30 July 2010

O internet

Well I haven't been able to post as I want to  lately because our internet is down at the orphanage it went out last Friday night and the guy hasn't fixed it yet. When people tell you a time in Peru times it by 2 or four and that will be the time or day they come or arrive. So I will update I promise but i have to go into town (I am using internet at school) and get stuff to treat lice. All of the girls and some of the little boys have lice . So that is fun, but I feel bad for them because that is humiliating, but they are so thankful when you sit they and pick through their hair.

22 July 2010

Here are finally some pictures for you

The coast in Lima

    Restaurant in Lima
The walk in Barranco down to the beach
All the cars in the streets of Lima on the beginning of our bus ride
Angel and David two of the little ones at Casa de Paz
Paul dressed as an Incan Ruler for the Parade on the 21st
Nelson dressed as a Presidente for the Parade, I would vote for him
Merely, I told her to smile and got this funny/cute face instead. Another of the younger  kids.
Me and David outside the girls house, he is always asking to be picked up. I make him say please.
Joel and Louis dressed as soldiers for the Parade
All of our kids ready for the parade plus Leo a kid from school.
Our first graders were dressed as Incans.
All our 8th grade boys plus Nelson (6th grade) were dressed as presidents
Louis, me and Leo waiting for the parade to start. Was suppose to start at 9:30, started at 11.
A cute little boy waiting for the beginning of the parade as well I liked his mustache
A different school that was in front of us, they were really cute!

19 July 2010

A few interesting things...

Here are a few interesting things about some differences here in Peru than in our homeland of America!

There is not peanut butter.
Milk comes in a container like a large juice box in an unrefrigerated aisle. (Refrigerate after opening of course)
They have purple corn, which they use for all sorts of things. I do not like purple corn but I tried it. Once as a drink- which is very common, once as a jelly- very thick jelly lots of corn starch they consistency made me gag and gave me chills, and once as a spread in the middle of a dessert. I do not like purple corn I do not like it Sam I am.
You can get a beautiful arrangement of flowers at the open market that would be $40 or $50 in the US, but is S/ 10- which is not even five dollars here.
People drive how ever they feel like.
The orphanage is built on an old trash dump.
The city I am in has no grass, only sand and dirt. Very few trees and the ones that are here are very small.
There are no tortillas :(
The doors are strange you have to have a key to open them, or be let in from the inside.
You park your car on the sidewalks in big cities.
They love High School Musical still, and Justin Bieber.
Mayonnaise is used on all sorts of things, and it is a different consistency than in America, almost a complete liquid, interesting but it works.
School starts at 7:40am and gets out at 1:30, and you don't eat lunch till after school.
In the middle of the afternoon when everyone is most active in America, Peru is not it is time to rest.
It is winter here instead of summer.
A Moto is $.50.
People stare at you is you are tall.
No paper goes in the toilets.
The streets have names on a map but not on the streets- at least as far as I have seen
It is S/ 1 to go out on the pier, but watch your step because the boards are not flush against each other, and they may move, or not even be there anymore. And be careful you don't get blown off.

There is more, but just a few I wanted to share.

If your shower shocks, you take a bath. No tub? Use buckets.

