Service Week Twenty [No Salt in this Huayco]

Basically me on Friday.

One-sentence summary: An introduction to rainy season, huaycos, and the Peace Corps Peru emergency action system; traveling a total of 18 hours for a five-hour regional meeting; group hiking to the base of the Huaytapallana glacier to crawl-shuffle-arrest above 16,500ft; and fully embracing PC volunteer culture of borrowing a volunteer’s parent’s login password (*remember: I am no longer an adult*) to binge watch a trashy Netflix season and sleep-in on a Saturday morning without judgment.

Right Now: Hot water, Internet, no expectations, and a kitchen. I don’t want to leave.

Update: We left the AirBnb and made it back to site. It only took eight hours. Six of which were actually moving.

Expression of the Week: “Hay pase?” Is there a pass? (Asking local drivers if the road is cleared for auto passage.)

Also, “Please tell us there is a way to get through the massive landslide that happened this morning totally taking out the only road out of the region?” And “Are you lying to me right now?” And “Are you sure the road is open? Like sure enough to take my money and spend the next eight hours with me if you’re in fact not telling me the whole truth, just the future-truth?”

Miscommunication of the Week: Turns out, we weren’t supposed to pase. And by the time we arrived safe to our destination, the situation had escalated and we had regrettably worried a lot of staff whose jobs are to keep us safe. I learned a lot from this week’s experience and would have preferred to have stay put at this place (below) and not worry anyone.

View from an ecolodge in La Merced, Junín

Chau Week Twenty! It is already later than I like on a Sunday night but I have a pile of slowly uploading yet slowly fun pictures. So this week’s stubborn streak is a list, mostly visual and less the snarky prose.

Oh and it is too bad. There is bastante snarky prose to report.

  1. There are three ducks left at Funky Farm Sud. Perhaps sensing their demise, they are producing like crazy. I pulled out 49 eggs from the woodpile on Monday morning. My family “harvests” the ducks (that’s a euphemism for eat) at the edge of rainy season because “ducks like mud and pooping and nobody needs anymore of that.” Thanks Pauly. Plus, Jenny makes a mean Duck a l’Orange, or Pato a la Naranja. 
  2. The flowers around here are take-me-for-granted-level ridiculous. I don’t stop and smell the roses. I stop mid-sentence leaving a voice message and scream about how stupid showy cliché ginormous this rose grew up to be and promptly take a photo to prove it. It’s like you want to look around to see if you’re in loopy in love because these damn jungle flowers tricked you into feeling like you’ve fallen in love. Jerks. 
  3. When it isn’t raining, cloudy, misting, or being all three at once, we have 5am sunrises as audacious as the stinking jungle flowers.IMG_0728
  4. Did I mention enough times the rest of the country gets summer and we get Rainy Season? When it is wet, the caracols, centipedes and mushrooms start coming out in droves. [I just spent two minutes wondering if I made that word up in English.] This bug, for example, was me on Tuesday after eating some bad orange duck. Or maybe it was the 5lb bag of jelly beans you may have seen featured last week online. I didn’t like either the second round. IMG_0735
  5. Huaycos y derrumbes. “Huayco” is an Andean term for a mudslide or flash flood. Derrumbe means landslide. In Perú, especially during raining season, it is common to experience delays and accidents due to results of sudden and heavy rains. My site is in Pasco, a departemento north of Junín, and volunteers needed to travel to regional capitals for a thrice-annual regional meeting.
I stole this image from Facebook. There’s a video here.
Three gringas in the back of the mini-van in line to pase, sending 30-minute updates to everyone in a non-cell service zone. “Hay pase. But we’re in a line of traffic 8 hours long.”

On a good travel day, that’s about six hours from Oxapampa to Huancayo. This reunion took almost two days in round trip travel and resulted in activating the emergency action plan for our Peace Corps country. For those of us already underway and past a point of no return, we made it to Huancayo. Some of us even chose to attend the meeting on time out of respect for the group.IMG_0831 No salt in this huayco.

En-route to el Nevado Huaytapallana
  1. When traveling two days for a policy update meeting, it is important to secure an AirBnb with beds and rooms all to your very own self and a couple select casi-introverts. This also should include two bathrooms, hot water, Internet, Netflix, and cooking any damn food you want.

    Sam made Kraft Mac and Cheese and I introduced the room to pretzels and ranch. (H/t Chris Hatton, your wisdom keeps giving.)IMG_0887
  2. A group of sixteen volunteers hiked to a big-ass glacier. While many sources make up numbers, the base of Nevado Huantallyana is “mas de 5000m.” That’s around 16,500 and depending on who is writing the Google these days, may break the personal record I set for highest altitude in 2016. (Rainbow Mountain, Perú. 5300m)
The over optimistic and enthusiastic application of sunblock

This mountain is the source of Huancayo’s (the regional capital) water. It has also receded over fifty percent in the last twenty years and is illegal to touch.

IMG_0952The ten-mile, 3000ft gain hike was cold, rainy, sleeting, snowing, hailing, graupelling, foggy, misty, breezy and I had an umbrella, snacks, enough layers and

I was so stinking happy.

Why didn’t I ever bring umbrellas lightning rods on NOLS courses. Amazing.

Back to real life -wait is this my real life- tomorrow.c79bdf6c-605c-4b28-8672-24cb61886175

Vamos a ver, amigos.

A Parting Shot

After 4L of water, 10 miles at 16K, and 12 hours of Group-Amoeba

Mailing Address

Leaderboard: Nothing as of last Wednesday. But Peru 30 Youth Volunteers Briauna and Sam scored and shared!

IMG_0793 (1).jpgHermana Jessica Rice, Cuerpo de Paz

Apartado NO. 120 SERPOST La Merced

La Merced, Chanchamayo, Junín, PERU

m: 955895172

Please note: 1) This mailbox is two hours away 2) It costs a lot of money to send me stuff – (like $23 for $5 of candy) and only send through USPS to SERPOST 3) Keep packages under 1lb (or to not appear worth $100) or they get sent to Customs Jail in Lima. 4) Customs Jail is as arbitrary and random as my blog posts, so don’t send me anything that you’ll be sad goes missing. 5) The last numbers are my Peru cell phone and they will call me if it gets lost. Place them in the spot you would look if you were lost.

Those Port Townsend visitors are coming in FIFTEEN DAYS and their bags are closed for packing. Next time!


8 Replies to “Service Week Twenty [No Salt in this Huayco]”

  1. I learned umbrella in the “70s” prince William sound ak, can also be used to sail in kayak, indispensable for getting the fire going and looking jaunty on the beach.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad you got a fun getaway, even if you had to travel 8 hours past a landslide to do so! And I’m excited for you to get visitors and wish I was one of them!xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As you well know from your amazing bath, I located an amazing porch. To just stare. And not talk to anyone. It’s heaven. Thanks for reading along and leaving me these notes – miss you. xjo


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