Feliz Anos Nuevos!!! Sorry it has taken us so long to blog again! So much has happened and it has all been exhausted! New year's Eve was incredible. The Peruvians really know how to bring in the new year! We went to the town square to celebrate with them, bought some wonderful street vendor food, and ran around the square with the locals. I guess it is tradition once the clock strikes twelve to start running around on the streets in the town square. Great night. Once we get back, I (Sarah) can upload some videos from it and put them on facebook!
The next day, we went back to the Cusco airport and flew to Lima. Our flight changed from the morning, until one, but then the plane didn't show up for another hour. Finally when we arrived in Lima, we met Carlos Fernandez's brother, Juan Fernandez, and our taxi driver Richard. They brought us to our hostal, which is two blocks from the ocean! The boardwalk has a great view, and the weather is around 80 degrees and humid, but with a cool breeze (way better than Minnesota...I hear you are all getting a ton of snow currently or it is on its way?).
On the 2nd, we went on a run, to vivanda (grocery store), and to the mall. Juan Diego showed us around the central park, and we walked along the boardwalk all day. It was a pretty laid back day.
On the 3rd, we went to meet our first contact, Gladys. She is the lady who we were going to help renovate her house. Unfortunately, she already had it finished when we got there...so we realized that we now had nothing to do from the 8-13 of January. After meeting her, her nephew, Eric, took us to a nursing home where we played bingo with the old people. We also had to sing! I am sure we mutilated Jingle bells with our wonderful singing voices.
We met with our second contact, Gina, on Monday the 4th. Gina is the woman who works with the school of nursing here at the U. She is an incredible lady! She brought us to the slums of Lima, where we visited a school, and a girl's home, that her and her husband run that helps get these children off the streets and into a good education and a good university so that they can go back and support themselves and their families. The slums in Lima are huge...over 35,000 people lived in that area. People from the highlands move into the slums to try to find a better job in Lima then where they originally came from. Upon moving, the houses are made up of straw. As they continue to make more money, the houses turn to wood, and then eventually to cement and brick. Gina helped us think of potential projects such as working with the school to create a biology camp for the kids next year where we would teach them and show them interesting biology experiments.
On the 5th, we met back up with Gina early in the morning to help tear down a wooden shack in the slums so that they can rebuild it with cement and bricks. It was a great experience and we accomplished alot. I am surprised that I am not totally freaking out about all the bugs and...la cucarachas down here. There were two in our room last night (horrifying). Anyways, after we finished tearing the house down, we hurried back to our hostal to clean up for our meeting with Carmen Morales, a doctor here who is also affiliated with the school of nursing here. She gave us many ideas for contacts next year. There is the oncology hospital for children, an organization called "Learn With Me" where we could teach the sick children in the hospitals so that they can continue learning while in the hospital. There is another organization called "A Roof for My Country," where they build homes for families. Now, we just need to contact these places ourselves! We are also trying to get into contact with the Rotary here so that we can try to find a variety of projects, not just teaching projects.
Today, the 6th, we went with Eric (Gladys's nephew) to a children's home. Upon arriving, we realized it was Kids Alive International! One of the organizations we were trying to get into contact with. We met with many of the employees there, and they said we were welcome to come to the home throughout the rest of our stay in Lima (since our other project fell through, we would have nothing else to do, unless one of the organizations we contacted emailed us back). So, we are planning on going back tomorrow and the rest of our time here! Today was great though. The kids were so excited to see us. We played a great game of basketball, and then they drove us to the new home they were building for the children in the country. Kids Alive has been the highlight of our trip so far. We also learned that we could create a biology camp for them as well. Next week, they start summer school, and we might even host some "clinics." Since Ice can dance, we figured she can teach us ALL how to dance! Also, we hopefully will get to teach them some English (although many of them know a lot already).
That is it for now...sorry if this is poorly written, I am sunburnt and tired, so this may not be coherent.
Wishing it was summer in Minnesota,
Sarah and the BWB crew!