Alicia: Crazy but today is actually only a month since we left home. Feels like ages tbh cos we've done so much. Over the past week and a half I feel like my Spanish has come on loads and that we've got to experience more of Peruvian life which is exactly why we came here.
Mike's last entry left off around last Sunday when Sandra bid farewell after 2 months here. Feels strange without her but we've definitely had to work harder language wise which has been a good thing. Working in the special needs school has been really rewarding and I've had some great sessions. It's been difficult trying to convince the students that we can be practicing functional tasks with the kids and not just doing the same stretches everyday. It definitely feels like here the physios aren't as autonomous and in this school particularly, the direction from initial assessments comes from the school doctor. Its so frustrating not being able to clinically reason fully with them because I just don't have the medical vocab. At break times I also get to help feed the kids which is lots of messy fun. Most of them need feeding but I've noticed some with potential to feed themselves more so my task for today is to find some beakers and adaptive cutlery on the cheap in town. Wish me luck.
At Makikita the after school club, Mike and I (mainly Mike to be fair) have been planning English lessons with the kids which has been fun but realise now how hard it is to control a group of 20 odd kids and keep them focused. Not easy at all but we've so far taught them colours, shapes, numbers and how to introduce themselves so they're set up for life now :P
Foods been a major mission everyday since we've been here. Last week we ate out pretty much every night (Mike: including one night where we treated ourselves to a mixed grill. It came out with beef heart, offal, liver, intestine, chicken and the odd sausage. It was not what I had in mind) until Friday where my curry cravings finally kicked in. After work I managed to navigate around the market, dictionary in hand like a proper Gringo, and purchase my curry supplies which ended up being gert lush (I won't mention that the pullao was more risotto like but I blame the rice :P)
On Saturday we did a tour around Huancayo visiting traditional textile merchants (sounds crap but was pretty interesting), a milk farm, a lovely lake, the infamous Trout Farm AGAIN, and a convent. Does not paint Huancayo in a good light seeing as these are it's highlights lol. Managed to buy some llama gifts and great ice cream from the farm where we were introduced to the cows personally (most of the peeps were from Lima so had not seen cows before!) and had a speedy ore powered boat trip around the lake. Ingenio the trout farm was where we finally tried PachaManca - meats, potato and corn cooked in the ground - for the first time. Was the driest meaty experience ever but made worse cos the tour guide gave us half an hour to order and eat up :S Next was the convent which was lovely and the museum had a huge room which had the history of Peru painted on the wall in a huge mural. Was pretty awesome and the highlight of the day but no photos allowed which sucked. In the evening we went out for some pisco sours at a touristy bar we'd not tried before and met a group of 10 other volunteers and had a good old boogie to the Peruvian band. The preferred dance of choice is the two step, generally with you in a circle. Reminds me of Goan dances. (Mike: after 3 litres of Pisco Sours between us, this was a dance even I could pull off with some conviction)
On Sunday we were due to go to a Pacha Manca fair out of town. Turns our the taxis wouldn't take us there so took us nearly an hour of walking in what felt like our hottest day here to get a bus. Now buses in Peru are not build for giants like Mike. They are mini buses with 10 seats so we had to stand and we counted over 30 of us squished in! Not comfortable at all but cost 1sole (30p) for 30 mins. Got there and realised they were attempting to break the record for the longest hulmita ( a sweetened corn mash cooked in the ground in maize leaves). We then stopped for some more Pacha Manca but by this point I was feeling sick from sun stroke so Mike selflessly polished both of ours off then we headed home early. The fair was pretty much like ours at home- stage with a band, lots of food stalls and games, and of course the traditional boxing ring in the centre with 10 year old fighting each other! All in all an odd day but an experience none the less.
Have decided to cut short our time in Huancayo to visit a bit more of Peru so next week will be our last. Will be sad to go but a couple of weeks of travelling before Ecuador and more volunteering will be a nice break :) Chau xxxx