Although I feel very happy here in Chiclayo, as a Canadian, I can’t help but noticing (and commenting on the weather) and currently, I could not be happier with this winter weather: 22 degrees with bright blue, cloudless skies!
I am sitting in a sofa in the common room, upstairs,
with my host sister on another sofa and my host father in the arm chair reading, a triangle of people.
At 5:15pm the door to the small sun-soaked porch is wide open
and we take in the honking, siren and whistling sounds of both moto-taxis and taxis…
Yes, the taxis are as small as they look. Taking one costs between 3 and 5 Soles within Chiclayo.
I am getting used to taking a more economical form of transport:
“colectivos” (comparable to a shared taxi ride, for 1.20 Soles) and “convis” (vans, for 1.00 Sol)
…the sound of engines, and of tires as they roll over bumps in the pavement,
children’s laughter, boys taking turns counting to 20 as they play hide-and-go-seek
parents’ occasional scolding, conversations from the sidewalk below.
And the breeze rustling the leaves of the trees in the small park in front of my house.
La vista desde mi casa, desde la izquierda hasta la derecha (The view from my house, left to right):
Peruvian flags adorn most houses now. I was told that people have until tomorrow to display a flag on their house. If not they will be fined (how much, I have no idea). My host family says that all city districts require their residents to display flags, but that unlike this district, many will not actually fine people.
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As the days pass, the activities I have been doing both at the Centro Esperanza (CE) office and various sites where it offers programs (not to mention time spent with my lovely host family) are becoming a blur. For me, the work week ended at 9:30pm last night with a session for teenagers about 5 blocks away from my house, in the district of the city which borders mine. Only three out of eight youth arrived for the session (due to “Fiestas Patrias”, patriotic celebrations) and, so instead of discussing “la democracia y la ciudadanía” (democracy and civic responsibility/citizenship), they each introduced themselves to me. Then we discussed themes and workshops that the youth would enjoy in the months to come, as my partner Hardy and I need to starting planning them. Ideas suggested by the three enthusiastic attendees: art (especially making art out of recycled materials), music (especially composing music), English, the environment (including contamination), drama, human (and youth) rights and the use of social media.
[I just love the presence of family here; now in the common room we are six, with the addition of my host mother, her son and daughter-in-law. They just came from a wedding and are still in their formal black clothes. As it happens, my host mother and father are going to another wedding this evening. We are all chatting, so writing this entry just became more difficult as I divide my concentration between two conversations and two languages].
Since arriving last Thursday, I have had CE activities (for at least part of) every day; these include helping kids with math and Spanish homework at a homework help session, welcoming a group of volunteers from the Canadian NGO “Heart Links” to the CE office, translating several letters of gratitude from Spanish to English and helping at a music workshop, at which I will get to learn to play the Peruvian Pan flute, or Zampoña, alongside the kids I’ll be helping to teach (probably a good idea!).
I thought that today would be my first ‘day off’; however, while cooking lunch for my house family a few hours ago, I received a call from the office requesting that I translate several pages of CE inventory (stationary, food, household goods) for April, May and June. I was working on that for the last hour or so before beginning this blog entry, but it is time to finish it. I do enjoying translating, but I will be happy to finish it to get back to my “Fiestas Patrias” weekend 🙂