      So everyone wants to know about Pacasmayo, where I will be living and teaching for the next while. The point I left off at was arriving in Pacasmayo after a 12 hour bus ride that included snorers, loud cell phone talkers, and Facing the Giants in spanish. Surprisingly I did get some quality sleep (one of my talents is sleeping) and I was ready to see things in town and meet the kids, and see the grounds. Once the moto dropped us off at Casa de Paz I immediately was embraced by Avis, the founder, "Ah we finally meet!!!" (We had been talking via email, and the occasional phone call since the end of November) And apparently she had told everyone about me because when I told everyone my name they go, "o yes Samantha you will be here for uno ano, si?" That's me.
        I dropped all of my things in my temporary apartment and sat down with Avis and Gabby and chatted for a while, then I took a shower. O the shower. So there is no hot water connected to any shower. Each shower has a heater attached to the head, which are a little sketch. Avis said she would be weary of using the heater because they recently started shocking you.  And as everyone has know since childhood, electricity and water don't mix- because of the wonderful illustrations on curling irons and blow dryers. I did not attempt to use the heater on the shower. Instead I chose the other advised method, which is filling some buckets halfway with regular faucet water, and heat a pot of water on the stove to finish filling your buckets, then bathe. It really wasn't that bad, in the summer I will be able to shower, but for now it is too cold for that so it is buckets.
       The bucket shower was quite refreshing despite having to improvise my bathing techniques, since the last shower I had was in America- which means lots of traveling filth, it happens. Being clean I was ready to go, I followed Gabby to the school, A Generation of Leaders (which is attached to the church). The school has a room for each grade, one through eight, a science lab/room, a courtyard, and three learning centers. I will be teaching in the learning centers, some with the older kids and then with the younger. I love the set up of the school, it just has a more personal feel to it than schools in los Estados Unidos. After my tour Jose set up my computer with the internet, and I headed back to Casa de Paz for lunch.
      Monday through Saturday a wonderful Peruvian woman, Juana, makes (everyone chips in for the cost of each meal) the volunteers lunch at Avis' apartment. So far I have eaten two of Juana's meals, and I am thoroughly impressed and would let her cook for me anytime. At lunch I was able to meet the rest of the American teachers and some other short term volunteers, who are all wonderful and I will tell you about them all another day. Shortly after lunch I went with Christina, Juana, Pastor, Pastora, Ray, Natalie, Abby, and Danilo (one of our kids who has special needs and just loves to ride in the Camby!) to a small town, Manzanca, five miles outside to Pacasmayo.  In Manzanca they have started a small mission women's bible study on Fridays. Ray, Natalie, Abby, and I took all the kids into another room and read part of the story of Joseph and his dreams, then played. Now a little about Manzanca.
       Pacasmayo is a poor region, but Manzanca is even poorer. They had hard compressed dirt floors, some chairs and a TV in the house, some of the women and children were barefoot, and most of the women cannot read.  The beautiful thing is these women want to learn about the Lord, and the children desire so much to be loved and give so much love out. The children were so excited to play with us, we played a version of hide 'n' seek, and spun them around only to hear "mas, mas!", "orta ves!", "mi, mi!" It would be very hard for anyone to not show these children Christ's love. After the bible study Pastora had brought some buttered (not peanut butter, just butter) and jellied bread, and Pastor had gone and bought a 3-Liter bottle of Pepsi. As bread was passed out, the women of Manzanca made sure we- the fully nourished Americans- got one, and a soda, and then kept making sure we didn't want more before they let the children go back for seconds. Their hearts were so beautiful, it was hard to get back in the Camby and leave. As we drove off all the kids chased after the van, waving and shouting. Beautiful.
      We got back to Casa de Paz and it was a birthday party/ farewell! A couple of the girl's birthdays were celebrated, and two of the volunteers, Rita and Heather, said some goodbyes (They leave Peru to go back to America to start paying off student loans). It was a wonderful celebration, the house mom's had made so many desserts- three cakes, jelled purple corn, some kind of jello on top of cookie, there was candy, popcorn, a homemade pinata, and again when the food was being served it was brought to the volunteers first- everyday I am being humbled by these people. After the celebration they watched Up- in spanish of course (doug isn't as funny). At that point I headed to bed traveling had finally caught up with me.
      Saturday I slept in to a whole 8:30! Wohoo! Drank my yogurt, yup different consistency than America- but very good, then went to play with the kids that were outside. Playing was followed by lunch at Avis's, followed by Futbol de mesa (foozball) with some of the boys. Playing foozball with Nelson and Gerhson were possibly the most intense games of foozball I have ever played. At first Abby and I paired ourselves with one of the boys and enjoyed beating the other one. There was lots of screaming and high fiveing for the first couple games, then we switched up the teams. Abby and I vs. Nelson and Gerhson. I don't know if I need to say it, but we got stomped. those boys beat us pretty bad except for one game was 10-6, the others scores will not be posted. I think Nelson eventually began to pity us and eased up.
      Saturday night I finally got to go into Pacasmayo. The girls took me into town for dinner and to show me where to buy groceries. It was night and so it wasn't really a good time to try and set any bearings to where I was in the town but it was fun to get out and see the people of the town and buy some food. Which food is cheap. It is interesting to see what kinds of food they have, and what from America is there. Anything from America is more expensive that the Peruvian equivalents so I buy Peruvian. After buying groceries we got a moto to go back up the hill and it was a day.
     Sunday morning church is at 9am. All the kids from the orphanage who want to go to church are brought (there was a good number of them), and then there are people from the town. Worship and the message of course are in spanish, but the songs they sang were songs I knew in english. (They are really into Hillsong United) And then when it came time for the message Christina was there and so she translated to English. The message reading came from Matthew 23:12 "For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." The message was beautiful, and for me coming from America it wasn't what I expected to be preached at church. It was very humbling for me to listen to a Pastor who denies himself all sorts of things to minister to an impoverished people speak on humility. He is truly humble- even though he says he isn't. And I definitely took away a lot from the message as I continue to be humbles by my surroundings I learned that "humility isn't weakness or poverty, it is strength and love".
     I hope that this finds everyone well, and that in your lives you also find strength and love from the people around you.  Peace- Sam

