Saturday, March 23, 2013

Yefer's Sueño (dream)

At 7 years old, Yeferson attacked Lima with remarkable spirit, vigor and resilience that can only be seen in my little host-brother. In fact, I have no doubt that if modern science could ever harness Yeferson's energy, I could sleep soundly at night not stressing about how to produce cold-fusion or solve global warming. However, since that feat has not been achieved, my last week was spent keeping both Yeferson and Lima safe during his blitzkreg on the nation's capital. Needless to say I was beat every night, and slept for a full day our first day back to Yuracoto.

This adventure was a reward for Yeferson's dedication to learning how to read during the summer vacation. Although, he's not yet the strongest reader ever, he displays the basic foundations needed to keep growing as a reader. Furthermore, he's begun to show a passion for school and learning, that I feel is will propel him to greater things in the future (also, noteworthy is how Roger and Dina are also now big proponents of Yeferson education); therefore, I had no problem treating the little guy to the closest thing to Disneyland a kid from the campo has here in Peru: Lima.

I took at outrageous amount of pictures and videos during the week; however, will only post the ones that are relevant to the week's timeline given in the this post. This is the whole trip as seen by the lens of my camera (If only I had a way to show you the trip through the eyes of Yeferson).
Here we go:

Sunday was spent "testing" Yeferson's reading abilities to see if he could go to Lima (horrible idea of mine... way too much stress for the little guy), slowing him down ("Yeferson, the bus doesn't leave for another 6 hours, stop asking us if we're leaving now...") and packing. 

Dina helping Yefer pack.

Then Sunday night, when Roger came home, the fun began. Cate and I did a quick interview with Yeferson, about what he thought Lima was like (see video below), and then Roger took a risk with his moto and drove us all to Caraz (Roger doesn't yet have a driver's license, or papers for his moto). In Caraz, Cate invited us all to dinner, then we said our good-byes in the bus station. Two things that struck me were: Yefer's composure (he acted like I did when I first moved out of the house to go to college... basking in his parent pride, trying to act twice his age, and attempting to hide his excitement); and Yordan's screams of confusion and sadness as Yeferson boarded the bus and headed off to Lima (his scream could've woken the drunks all the way back in my site).

L ro R: Cate, Dina, Yefer, and Roger Sunday night.

Dina, Roger, Yeferson, and myself. 

Yordi, not too sure what is going on. 

Dina getting a hug in before Yefer's departure. 
Cate and Yefer in the bus. 

Yeferson calling home, less than an hour after he left. 

We arrived in Lima, tired but ready for fun. Yeferson was introduced to Cate's family, who had bought him beach toys and 'tools' to welcome him to town (this was the start of the ridiculous amount of toys Yefer received from Cate's family during his stay... the black backpack in the pictures was PACKED with toys), and Yefer was shown around Cate's house, which would be his new home for the week. 

Yeferson tools were waiting for him on his bed. 

Yeferson meets Cate's dad (a hard-core surfer) meet. 

Yeferson gives his new bed two thumbs up. 

Yeferson the carpenter. 
After a quick nap from the bus trip, and a stroll through the mall near Cate's house (see video), we headed off to the zoo with Cate's parents and cousins, who were visiting from the States (they live in New Jersey).

The animated dinosaur was the highlight of the zoo for Yeferson (typical for any 7 year old) , while I'm always a sucker for the giraffes (it baffles me how their body work).  

L to R: Yeferson and a Monkey. 

Yeferson and I near the spectacled bears (which are native to the hills around Yuracoto).
Next day was a lot more tranquil for Yeferson. We went to the Peace Corps office (so I could show him off), met Cate at her work for lunch, got our hair cut, went to a 3D movie, and then did a little word hunt (searching for words in the mall Yefer could successfully read). 

I like this picture, as Jefferson and JFK are two of my favorite presidents. Also because, thanks to JFK helping start Peace Corps over 50 years ago, I was able to come to Peru and meet Yeferson.

