Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Peru Day 6: New friends, new foods

It's a beautiful day here, and I'm sorry to be rubbing it in to all of my snowbound amigos en Estados Unidos. It's about 70 degrees, the sun is out, and my SPF 90 sunblock is on. Simple breakfast of bread and a sinful caramel de leche spread that I can't get enough of (and Laura knows this so she puts it out at every breakfast.)

Being at the clinic gets better and better each day. There are a couple of kids I can't get enough of (Jonathan, Fior, Yesmenia) but I'm in love with all of them. I brought the packs of crayons that I purchased before coming to Peru (the staff was very appreciative) and throughout the morning I kept noticing things that the clinic desperately needs. So few of the kids are wearing clothes that fit them (it's all too big), most of their shoelaces are stripped, their toothbrushes are worn down and there aren't enough blankets to go around. It's a disturbing sight, especially since many families I know at home have more toys in their single house than this clinic has for all of its kids.

I am doing some massage on a few of the kids. Many of them are mentally ok but have physical issues (most can't walk without help). One girl asks for me to rub her lower back before naptime -- it's extremely tight and it seems like she feels relief (at least a little) after I work on it.

Lunch today was great. Soup, steak and (of course!) rice. When I told Laura I wanted to take pictures of the food since I've received a few requests, she made our lunch plates all pretty. We had a good laugh.

The weather changed again so quickly and right as I made it to class the skies opened and the rains came a-pouring down. Many of the rooftops are metal in the alleyways (where my school is) and the sound is deafening. 

The rain cleared quickly and Jorgan and I went out in Cusco again. Our conversations are getting better in Spanish, but I find myself getting lazy (for example, I pointed to a bench and called it el bencho). Whatever.

We got a little street food -- I really can't remember what it's called but it's meat on a stick with a potato at the end (I guess rice doesn't stay on the stick too well). We also got some tamales -- both sweet and savory. Mmmmm...

The interesting thing about all this good stuff is how close it is to the main square (or even in the square). I always feel like when I travel (at least in Europe) you have to dig deep to find those "special" places. In Cusco, they're right there, out in the open. The locals spend as much time in the main square as the tourists. Good restaurants are only a block or two away. It's kind of neat. 

Just as Jorgan and I were parting ways, I ran into some volunteers from the clinic who invited me out. Some of them have been in Cusco for a few weeks, others (like me) just a few days (I can't believe it's been less than a week -- I feel like I live here). Interesting people. We found a quiet bar (based on Jorgan's suggestion) and talked for about 4 hours. We all parted ways, looking forward to seeing each other the next day at the clinic.

Got home late and am off to bed. Good night.       


  1. Do they even make SPF 90?! Glad you are taking care of that skin now. :)

    Can we send some toothbrushes over with Mike?? Toothbrushes or toys or something? Will he be meeting you there? If you think this is a possibility, please tell us some of the most needed items that we could help with.

  2. Hi Claire!
    You most definitely can send over toothbrushes or whatever else you'd like. They need toys that make them think -- their favorite one is the game where you fit the right shape into the correctly shaped hole. I'll send you his email and you can coordinate! Thank you!!!