No tears in my lentils this week.
One-sentence summary: Securing a socio (work partner) for IST (In-Service Training); losing said socio due to work changes; securing and subsequently losing a second back-up socio due to work changes; asking everyone I know if they can come, whether or not their work is relevant to my program; introducing myself and explaining Peace Corps to complete strangers and asking them if they know anyone who can go to a week-long training outside Lima in ten days; failing to bribe the PC medical team to schedule my week of bridge collapse doctor appointments during the week of IST; explaining to my PC program team why my socio information is late; being told by my PC program supervisor to “work faster”; and taking my new year’s resolution very seriously to not let any of these deadlines, demands, and eventualities spin me out of control.
Right Now: The kind of week where a site mate has to drag you to, and over, the finish line.
Expression of the Week: La Hora Peruana.
Translates to “the Peruvian hour” yet is a common colloquial reference to a set time or appointment being perceived as fluid, or a suggestion rather than an agreement. For example, in some instances inviting a Peruvian friend to have a drink at 8pm could really end up meaning 11-12pm. Or presenting a workshop at 5pm likely means participants will start trickling in and taking seats 1-2 hours after 5pm.
In the States, a cultural norm of being “on-time” may even mean being a little early to be ready to start on-time. For those tricky people it is also generally a form of respect. In Peru, time is valued differently. Culturally, more people live and operate in the moment, value being totally present, and set times for events and appointments are often a moving target. If my professors arrive to my class 1-2 hours later than I said we would start, it is not disrespect. Just means they were hanging out with someone more interesting than my riveting lecture on marketing channels. (That being said, when my host-sister says 1pm lunch, it is la hora en punto and I make sure I am present and ready by 12:55. #respect)
This week was just like Service Week One and starting all over in site again! (Can you hear the sarcastic enthusiasm in my punctation.) The first full work week of 2019 was largely waiting in lines to introduce myself to a new cast of municipality authorities, explaining what is Cuerpo de Paz to anyone who didn’t run away, and lightly describing (gesturing emphatically) CED goals (Peace Corp Peru’s acronym for the economic development program).
Hark and alas, it was not a week of all foibles and failures. Turns out wearing a cloak of socio-desperation gets you new friends and more work. I had several [that’s government report math for “more than one”] business owner meetings. With existing business owners who actually want to do stuff and things. And it was all in Spanish. [I know.] Also by teaming up with Site Mate B to tackle the new administrations, we are now designing, presenting, and implementing Google Drive to/for the UGEL (think Board of Education for the entire province/region) office of mas o menos 200 people in February. Insert: Theoretically.
I can’t exactly spin teaching Google product tools as a project meeting a CED goal, but it is an actual need in my community, requested by a socia (YES I asked her and and NO she can’t come) in an agency CED is committed to working with, and it certainly looks sexy in Spanish on my bi-monthly report addressed to that pesky economic development office and supervisors I couldn’t even locate this week.
Vamos a ver, amigos.
I made it through a whole post without mentioning it is monsoon-caliber rainy season and irregular service of city running water. Here is a soothing video of rain, not static. Try playing it for three months straight.
Leaderboard: Didn’t go after last week’s windfall. I hear there is a Yo-Yo or Slinky working its way around South America.
This is my “desk” in my room (also my bed) and my WONDERFUL 2019 Sierra Club Engagement Calendar that came in a few months ago from Juneau, Alaska, from my wicked smart and super talented PhD wildlife biologist NOLS-IC-surviving badass friend.
Hermana Jessica Rice, Cuerpo de Paz
Apartado NO. 120 SERPOST La Merced
La Merced, Chanchamayo, Junín, PERU
Please note: 1) This mailbox is two hours away 2) It costs a lot of money to send me stuff – (like $23.50 for one pound 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.