16 July 2010

So I am walking down the streets somewhere outside of Pacasmayo

(That title is for Laura- love you)
As the events over the past couple of days were occurring I wasn't sure for a while if it was real. I never got super nervous it almost felt I was dreaming, however this is not a dream it is really happening and I love it! Both of my flights went well. On my first flight I sat by a man who speaks both fluent english and spanish, we talked for a good bit of the flight about each other, who we were, what we do, where we are heading and why, then he told me how to get through the airport in Mexico City and where I needed to go and where I could sit and wait for my flight. A small blessing found in someone I had never met, then I was in Mexico city. Got through immigration and customs real quick, then sat by Starbucks watching Baby Mama while I waited for the plane to get in and be assigned a gate. Boarding went really smooth in Mexico, I was even proud of myself for understanding what they were announcing (prior to them it in english). The flight wasn't too bad, the seat between me and the gentleman in my row was empty so we were able to stretch out and share some extra leg room, which made the flight very enjoyable. The outbound movie was Date Night, pretty funny glad they were in english because Steve Carrell in spanish wouldn't have been the same, for dinner it was arroz con pollo y ensalada, and I had jugo de manzana, and for the inbound movie it was Clash of the Titans, it was ok. Didn't feel like flying really. When I landed in Peru I got off the flight prepared to go through immigration again, but when I got there about three flights were in front of mine.  The capacity for the room was 1395 people and I am pretty sure it was close to that but even still not all 30 booths were open to stamp visas only about 12, so that took forever. Went through customs again this time had to get my bags, the luggage carts were free unlike in America- silly America you need to fix that free=easier. Pressed the button another green light! As I walked out of customs a slight  bit of anxiety hit me because there were hundreds of people waving signs in my face and other asking "taxi? taxi?", but I was able to find Gabby after pushing my way through all those crazies, and got out of the airport and breathed in the fresh air, so good. Gabby eventually got us a legit taxi- there are a lot of sketch ones...and he drove us to El Hostal Classic, were we stayed the night. Prior to arriving though was a very bumpy ride. The roads weren't bad, but it was kind of like every man for himself on those roads. some roads have marked lanes others don't regardless people create their own and do all the things we want to do while driving but don't. Very crazy, but I am still alive today so that is good. Thursday morning I had to get up at 7am, which is actually normal, but when I looked at my watch going to bed it was 1:44 (my flight landed at 11...) We got up, got a taxi, drove to meet David and Israel at some missionary headquarters place (forgot the name) where I signed lots of papers some in azul otras en negro, and made more copies of my passport and current visa. Then we went from there to Immigration which took a little bit longer because about 8 blocks out we had to walk due to the streets being closed for los ninos of the local schools to parade up and down for 28 de julio- Peru's Independence day- they party all month. At immigration Gabby and I just sat, Israel went to the counter and did everything for me, I don't even know what he really did, but we left as soon as everything was in order and continued on to Interpol- without Israel. At Interpol we met up with David again and he guided me to my first place and I nodded and answered some questions about basic personal information as it was entered into a computer. They took my picture, fingerprinted me, and checked my teeth (for identification purposes), then I was finished. And in 30 dias I will receive a card that I carry around with me kind of like an ID card. But this whole process, long as it was enables me to not have to leave the country after 180 days to reenter to renew my visa. After we were done Gabby asked me what I wanted to do since the bus wasn't until 7:30pm. I told her she could tell me what we were doing after we ate- I was pretty