Yeferson in front of a map of Peru at the office. He's pointing to his home department/state of Ancash. 

Yeferson in front of the University of Lima, one of the most expensive, private and prestigious universities in Peru. Unfortunately, they don't allow visitors (you have to pay a fee, which is enforced by "Mr. Cool" in the background of this shot), so Yeferson  was forced to pose outside the entrance (hard to impress young kid from the campo about higher education if he's only allowed to see the front gate) .

Lunch with Cate.
Cate and Yefer on the walk back to Cate's work.

Claudia, who claims to be 18 months pregnant, cutting Yeferson's hair.
The oldest Pachacamac boys with their new looks. 

The 3D movie. A first for both Yeferson and myself.

The movie critic walks away impressed. We saw "Tad, The Lost Explorer"... A cute movie about an archaeologist that goes on an adventure to Peru. youtube trailer in English

The following are a few of the words Yeferson was able to read in the mall after the movie. My favorite part of these pictures are the poses Yeferson strikes. You can can really see the confidence bubbling out of him:

The next day was the BIG one, Yefer got to see the ocean for the first time! After doing our daily routine of homework after breakfast, we rode the metro to the beach, ate lunch with Cate, and then returned home for a going away party for Cate's cousins as they headed back to the US.

Yeferson wearing a hat Cate's dad let him barrow at the metro station. 

Yefer at the front of the buss. 

Yeferson approves of the Metro. I swear I didn't know his hat was like that until later. 

Yeferson's first full sized train sighting in downtown Baranco. 

Heading down the bajada de flores to the ocean. 

Pacific ocean, met Yeferson. Yeferson, met the Pacific ocean. 

Yefer really was impressed with the "rio" (river).

Yeferson near an old police boat. 

Yefer's first time playing in the sand. 

Our first sand castle.

With the high tide taking away most of our beach options, we opted to swim in front of the National Police's beachfront station. 

Yefer striking his best surf pose.

Later that day we met up with Cate at her work. 

Yeferson and Cate helping the surf students. 

Yeferson looks at home running a surf school. 

For lunch, we ate roasted chicken at a restaurant on the beach. This was the first time Yeferson has ever had a kid's meal, so he was pumped when the food came with a toy. 

After lunch we showed Cate "her" castle. 

Cate teaching Yeferson how to misbehave. 

Later in the afternoon, Cate taught Yeferson how to surf (and may have frightened him).

Yeferson and I half way to Tahiti. 

Yeferson realized that he may prefer making sand fish in stead of surfing... keep in mind he doesn't know how to swim and this the 3rd time in his life he's been in water (my avid blog followers know the other two times, the river behind the house and the pool at the hot springs).

Yeferson and his sand fish. 

Typical 7 year old at the beach.

Don't tell Roger and Dina, but Yeferson lost a foot on this trip. 

Being buried was a highlight for Yefer. 

Cate helping me out but trying to drain Yeferson's energy. 

Yeferson writing things in the sand and letting the wave erase it. 

The playing never stopped. 

Yefer at sunset, still playing. 

Yefer and as the sun sets on Lima in the background. 

Model shot. 

The surf crew. 

Yeferson and the clown at the cousins' going away party.

Yeferson and Cate.
 The next day we slept in a bit and then went to the center of Lima. Not much to report for this day, but here are a few pictures.

Yeferson and a Lima fire truck. 

Every little boy loves fire trucks. 

Cate and Yeferson eating lunch and people watching. 

Story time with Cate in a bookstore at the mall. 

Ice cream stop while Brice searches for clips for the gym in Caraz.

We went to diner with Cate's family at a near-by chicken place. 

Yeferson eating with Cate's sobrinas (nieces) L to R: Kate, Yefer, and Valetina. 

The whole crew. 

