Number of People with Nothing Better to Do

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Site

On Thursday we all went our separate ways and headed off to our sites. My site is in the Province of Palpa in the Department of Ica. The trip south, we passed through chakras, (farms) and through the desert dunes with the sierra in the distance to the east. From the desert, we descended into a dry, colorful and rugged mountainous area that looks similar to the badlands of South Dakota. Under the watchful eye of the Cara del Inca (Face of the Inca), we wound our way down to the fertile river valley below where I’ll be living the next two years.

They say my town has about 3000 people in it but that might be the whole district that extends way up into the sierra to the next department. The town has dirt roads, a center square surrounded by the municipal building, the church and a couple of other institutions. I met the mayor of the town who greeted me with open arms and assured me that the town was bien tranquilo and that I shouldn’t have any problems there. It will be a little bit of an adjustment going from the 3rd largest city in the US with 4 million people to a tiny pueblo, but an adjustment I fully expected. They have a saying here in Peru, “Pueblo Chico. Infierno Grande” (Small town. Big Hell).

The first day I walked the town with El Alcalde (the Mayor) who introduced me to many of the leaders of the community. That night, I met a fellow trainee in the big city nearby (8,000 people) for a live interview at the local TV/radio station. My site mate did great and I did fine except I was chewing gum which made me look like a Bankok hooker with a funny lookin’ tic and a bad gringo accent.

My house has running water 24/7, a functional flush toilet and shower, and my room is fairly good size and secure. The only thing is it’s loud in the house by 5:30 am. Out back, just outside my window, there are two gamecocks and a couple of chickens. The cocks get to crowing at about 5am so the lady of the house gets up to feed them. The dog also goes out and starts yapping at the birds and the lady starts yelling at the dog. The house echoes with bulla (noise). Glad I’m a morning person.

Saturday, I took a road trip out to some of the outlying communities of my district. Five men were crammed into a little taxi (larger than a Minicooper, but not much). We bottomed out crossing a dry, rocky riverbed and sprung a leak of something. It was a hell of a walk away from anywhere but our able driver popped open the trunk, pulled out a pair of pliers and some bailing wire, backed the car up on a rock and climbed under to fix whatever was leaking. I’m not sure how you fix a leak with wire but he campo-ed (jury rigged) the shit out of it and we were on our way.


  1. Looks pretty cool there, you Bangkok hooker you.

  2. Any chance of getting some video of that interview? Anyway I just found out my fetus is a boy, I am putting the word on the street, any of my friends who dies a righteous death between now and April 3rd will get a kid named after him. While the odds are high that someone will die between now and then, in all likelihood it will not be righteous, it will probably be quite shameful.