids about the area.  This forced us to be social - get messy and make mistakes.  It was a lot of fun and it resulted in quite a few people recognizing me in the streets.  It is great practice for when I arrive in my smaller site and need to integrate into my new home.  We then had to use a local pay phone and call the training center to get the password to enter the next day.  We, however had a bad connection and could not hear the password.  The next day I had to explain all this for about 5 minutes until the tech trainer had pity and let me pass.

Everything is great here.  I am having a blast and working hard.  I can't wait to get out of Chaclacayo and see a bit more of Peru but I guess I need to remember that I have a very long time to do all that... as they say here "Poco a poco."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

And I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane...

I am going to miss Denver.  I am going to miss school (maybe).  I am going to miss my Katie and my friends and my family.  But I am also going to have the experience of a lifetime.  I am going to have adventures and hardships and plenty of memories to bring back with me.  With a little luck and hard work I might even have the opportunity and success of helping others.  I will bring that all back with me in two years and hopefully *gasp* find a job!

It is kind of funny but the closer my time to leave approached, the more time I spent getting to know, then love, the city I lived in: Denver.  I went all over trying new restaurants, street vendors, coffee shops, bike trails...  And I realized that I had been traveling a lot without really exploring my own home town.  Luckily I had my wonderful girlfriend to show me around and help me see what a fantastic place I am leaving -thanks! I think...

Here are some fun photos of things I discovered during my adventures!

Now I am sitting in my hotel room waiting for tomorrow's training and thinking about all the good times I have had over the past two years down in Denver.  Thank you to everyone for the wonderful times and the amazing send off I received.  If there is a secret to happiness it is probably found in the company you keep.

Now onto the business portion of this whole blog.  I will give everyone a run down of what I know and what you need to know... as far as I know.


Peruvian post can take about two weeks to and from... but I will love receiving packages... especially once the home sickness kicks in!  This address will work for the first three months while I am in training.

Chris Huey, PCT
Cuerpo de Paz
Calle Vía Láctea 132
Urb. Los Granados, Surco
Lima 33, Peru

Keep it under a pound people... otherwise it can be assessed duty fees.  Also, keep the expensive stuff for when I get back... cus it WILL disappear, probably.  I will update the address as it changes.


I might have a cell phone... I will get a calling card and be able to chat once in a while.  However, I think that using Skype (a free online video chat program) is probably the best option if I have access to...


While I will mostly likely not have constant access to the internet there is a possibility I will be in a city that has internet cafés and will have daily access.  If not that, then I should be near enough to such a city to get weekly access.  If not, then I will be out in the middle of nowhere and you can pretty much write me off as a lost cause... (just kidding - I still want packages).


I will do my best to be safe.  Peru is a safe country and has the typical type of crime.  Lots of pick-pockets in crowded areas and whatnot.  I know not to walk alone and night...etc.  I will stick with friendly locals when I travel.  Honestly, my laptop is at more risk than I am... and I am smart enough to let someone have it who threatens me for it.  Don't worry about me :).... but DO send packages.


I will miss you all.  Send Packages.