Can you shimmy your way into Peru?
Trip Start Jan 20, 2010
13Trip End Aug 08, 2010
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How did we end up pulled into a parade for the university students? By following that South American pulse, those swerving hips, clapping hands, shimmying shoulders, and vibrating energy of musical life. I don't mind this new symptom I acquired over the past 5 months in South America; this feeling of home when I hear reggaeton, a compulsive smile of happiness that spreads across my face when I hear the an old man singing in the street, and the feeling of a warm embrace when I hear from a mountain ridge three different love ballads drift up from the city
So what is life in Peru like? Around 6 AM, the sounds of the roosters on our neighbors roof wake me up. I drowsily nudge the dozing body in the top bunk and Abby and I head up to the roof top of our community house. Streaks of dusty blue clouds reflect the morning slumber of the rolling Andes and they slowly evolve to a vibrant revitalizing orange hue as the sun rises during our morning yoga session. The scent of dirty laundry water, screeching roosters, and guitar solos rolling out of the garbage trucks (to hinder street dogs from eating garbage, the garbage trucks play music to notify people when to bring out their trash) would normally create a tension filled atmosphere, but for me have become the tranquil start to my mornings.
I'm feeling far more comfortable in my placement in the clinic where I work four mornings a week. Seņora Patty or Seņor Boni and I push through the twenty patients (or thirty on Mondays) allotted to see the clinics one doctor. The amount of access I have as an undergrad with little training is a bit frightening
After morning placements, everyone heads back to the house for an unbelievable lunch
The group remeets for dinner in the house again. Spanish and Quechua classes are offered before dinner, but I've decided learning Spanish from Paulina, Lydia, and Vicki (the three amazing cooks) suits me better. As traditional 1950s housewife as this sounds, my place is in the kitchen. Now I can not only learn Spanish from three sassy and sweet women, but will bring back some of these delicious Peruvian recipes. The group hangs out watching movies and chatting for the night hours. I won't lie; I was a bit apprehensive when I saw that 12 of volunteers were from West Point. I wasn't sure how much we could chat about comfortably, but I'm learning just as much from them about American culture as I learn from my placement about Peruvian culture. And in a very non-confrontational way! I really enjoy the company of the other volunteers, although the composition changes as people come and go. They've been humorously sympathizing with me as I've been battling my third bout of food poisoning and high fevers. Alright, I'm starting to blather, but get ready for next week's saga of what these afternoon activities are really like.