One more time.....
Trip Start Sep 05, 2006
90Trip End Ongoing
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Now after approximately 24 hours of travel between Oakland and Lima, we´re getting all of the last details in order so that tomorrow we can head down to Pisco Peru to participate in post-earthquake disaster relief work. 2 months ago exactly, on August 15th, the west coast of Peru was hit by an 8.0 earthquake. Pisco, a town 4 hours south of Lima by bus, was at the epicenter of the quake and with over 120,000 inhabitants and about 90% of the buildings and homes destroyed is in pretty bad shape. Currently there are a number of aid organizations in Pisco helping out, including UNICEF and most importantly Hands On disaster Response (the organization that we will be working with for the next 3 plus months)
We´re still in Lima so we haven´t seen any of the destruction for ourselves but I´m certainly getting the impression that the devastation is overwhelming. Pisco was never a terribly well off city to begin with so now after the earthquake, the symptoms of poverty are more pronounced. In addition to most structures being destroyed, the irrigation canals which serve the region that receives very very little rainfall were also destoyed. Hands On has a group working on their reconstruction in Canete, slightly north of Pisco.
This trip to Peru, and this segment of the world viewing Odyssey, is different from our travels in the past. When over a year ago we set off to Turkey, India, etc...it was to see the world and to observe. This time around we have a purpose, which is to help in which ever way we can, and honestly we will be learning so much more about the peruvian culture by living in one city for three months while working with the folks in Pisco than we could by simply travelling.
Of course, when first arriving in Lima at 11 pm at night, we needed a place to stay. John had found us a hostel in one of the nicest parts of Lima, Mireflores. Aside from the spanish speaking man at the welcome desk, however, one would have no way of knowing that we were actually in Peru or any spanish speaking country. The hostel is fun; there´s a bar, blaring American music, and lots of stereotypical backpackers who manage to transport their backpacking lifestyle everywhere they go
My goal with this trip is to avoid such hostels which flourish because of their insularity. John and I are going to rock the spanish, he already is. We´re going to meet as many people as possible and really get to know them. This afternoon we headed to a local market, where gringos generally don´t go. We are ceviche off the street and it was delicious. Give me as much raw fish and stall food as possible.
Tomorrow our story will change, and those of you who know our blog from before, we´ll give it all to you in pictures, words, and hopefully video as well. Were going to be stationary in Pisco for the better part of the next four months, so while the "adeventures" might not seem as wild as before, our stories are likely to dig much further into a foriegn world we will get to know.
Lastly, a short sales pitch is in order. You may notice that we´ve added the "contribue to my travels" tab on our page, but really if you are so inclined we´d prefer it if you contributed to Hand On Disaster Relief. They organization is a small time organization with very limited resources, of course, money being the major limiting resource. You can make tax deductible donations at the web site www.hodr.org. Everything really is appreciated.
So thanks all, check back when you want to know what we´ve gotten ourself into, I guarantee it will get interesting pretty quickly!