Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Hello all,
I hope Easter or Passover was great for everyone last weekend. It was strange to be away from family during a holiday but I still bought chocolate eggs so i guess if i couldn`t have the company i had the calories. We watched the huge processions in town which were interesting. A lot of the older generation still practices self-flagilation and it was hard to see them going up and down the streets. Because of Good Friday the schools had thursday and friday off so i went to work at the elderly home for a couple days. It was wonderful and the people are so lovely. Thursday I went to their homes with some of the other volunteers for some who can`t make it to the actual elderly center. It was definently enlightening to see how people really live in Villa, most have one room and a tin roof that barely covers half the room, luckily it never rains in Lima so its pretty functional. I realized half way through the home visits that my Spanish was really not that bad they just couldn`t understand me because they speak Quechuan, the native language of Peru. Tony the manager of the elderly home was quite amused watching me try and understand what i thought was spanish, oh i really thought i was going insane.
Speaking of language difficulties we have a woman in the house now that is completely deaf and mute. I am slowly regaining what sign language i knew and it is hilarious to watch us because for some reason when i sign i feel compelled to speak spanish to her, doesnt make any sense but there you go. For a joke when i was trying to translate a conversation for her from Spanish to English to Sign she responded in Spanish sign, so again i was totally lost and had for the most part way too many languages in my head. Well ill come back barely able to speak English, it`s quite clear i can`t write any more.
The kids were monsters today, so nothing unusual and they are all great. Trying to teach them colors and shapes, working on red tomorrow so making progress.
Will hopefully write sooner,
See you soon

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Nothing like getting yelled at over a blog (Emma)! And Kate i just recieved your letter today, I was so so excited. Loved the pictures by the way and a letter for you should be arriving soon!
Well, havn´t written in a bit because i was in Huacachina and Nazca. Had the most incredibly fun time with Jade and David, (housemates). Huacachina is literally an oasis in the middle of the Peruvian desert, and surrounding it is these amazing sand dunes. We went sand duning and sand boarding, yes going down 100 foot dunes on a snowboard is the funnest thing i have ever done in my life! Really, if anyone comes to Peru, forget Machu Picchu, go sand duning, it is pure fun. Then the Nazca lines were next and we flew over them in a 4 passanger plane. The lines are supposedly 1000´s of years old and they are in shapes of animals and figures, they were quite amazing. Got air sick though, i swear the pilot did 360´s for 90% of the time.
It was actually interesting going with David because no other man would talk to either me or Jade. I went to check into the hotel with my passport and money and literally the owner asked me ¨where was my husband, I would rather speak to him on money issues.¨ Needless to say I would not leave and he had to deal with the disabled woman who has absolutly no idea what money is. That was better than a man asking Jade if she knew how to use the bloody key to our door.
Anyway, I realized that i havn´t written much about the kids in my class so i´ll go through quick intros..

Joshebeth- She is 5 years old with Downs and she is the most darling creature i know. Again like Sharri-Ann,she defies the stereotype of Downs in that she is a spitfire and refuses to do anything you tell her. Love her dearly nonetheless. >Her mother is very very young, I believe 20 and she has two more toddlers, but she is very loving and manages to do everything. Quite amazing.
Michel- Love him to death, he has a fixation with hair and if i let him he would bury his face in my hair all day long. Very cute, 6 years old with Downs. His mother is very very sweet and he loves Madonna.
Melany- She is 8 years old and i think she has autism. She is very difficult but as i realized she loves hugs and she will cooperate quite well given a gentler voice. Though i think she is being sexually abused, and that is where the behavioral problems stem from. Loves to have her hair done and loves James Blunt, like everyone else in South America!
Mario_ I have to say that i dont really think Mario has a disability other than not being able to speak and having ADD. He is very sweet when he actually sits down and very helpful if you give him direction. His father is great and he really cares about Mario, the only father in fact that i have met.
Mauro- Mauro to be quite honest is a kid that could warn me off ever having kids. He has severe austism but besides that he is spoiled to no end. At lunch he reminds me of Helen Keller with his sampling of every kids food. Though i have found Damien Rice puts him in a sort of a coma, it´s very strange but it works.
Roland- Another 5 year old with Downs who is very sweet but his mother is insane. She came in the other day yelling at Leslie (the teacher) and me for letting the other kids pull his hair. Seriously, he is in a class of 5 to 6 year olds, they are not going to sit quietly.
Well, there are a few others who either don´t come to school or who i really can´t write about but that is my lovely little class.
I really am starting to grow quite fond of them all. David thout i was insane this weekend when i wanted to get back early to see them.
All well,
Love all of you and can´t wait to see you all

Monday, April 03, 2006

As Emma has so kindly reminded me that in 26 days i am back home, seems almost sereal and to be honest i am not quite sure if i am ready to come home! I miss you all so much but it seems i have so much more to explore! Like possibly Chile, Brazil Argentina entire South America perhaps? But i´m sure after this month i will be ready, i do hope!
Got the scare of my life today, you know how i was bitten last thursday, well as my Mum reminded me HIV is very prevelant in the poorer communities here, so when i thought about it it threw me for a loop. I asked the Lima staff if they would tell the volunteers if the people we worked with had AIDS and they said no, mostly due to privacy but also just not knowing. So talking with the teacher today she said fortunently the boy who bit me doesn´t have it but a girl in my class does. I never quite realized the incredible seriousness of being so close to HIV, and it really really scared me shitless to think i could of contracted it. Anyway being 1000 times more careful i had a good day at work. we are doing handprints with paint on the walls, just for decoration. One poor little girl was so sick so she was held all day but the others still run around like banshees. Brought in music as well, hoping Jack Johnson or Damien Rice would slow them down. Actually worked brilliant for some of the Autistic kids, they just sat in front of the player ripping paper, it was WONDERFUL!
Going to the Nazca lines and Huacachina this weekend with David and Jade, we are actually renting out the Matromonial suite because it´s the only room on ground level so we are going to be looked at pretty strangly. Being that there is three of us and Jade and i are disabled, going to look like David has a fetish or somthing! :P
Anyway i´m getting closer with the people i live with and Jade and i are getting along well. I had to come to understand that she is dealing with what i see as far tougher and different issues with her disability than I am. She has a degenerative disease so no matter what she knows she will not get better and plus she was completely normal until age 11, so that by itself is tough enough. So anyway because she has a manual and cannot push it herself she holds onto the back of my chair when we go out. As she as ever so delicatly put it we are ¨Crips on Parade¨. She was so embarrassed at first but like i told her we are in wheelchairs already plus we are gringos, so no matter where we go we are stared at. So who the hell cares?
Love you all and hope all is well!