Coming back to Peru was rough. It probably didn’t help that the trip back up to my site from Lima is exhausting. I immediately felt very alone and I was alone for those 2 days traveling to Tacabamba. Right now it is summer vacation from school in Peru. Where I live in Cajamarca a lot of people leave their communities to make extra money as migrant workers during the coffee harvest in the jungle. So there is not a lot of project work to look forward to during January and February, because people just aren’t around.
When I got home to Tacabamba on Tuesday night I was surprised to find 3 new kids at my house. My host mom Rosa’s nephews and niece are staying with us for vacations. They are a pretty rambunctious group and immediately showered me with questions. My favorite was ‘are you a man or a woman?’ which I thought was uncalled for, but 5 year old Jesus just wasn’t sure about me. He also asked me if I was married or if I have kids; pretty typical I get that a lot from adults too.
The next day I hiked up to Ayaque with Diamond and Marta. Marta works for a Peruvian NGO that has a lot of the same goals as Peace Corps health and we work together a lot. Marta took over for the promoter who was in charge of Ayaque last year and she needed someone to show her around. I did not want to hike up to Ayaque the community where Diamond and I spent so much time developing a project only to have it flop in early December, but I figured it would be good for me not to wallow alone in my room. And it was, good for me.
Showing Marta around really made me realize what a big deal it is that Diamond and I put in all those hours visiting houses and getting to know that community. I knew names, faces, where the worst dogs live, and the people there knew me too. So it really sucks that our project didn’t work out and it won’t count towards anything, but I did successfully get to know this community that is so isolated that it seems to often get passed over. And although my project didn’t work out, I will still be able to advocate on behalf of the community throughout this Municipality project. Maybe I can keep them honest and make sure that Ayaque doesn’t get forgotten again.
So far our plan for an adult exercise class is not coming together so well, but I’m sure we’ll wear the municipality down. We aren’t asking for any funding just a space to do the class, so I’m crossing my fingers that we get all the documents signed and stamped soon. In the meantime the search is on for a new community to work in this year. In December Diamond and I made a list of all the communities in the district that have a secondary school and a health post. Now we need to find one that fits for a healthy homes project.
I’m trying to keep busy. I’m trying not to worry about med school stuff too much. I’m trying to not let the rainy season bum me out too much.
Chau for now,