Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day Week in Caraz (Part one)

It has been a mellow, but interesting week for me. Not my typical Labor Day week/weekend where I shake off the shock that another school year has started, and that summer has pretty much come to an end. Honestly, it doesn't even feel like I've had a summer this year (Something I didn't realize until I met up with a fellow volunteer who just returned from a wedding at Holland Lake Lodge in Montana, meaning she drove by my cabin/family... I could still smell the pine trees on her). Anyway, today is a vacation day for us volunteers (Labor Day), and I needed to come to the capital city, so I figured it would be a good time to update the ol' blog.

Soccer Game:
Entertainment and sporting events are few and far between in Yurocoto, so when there was soccer tourney (winners taking 1,000 S/.) held in town on Sunday, it wasn't surprising that Dina loaded up the kids (Jeferson, Jordan, and Brice) and took them to the game (just like any other soccer mom, minus the mini-van that has multiple DVD players). The games were kinda boring, as most of the players weren't very good; however, the walk home proved to be pretty scenic.

The soccer field.

Dina holding Jordan, with Jefferson.

Walking home from the game.

Jefferson running out ahead of us. Nevada Santa Cruz to the upper left.

Nevada Santa Cruz as seen from Yurocoto.


Visit to Casha Pampa:
Monday was a free day from school because Tuesday was a holiday ("Santa Rosa de Lima Day"). So I "aprovechar-ed" (took advantage of) the day to visit the 2 volunteers closest to me (Ali and Sara Jane). Both are environment volunteers, and both have super cool, small town sites. Sara Jane's site is the entrance to the Santa Cruz Trek (a popular 3-7 day through hike among the nevadas of the Corridellera Blanca). She works with the National Park, and has her own forest!!! In reality, she's in charge of planting 500 trees each year, and working on improving the park's management. I didn't get to see her trees, but I have time. In her spare moments, she works with the park guards (trying to teach them English), and started the hobby of weather tracking. Her family is super nice, which I confirmed through the following tests:

1: They were cooking and needed firewood for the fire, so being the manly man I think I am, I took the axe from her mom, and offered the cut the piece of wood she has started on. Little did I realize that Peruvian axes are little more than a glorified sledge hammers, and that Sara Jane's mom made chopping wood look easy. My first swing the axe bounced off the wood, and the wood rolled down the hill into the ditch (making the firewood significantly harder to light). I promptly gave the axe back to Sara Jane mom, and walked off in shame.

2: At 4:00PM I began waiting for a cab back down to Yurocoto  (6S/.). At 5:30PM I felt like I was reliving the scene from the movie "The Jerk" where Steve Martin tries to hitch hike out of town to start his life in the real world. By 7:00 PM, I gave up all hope as every car I stopped was just heading to their home, no mas. 8:00 PM I found myself in Sara Jane's kitchen as they fed me, and we discussed the impending sleeping arrangements (Sara Jane was going to to sleep with her little host brother in his bed), luckily, a van drove by that was going to Caraz, and they were willing to take me with them. So I grunted and mumbled my thanks to the family, as ran out the door with my backpack.

Sara Jane's host mother preparing a cuy for lunch.

My first chop, and the start of the race to save the log from the ditch
Me proudly walking back with the log I saved from the ditch.

The sunset I caught while waiting for a cab.

The canyon over my head is the entrance to the park, and the start of the Santa Cruz trek.

To be continued...