Saturday, February 13, 2010

Peru Day 8: Massage is coming into play

When I originally looked for a volunteer abroad opportunity, I wanted to incorporate massage into it as much as possible. I knew this would not be easy because so many people really do not know how important massge is as THERAPY. 

For example, if you walk anywhere around the main square, you'll be offered massages at every corner. These seem legit enough and when I spoke to one of the girls who approached me she told me she went to school for MT (massage therapy) for 2 years. I plan to get one before I leave to report about it.

Unfortunately, because they're "peddling" this service on the street, it cheapens their work. And it cheapens my work. 

Jorgan didn't really understand what I did anymore than what he knew from the offers he's received in the square. So when he told me he was a guitarist, I pressed around on his upper back and chest (areas I knew would be tender based on how you hold a guitar) and he was shocked by how uncomfortable it was. So I simply began working on his hands. I spent about 5 minutes on each one, stretching the tissue and working the joints and when I was done, he spent the next few minutes looking at his hands in a little bit of awe. His description: "They feel so much lighter." I get that a lot.

The kids at the clinic are also starting to respond to my abilities, which is kind of interesting since I never really advertised my skills to them. One girl, Yesemnia, called me over to her bed at naptime and asked me to rub her head and her face. She calmed down quickly (they're all a bit hyper right before naptime) and asked me to rub her lower back. Yesemnia is not mentally handicapped, but she is physically. She can't walk without assistance, so she spends most of her time in chairs (I think she has a wheelchair but I've never seen her in it). Her lower back was tighter than any back I've ever felt, and it cramps up easily. The deeper I worked the greater relief she felt. I have a feeling her nap that day was a little more restful than it normally is.

Many of the kids have hand problems, ranging from mild cramps and pains to cerebral palsy. A couple of the girls asked me to work on their hands today (some of my favorite work) and they both expressed a kind of relief I hadn't seen before at the clinic. It was a good day of work.

Lunch at home was cream of asparagus soup and pasta with tuna, a dish my mother made frequently when I was a kid (a little differently here, of course). Because I devoured the soup, I was unable to eat much of the pasta dish, which was a real shame. I sometimes worry that Laura thinks I don't like her food sometimes, which is ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE, it's just that I'm a small meal kind of girl these days, so if she'd leave some leftovers in the fridge, I'd happily munch on them in an hour or two! (PS: that's NOT a hint for anyone to call her and tell her to do that, ok?)

My last Spanish "class" with Jorgan was today and we spent a lot if time sitting and talking (in Spanish) at a little square next to Hotel Monasterio, probably the most expensive hotel in Cusco. The square is very quiet and beautiful and the perfect setting for a last class. The weather was exceptional -- sunny and breezy, about 70 degrees, and a variety of clouds in the sky. We were on a bench in the shade (no more sunburns for me, thank you very much) and Jorgan asked me to describe the cloud formations in Spanish. I know more words in Spanish than I thought. Pretty cool.        

Dinner at home was a Peruvian speicialty, papas de huancayna. It's a potato cut in half and smothered in what clearly is a not-too-healthy sauce because it's so damn good. Laura said the sauce was made of mayonnaise, butter and a few other words that I missed. Mmmmmm....

The days have been longer than I expected, so it was early to bed for me. 

Tomorrow is Saturday, so I'm headed to the Sacred Valley with a friend, her brother and another friend, who is also a guide. Sweet!

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