hungry. We exchanged my money $187 is now S/ 523, lunchtime. When we finished with lunch she asked if I wanted to see the city and the beach- let's do it. First she took me to Plaza Vea- a huge grocery type store, and we got some snacks and water for the day, then she decided I should see the open market. I love markets. Fresh fruit, spices, grains, and meat, the presentation of the meat is a little iffy. It hangs there all day upside-down plucked chickens-throats sliced, slabs of beef, pigs heads, stomachs, tongues, livers, hearts, and hooves. It really didn't phase me though, just walked right on through as Gabby told me what each thing was and I nodded because I knew exactly what they were it was cool and disgusting all at the same time.After that Gabby said, "Now I take you to the beach". But instead of taking a taxi, we took a van which is only 1 sole. These aren't any van though, these are crazy people driving with an even crazier person hanging out the side door hollering at people to see if they need a ride, but it was cheap and saved a lot of walking. We got off in the Miraflores district of Lima which is the big tourist district, but it is beautiful. Most of my pictures I have so far are here. There is a good walkway above the beach to walk the coast. We started with Larcomar, a really cool outdoor mall that was built in the side of the cliff above the ocean, but it had stores like Adidas, and TGI Fridays so I am glad we just walked through it quickly, reminded me of America and I was in Peru- silly. We continued to walk North on the Coastal ridge and went through bunches of little Parks, all with beautiful views of the ocean and all the people Paragliding over it, and there were surfers- another breed of crazy people because the Pacific is always cold and it is winter and so it is colder. After visiting the Miraflores district we went to the Barranco district to see the vendors on the plaza and to see the church of San Fransico and walk down the walkway to the actual beach. It is a very long walkway with restaurants and house on either side then it turns into a covered walkway that hugs the cliff and crossed the busy street and guide you right onto the sandy shores of the Pacific Ocean, beauty. The walk down peaceful, back up sweaty lots of stairs you don't remember going down. After Barranco we decided to go back to the Hostel to rest, took a thirty minute power nap and was ready to go again, but this time it was into a Taxi again with all my belongings off to the bus station. Where we waited for the 7:30 bus at America Express. Gabby left me there because she wanted to go buy something, which was the only point of my day when I got nervous because they started loading a bus while she was gone and I missed the announcement so I wasn't sure if it was ours but she got back and it wasn't ours. But she went and bought my new favorite food, It was a whole potato, with some meat, onions, and spices in the middle, fried, with some mayonnaise and some other condiment on top- wonderful. We loaded our bus, which it is a huge bus. A big charter bus with two decks and sleeper chairs. Not a whole lot of sleep actually happened during the 12 hour bus ride that is supposed to be 10 hours. The man to our 2 o'clock snored, the man to my 7 o'clock talked unnecessarily loud on his cell phone as if the person on the other line just couldn't hear him, but we made it in one piece to Pacasmayo finally at 8am today. This time no taxi, a moto instead. Which a moto is a motorcycle with the two wheels in the back and the seat for two behind the driver, fun ride wasn't sure if it would make it up the big hill, but it was better than carrying all my stuff up the hill but two minutes later we arrived at Casa de Paz. Finally after 2 days of traveling we made it! Such a good feeling. It still doesn't seem real I feel like in the morning I may wake up in America, but I won't I am here for good and I am really excited, my day today was filled with so much I want to tell you, but it will have to wait because I am tired and need to sleep, but I may have time to write more this weekend, weekends are pretty chill, but I will explore Pacasmayo and go find the giant statue of Jesus Cristo! So I made it loved Lima, love Peru, this is going to be a great year. Chow! (because that is what they say here and kiss you on the cheek)

