Wrapping Up the Road Trip: ¡Adios, Peru!

Well, it´s been a pretty long two weeks, but as always happens, the end sneaks up on ya and it´s hard to believe it is almost over!  Tomorrow we leave Huarmey for Lima on the 11 a.m. bus.  We get to the airport early, rent lockers for our bags, and then take off on a whirlwind shopping hour in a great marketplace in the Mira Flores neighborhood of Lima.  Back to the airport to check in and fly out at nearly midnight.  Red-eye flight puts us into Newark, NJ in the morning, where we go through customs and get on our flights home to Boston (and Chicago, for our student from another univ.)  Unless customs takes too long and then we miss our connection…. In which place, I guess we´ll be calling our rides. 🙂

Right now we are all trying to do inventory here in Huarmey to make sure we know what equipment we have in stock for the next group coming in June.  I have been going around town with M., buying bus tickets, arranging rides from the hotel to the bus station, etc.  Tonight we go to the beach for a short little R & R time together at the end of our time together. Therefore, this shall be my last post from Peru! (Though you can bet I´ll be writing more after I get back since I´ve been keeping notes on things to write about later.)

Our last jaunt up into the mountains was very interesting and quite a bit different from other valleys and mountain areas group 1 has visited so far.  The Culebras Valley, where we went the last two days, is agricultural (asparagus, avocado, mango) and very poor.  I got to see where group 2 and 3  had been staying in Laguna, and it was pretty basic.  No toilets, only an outhouse, limited water, very hot, rocky and dusty.  Looked pretty uncomfortable, but the folks who had been there for a week were in good spirits.

We mixed up the groups a little for this last part of the trip.  I left M and JK and joined the other Peruvian Grad student, R, and one of his undergrads, K.  A different undergrad, S., and the history prof. joined JK and M. They went up to Raypa to move the radio from the old to the new posta there.  We stayed in Quian at the posta there.  Interesting dining place there … a private person´s kitchen hut with kitchen on one side and dining room on the other.  They serve food to the miners (for gold) in the area and to gringos passing through!  The food is pretty good.  David, the Quian Posta staffer used to own a restaurant and loves to cook.  The kitchen is pretty filthy, though.  And then there´s the constant squealing of the cuy (i.e., guinea pigs) who scamper around in the kitchen.  There are maybe forty that live there.  Oh, and the chickens that sometimes jump on the table.  And let´s not forget the flea-bitten dogs that sleep and/or beg under the table.  I think that´s it, but maybe I´ve forgotten another critter that I can edit in later 🙂

The night we stayed in Quian, R and KO and I went door to door to get the community excited about building a fence around the biodigestor.  R was a good ambassador for the project.  In our company was the mover and shaker of the village, Paco (aka Paquito).  I kept thinking that this is like a barn-raising.  Every family contributes some labor and/or materials.  Only we were doing a fence-raising! the fence was necessary, by the way, because the kids have been playing on the biodigestor (which was not yet operational at that time).  The structure is very large and made of metal and cement (whereas the biodigestor made by the undergads in Laguna is smaller and cheaper to construct, made of flexible plastic in an adobe-lined trench, etc.)  Anyway, it seems like the kids are always using our projects as jungle-gyms.  I can´t blame them, but yikes!  In the case of Quian, it was clear that we needed to keep the kids out now because it will be operational and will thus be producing methane gase!

So, after our door-to-door beggin, the next morning, by golly, those folks came to the site and poles appeared and we constructed a beautiful chain-link fence around the biodigestor.  Then they started on building the roof and were continuing to finish the project when KO and I left that afternoon.  R. stayed on to see it to completion.  Good guy.  We call R the ¨Energizer Bunny¨ because he is always going, going.  Thank goodness we have folks like that on the trip.

We completed a number of projects along the road back to Huarmey, arrived right before 9 p.m. last night at Hotel Paraiso again.  I´m tuckered out but feel good.  Think I´ll wrap up the wrap up with a couple of random thoughts and observations….

This morning at breakfast JK and I were at the Jugeria (juice bar) and all of a sudden we hear the theme song from Bonanza coming from the stall behind us, where they had a television on.  I went over and watched for a minute.  It was the episode when the bad guys break some poor guy´s guitar.  Hos and bros. make the bad guys pay money to buy a new guitar.  ¨¿Es todo?¨says Hos.  ¨Si, Hos,¨ says the sullen bad guy who had just flung some money into Hos´s hat.  Somehow that show worked just fine for me in Spanish.

While waiting for JK and M to finish the very last install in the very last village (Quiapampa), history prof, KO, and S started a pick up game of volleyball with some local kids.  It was  sheer delight to watch.  Those little Peruvian girls are REALLY good players!  It´s so terrific that my son´s school was able to donate balls to so many villages.  They really appreciated the gift, I know.

A couple of days ago, we stopped in the posta at a little town on the way into the Culebra valley, Molino.  After checking to make sure all is well, we intereviewed Anna, the worker there, about how the radios have helped save lives.  She gave us a lot of terrific stories, all on tape, thank goodness!  Then I gave her my volleyball kit and my little speech that I always say.  Muchas gracias.  De Nada.  Then right before I left, she tugged on my hand and put a bracelet on my wrist, a gift of thanks.  Makes me choke up just thinking of it.

I am so grateful to have been able to come on this trip.  What a privilege to be here and to be made so welcome.  And now, adios, Peru.  Whether it be hasta luego (see you later) or hasta nunca (see you never more), I hold in my heart all you gave me. 



2 Responses

  1. I’m sure you will miss it there but will be happy to be home. I pray you have a safe trip home. We will be happy to have you have you back in the States 🙂

  2. Home safe and sound. Trying to catch up on sleep, cleanliness, and food! Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to blog later on.

    THANKS, strugglingwriter, for still coming to my site while I was out of the country. It always made me smile to see your comments and to think somebody was still listening. You are a trooper! I look forward to checking out what you’ve been up to now that I’m back 🙂

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