Me arriving to the Peru capital:
One-sentence summary: The joy of successfully working with business clients in Spanish; traveling to Lima for a few days of physical therapy and Introvert-care before a high-octane social PC training week (IST); and creating enough time and space to reflect, process, and [maybe even] enjoy [?] how far I have come.
Right Now: Writing my weekly blog from a window seat porch with real coffee.
Expression of the Week: “Tiene hijos?” Before asking my name or where I am from the standard question from every taxi driver is how many kids I have. Then if I have a boyfriend.
I am happy to report Week Thirty-Two was a good one.
Two of my 2019 goals are to not get spun-out by program bureaucracy and prioritizing/ practicing self-kindness in the way I can do for my friends. So over New Years I booked an AirBnB stay as an early birthday gift to myself. Goal achieved twice: To fill up my cup before the full-contact social energy engagement of a six-day, 12-hour training course with socios.
Because of my pending departure from Oxapampa, work opportunities and socio response ramped up at-site. It was not a surprise yet still hard to leave the embrace of potential projects and the kind clutch of my host family.
One of the the three metas (goals) of the CED program (economic development) is to work with business owners to improve community livelihood. Oxapampa business owners Camilo & Vanessa reached out to me to help them design a work plan for their tourism agency, Camilo Tours.
Camilo Tours is the first tour agency in Oxapampa, in service for over 16 years. They are a well established and profitable business with a solid reputation for the best in quality guided programming. Additionally the owners are smart, talented and motivated. However, our Peace Corps training focuses more on remote and rural sites in extreme poverty. Suddenly I have an advanced business client and community leader and I am winging it all in Spanish? Okay then.
I modified a basic business program template to address their needs and develop rapport. So far, after eight hours of meetings, we have established vision, mission, and tenable goals and action items for year end. I am trying to reconcile strategic planning in English with work plan templates in remedial Spanish. And instead of my more comfortable U.S. medium of using online business tools our work has been more active visual programming through post-it notes, markers, and papelotes. And they did all this work graciously with the crutch of my language.
I walked out of every meeting exhausted. Happy. Grateful. When did I become and adult and could help support clients with these nuanced complexities? Also when the hell did I figure out how to do that in another language?
Mind-blown I am doing something. In a work culture (CED) and social culture (U.S.) where the focus is all the ways we are falta, (missing something) I am claiming my win. I guess this is the part of service they call the “breakthrough.”
On Wednesday night I took a bus to Lima: that in itself should be a gold-star level service goal achievement. To travel from my service site of Oxapampa to Peru’s capital of Lima you can take a bus (10-12 hours) or hop cars (6-8 hours). It costs 120 soles – about $40USD.
I was lucky. I got to Lima on a coach bus seat with a 180-degree recline and pirated movies in only 12 hours during National Weather Service warning conditions. Upon my arrival to the terminal, both my cell service and personal Internet device malfunctioned. I had no access to my contacts, AirBnB hosts, addresses, or maps to find where to fix my broken phone. Taxi drivers were sharks smelling blood for my extranjero appearance, big bag, bewildered look, and embarrassed Spanish.
I took a deep breath and paced myself step-by-step. I asked for help. It took a few hours longer than usual, but I made it “home” and was ready in time for my physical therapy appointment with a provider named Cynthia.
I have physical therapy clients and friends but I have never been a patient.
In Spanish: What happened? How are you feeling? When was the accident?
In Jess: I am totally fine. I was in a bridge collapse in November. I can do push-ups and burpees again this month. I probably don’t even need to be here. Also you should know I like being of-service to other people and this is really hard for me to receive help. (Basically I used the treatment table like a therapist couch.)
Therapist: Worked on me for 45-minutes breaking down muscle tension and spasm grip with various instruments and wands and X-Men Magnito devices and I can barely type. Two days later.
As of today, I have had three physical therapy appointments, got to catch up with some of you on the phone real-time (HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUSIE), had actual running hot water 24/7, explored parts of the city, read my book, watched the 2018 version of “A Star is Born” three times, and survived my first Birkram Yoga (hot yoga at 100 degrees) class, in Spanish.
I head to Chosica for IST this afternoon. I feel ready and newly fortified for whatever comes this week.
Vamos a ver, amigos.
During rainy season in Oxapampa these beetles are out and about, often capsized. They are the size of a soap bar and are called toritos – little bulls.
Leaderboard: I have not been to SerPost since January 2nd.
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.