13 July 2010

Be careful what you carry because you can only take so much

Well, in less than 24 hours I will be departing from this wonderful country. I have been preparing for this adventure since November, and I think I am as ready as I can be. My bags are packed, weighed, marked, and in the van. My room is packed, clean, and full of mom's beautiful baskets. The rest of my belongings are in boxes and tubs in the attic, I will miss my shoes. One of the most difficult things for me over the last couple months has been packing, first my apartment and then my luggage. It isn't easy to put things into boxes that you have lived with and used for years, and leave them behind as if you no longer love them, but at the end of the day they are things, trinkets, and possessions- if  you added it all up to equal a monetary value it wouldn't amount to much, it is all used, worn, and last year's stuff. A bunch of my things I even got rid of, I hadn't seen it in two years, used it, or needed it, so it was off to a garage sale, I more or less cleaned out my life from the past four years- and when I come back I will still have things that I need to go through and make decisions on, which is on of my weakest qualities- decision making. Which is one reason packing was so hard. What does one pack for an entire year? I wanted to take teaching supplies, I need clothes- but which ones and how many, which of my beloved shoes will I tread on over the next 365 days, can I take books, journals, I will need a toothbrush, what will I need? As most of you know me pretty well I am a world-class procrastinator, I packed yesterday. Piles of things lined the upstairs wall neat and ready to go in bags, these will be the things from America I will have for the next year, well it all fit in my bags and i was only over about 2 lbs, so I guess I did pretty well, I pulled out a few things and am ready to go, except I still feel I am probably missing something, which in the end probably won't matter at all, but i know I can't take half of the things that I want to. I had to leave most of my gear, my climbing ropes, my tent, my books, and other things I value. But they aren't what I value most, because they have been in my attic for two months already and I am still alive, the things I value most don't fit in my luggage, and I can't pack them away in my attic, because they are people. I have been so blessed to have amazing people  in my life from the day I was born. As cliche as it is, I would be nowhere near where I am today if it weren't for the people in my life, starting with my family, then my friends. If I could take everyone with me I would, but I can't, and most of you couldn't come anyways, which in the end is the best. This year is going to be a year full of growth, it will be the first time in my life where I will have no one to lean back on except for the Lord. This year I am no longer a dependent- according to the IRS,  but in fact I will still be a dependent. I am a dependent of the Lord. If I wasn't there would be no way I would get on a plane travel to another country by myself, to meet someone I have never met, to ride on a bus through a country I have never been to, to teach at a school I have never seen, and to love kids I don't know. But I will be able to do all of those things for an entire year, I am well equipped, the Lord by my side I am boarding Flight 419 tomorrow and at 11:15 I will be stepping onto Peruvian soil. I cannot wait, and I cannot thank all of my family and friends, my most valued possessions, enough for their prayers and support, and I can't wait to send you pictures and tell of my adventures in Peru. I am ready to be a dependent of God, and find out who I am in Christ, thanks again for joining me on my adventure!!! In God's Peace- Sam