03 August 2010

My stars are different than yours.

       Well it has been quite a while since I have posted to tell you about my stay in Peru, sorry for that first the internet was down and then my schedule is so easily booked it is hard some days to find time for myself. Such is life in Peru. They don't live on schedules. One day one of the house mom's had made plans to take the kids to her house on the beach. We were going to leave at 8:30 in the morning and spend the whole day there, and she was going to cook and everything. However, they did not take it into account that the older kids had been at the church for an all night lock in- which means no sleep. (The pastor did this for the youth because it was independence day and he wanted to keep the kids safe and out of trouble, because independence day can get a bit wild). So since they had not slept there was no way we were going to the beach. Steve and I said we should just take the younger kids who did not go and take the older kids another day so they could sleep. However, the sun wasn't out yet so they said it would be too cold for the little ones, so we were not going to the beach. Then around lunch time we were hearing talk about possibly going to a different part of the beach with just the older ones in the afternoon for a while, but at this time we were trying to think of what food we were going to make for missionary night (a weekly potluck for the local missionaries and us). Well after lunch they said yes we are going to the beach but some of the older kids were still sleeping so we only took like 2/3 of the older kids to the beach in a small town outside of Pacasmayo. We got back to Casa de Paz around 4pm and Steve and I decided we would go get gas in the Camby and stop by Market Pan to get drinks a dessert for dinner. We got gas then parked as we realized all of Pacasmayo was still closed and wouldn't open again until 5- which is 30 minute before missionary night. So we just skipped getting stuff from town and we scrambled things together to make juice and a salad. Such is life in Peru, if you are thinking about doing something at a certain time or someone is going to come on one day to fix something multiply it by two and that will be the actual time it happens. It isn't too bad you just have to be flexible and willing to constantly adjust.
       Another thing that always gets me are the prices of things. One dollar is 2.8 soles (S/.), so sometimes I think something is really expensive or the same price as is would be in America but I forget to divide. So some comparisons for you. Christina will often buy a bouquet of flowers from the open market for her house and a full bouquet that would probably be $40 at any decent florist in America is only S/.10, which if you divide is only about $3.60- ridiculous!. And I can get an entire head of green leaf lettuce, three big carrots, and two cucumbers for S/.3 = $1.07.  Then the bags of  cereal are S/.1.80, and they say they have 7 portions in them, they are wrong, they may have 7 child size handfuls in there but it is really only 2 and maybe 1/3 servings- silly Peruanos Trix are not just for kids. I am slowly getting used to remembering the difference and dividing real quick on how much dollars I am spending. And I decided to get a small book to record my spending in so I remember how much I spent, because no one gives receipts unless you ask for them, but then they have to hand write it out.
      Speaking of monies, yesterday I got all of my money that was sent to Go-Ye for me (thank you all so much!!!) and so sitting in my room is a whole envelope full of almost S/. 10,000. Makes me feel like I am dealing drugs, or I got paid for something illegal because it is in a dollar size manilla envelope. I need to go into town and get some envelopes and I am going to divvy out my money into monthly amounts and then put them in the safe and I will get them out one at a time so I don't accidentally spend too much in one month. I have it sectioned to where I have enough for each month with a couple thousand in reserve in case of medical and such.  It is a good feeling to have it and know how I will be able to access it, it was easier for them to pull it all out so someone didn't accidentally use my money for something else.
      Enough about logistical things though I am sure you are all wondering about where I am living and more about the orphanage and such, I know Mom is because while the internet was down I got 2 emails with 30 questions each :) .
      So the grounds of the orphanage are enclosed in a 15 foot wall of handmade adobe bricks. There are 8 missionary houses, four of them are larger ones, and the other four are the size of the larger ones but divided in half. Currently, I am in one of the small houses. My bedroom, living room, and kitchen are all the same room, with a small bathroom and closet. I won't actually be in this apartment but for maybe one more month. (Avis the founder, who is now 66, is turning over the ministry to Pastor and Pastora. So she is moving in to my house, them into hers-it's bigger, and me into theirs- musical houses) Currently there are 8 Americans and 1 Canadian here, Avis-the founder, three ballet dancers here for two more weeks- Natalie, Kourtney, and Abby, three volunteers as English teachers- Mike, Christina, and Steve, me and then Bruce hailing all the way from British Columbia. Anytime now we are getting two volunteers from Paris who will be here a month- they are trying to get a bus from Lima, and in two weeks when the dancers leave we will be getting another American- guy Sam- who will be teaching PE the rest of the year.
       As far as the rest of the compound there are two other buildings. One that has the bodega- for the tools, the laundry rooms, three kids houses- two are in use, the kitchen and the great room. The other has a big room and some other apartment for some of the Peruvian staff. Each of the kids houses have a main room with a table, a TV, a couch, and some cushioned chairs. to the left of that area is the kitchen, no cooking is done in these just for heating the food, and washing dishes, etc. Then there are 4 bedrooms for kids, and one bedroom for the mom, then on the back left there is the sink and two bathroom areas each with 2 showers and three toilets. Each of the kids houses can hold 20 kids- I believe that is the capacity. There are currently 19 girls, and 13 boys. O and of course there is our wonderful playground, and basketball courts which are also on the compound other than that there isn't much else on sight, besides sand and rocks.
     As far as school goes we are on vacation. It is the middle of the year break, about a week and a half off. Which is really nice because we are getting to spend bunches of time with the kids, and I am really able to build relationships with each of them and take them out to town in small groups.
     Tonight I took out four kids for dinner. Nelson and Louis (brothers), Luz, and Yanelita. We went to the chicken place as Nelson called it, I asked them where they wanted to go and that is where they took me. I had never been to this one but they had. "The Chicken Place" is 4 stories. Immediately upon arriving the kids started going up the stairs, though we were going to the 2nd story, nope we kept going- I questioned them 'Mas?' 'si, si!' So I followed. Then found out that on the third floor there is like a mini McDonalds type play place- ball pit and all. We ate and for S/.35  five of us ate, which included a whole rotisserie chicken, two huge plate of fries, a salad, and a 3 liter of Inca Kola- crazy. Anyways it was really fun, I even got in the ball pit, the waitress thought I was a crazy American, but ball pits are full no matter how old or tall you are.  Afterwards we went and got ice cream, glorious night. I love these kids.
     Tomorrow is supposed to be another trip to the beach! So we will see how that goes!

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