The real Peruvian experience

Trip Start Nov 28, 2011
Trip End Apr 09, 2013

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What I did
Los Angeles

Flag of Peru  ,
Saturday, May 19, 2012

Packed and prepared for our journey to Lima. This time we used the Cruz del Sur bus organisation. As soon as we entered the specially build bus terminal for Cruz del Sur we knew that we had chosen the right bus company for this long ride. This company has service, comfort and safety as priority, which is really nice after so many more economic bus organisations back in Bolivia.

During our bus ride from Cusco (elevation of 3.400) to Lima (sea level) we drove through and over the Andes Mountains. Sometimes the snowy parts were really close, but we were save and warm in the Bus. The first part of this trip was for Jorgen horrible. Zick-zacking alongside the mountains made him bus-travel-sick. But we both admit that again scenery is amazing! As soon as we passed the Andes, it was getting better and it was around 7 am in the morning before we saw the sea again since Antarctica! We reached Lima via the Pan Americana-Sur and there we directly arranged a connecting bus towards Piura in the North of Peru were we would visit our "Amigos Temporales" Raoul and Laura (Raoul and Laura we met during the first week in Bolivia). This journey follows the Pan American-north highway and would also go overnight. The second night on the bus!

We saw the famous sand dunes falling into the pacific ocean, beautiful sunset and more, much more sand of this unbelievable desert next to the sea. Fortunately the bus had internet and so we could announce our arrival towards our friends Laura and Raul.

We reached Piura by morning glow, and that is just perfect because it can get really hot here (you do not want to wake around with more than 20 kilos on your back!). A hostal was found easily and after refreshing ourselves, it was time to meet Raoul and Laura. What a warm welcome - how great seeing each other again! We had a kind of a breakfast together and than they explained us what our agenda would be during the next few days. Actually, they already made plans for us - everything was arranged. Haha, we did not know we booked a 'discover Piura' tour!

First, it is good to know that they are doing voluntary work. They are working with children from the poorest families in the slums around Piura. They are doing this with a private, not subsidized organisation, who, however is getting funded and supported by different European governments and companies. Further there are about 8-10 volunteers and trainees (i.e. Spanish trainees for future teaching positions).

After we walked around and explored the city centre for a while and had a delicious 'ceviche': marinated raw fish and seafood. We were told that during the afternoon we were going to visit one of the slums which is called "Los Angeles". Here we would visit a project for children were they learn in a playful setting about respect, playing together, reading and writing. It was impressive to see in what kind of circumstances they live and that playing with us is for them like a relief from the normal situation ..... it is hard to describe, they are so happy! They were all welcoming us with 'besos' and running towards us, having been looking forward all the time to this play-ish sessions. And after we played all together, the volunteers made a play they prepared - about values - and then the groups were separated according to the different ages.

We had to go after an hour and a half because it was getting dark. That is not the time when you should hang around in the slums normally. The men and youngsters are drinking and this can causes dangerous situations, especially for foreigners like us. Fortunately, close to the places of the families we played with we were safe, and together in a bigger group with one of them we were much safer, too. We arranged transport back to the city centre then and the whole group was splitting up. Right then it was only Raul, Laura and us. We shared dinner together and discussing the things we had seen and then those two brought us back to our hostel where we stayed for that night. Tomorrow we would move into their place: it is much more fun to stay there together and so we do!!

The second day, after we switched hostels to stay with Laura and Raul, we were invited for a baptism of one of the kids from the slum in the neighbourhood of Catacaos. During the day, we paid a visit to the centre of Catacaus, here the baptism would be at about 6 pm, walked around the local markets and the artesanias traders and watched the championsleague final.

At 6 we met the other volunteers and we were invited to the church were the kid would be baptised. After going to the church, we all (9 people) got into two taxis and were on our way to their house. Well house, it has indeed walls and a roof, but it is really poor. Nevertheless, they are again so happy and friendly that we are surprised by all kindness of the family. They shared their food and drinks with us, served us more than we could eat or drink and we danced together until it became late (around 9). Then there came the official, and most important part: they makes their vows to each other to watch the child and do as much as they an do for it and their future. And then, the hair is cut for the first time: different colours have been tight around it in selected parts and so it is an honour to the visitors to cut one part (and if you are kind you donate a number of soles for that honour: for that piece of hair, but that depends on the family) and give your blessings.

Time to go, as this is also an area which is dangerous at night. This time we had to share a fiat-panda taxi with 8 people inclusive the driver - at least until the highway so we could get another one! It just fit, and maybe this is an unofficial attempt to be in the Guiness-book-of-records! After 5 minutes through the slums, we reached the main road were we took 2 taxis all together, a little more comfortable! We reached home safely and we first treated ourselves to a beer (and ice cream for Maria) from the kiosk in front of our new home. What a contrast, but we are glad that we had the opportunity to visit these places with a really good organized company, and people around who knew what, when and where...! However, it is proved again that those who do not have much are happy to share with others.

Tomorrow we will head to the beach! Not the normal one but an untouhed, local beach. We're excited!
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