Every night at 8:15ish we called home to talk to Roger and Dina.
 Yeferson's first time ever eating milk and cereal was a Kellogg's product (shout out to Uncle Pat and to Fruit Loops). In typical fashion when I get my hands on a box of cereal, I finished the box. Yeferson was both shocked and impressed when I poured a third bowl (don't judge me, I bought Caste's family a new box the next day... S/.16 =  worth it for me). 
The next day's big activity was going to the arcade. Nothing too crazy but definitely something the Y-man has never done before.

I bet Yefer neven knew about arcades before this trip.

Cate helping Yeferson ride his sport bike all over the island of Hawaii. 

With a little help, Yeferson got a decent score on the wack-a-mole. 

Cate trains the young ones how to be proficient future Lima road warriors. 
Our second to last day we went to the Port of Callao to see the ships and take a ride in a tour boat. Dina and Roger were impressed with these fotos and the fact that Yeferson didn't cry. In reality Yeferson was a super trooper all week. He ate all of his food and (almost) never cried. I was impressed.
Yeferson, Cate, and Adriana at the pier. 

Martin (Cate's uncle), Yeferson, Cate, Adriana (Cate's niece) and Brice. 

Cate and Yeferson watching the boats.

Yeferson and Cate.

We took a 1 hour tour (I'm singing the Gilligan's Island Theme as I write this) around the bay in a similar boat. 

We also tried fishing... however the chicken guts we were using didn't seem to be very appetizing to the fish (go figure).

The crew overlooking the ocean. 

At lunch, Yeferson impressed all by eating everything on his plate, including the seaweed. 

Sunset in Callao. 
The next, was our planned last-day. Lima had a 'revocatoria' where the citizens had to vote (voting is mandatory in Peru) to either keep, or kick-out, the mayor of Lima halfway through her term. Its crazy how much money was spent on this by both sides (rock concerts in the city, tv commercials every second, banners everywhere, and small airplanes flying overhead with trailing signs were norm for this  last month). Yeferson and I went to be non-political poll observers (also so we could ride the nearby electric train afterwards!!!).
Cate in line waiting to vote.

The electric train. 
Waiting for the return train after a quick 2 station ride. 
 To kill time before our bus was to leave, we went to a classic tourist attraction in Lima, el parque de las aguas (the fountain park). Yeferson enjoyed it, and both he and I left pretty wet.

Yeferson at the first fountain. 

I like this picture because Yeferson is running full speed to hug the tree. 

Yefer and I in a fountain. 

Yeferson in-front of an upside down house. Finally a house I wouldn't mind roofing (Jerry shout out).

I convinced Yefer that the water coming out was hot... typical big-brother BS. 

The sun setting over Lima.

Panoramic shot. 

The big fountain. 

Another panoramic shot. 

Cate and Yeferson taking in the big fountain. 


Dripping wet and happy. 

Cate and Yeferson attempt to cross a fountain.

This is the face of an excited and happy 7 year old. 

And that was our trip. After the water park, we returned to Cate's house, packed our bags and Yeferson and I headed to the bus station. I carried the bags, and Yeferson carried his prize possessions: his toys. We were ready to go home and see the family.

Yeferson waiting at the bus stop.

The last picture I took that night: Yeferson playing with his favorite new toy (shout out to Cate's aunt) in the buss station.
 That was the last shot I took, as the night ended badly. There was two buses headed to Ancash one at 10:00pm and another at 10:10pm. They called the first bus, but never called the second one. I didn't realize this until I saw the bus far in the back of the lot zip out the gate and pull away from the station. At that instant, Yeferson saw his big-brother, from a different mother, lose his cool. I can only imagine how scary it was for a 7 year new to the big city to see 'the Gringo' snap, start cussing in English, and race frantically from one bus company to another searching for a last minute bus to Ancash.

It make me sad to report that Yeferson cried that night (a couple a times) and would only talk to Cate when we returned to her house for one last day in Lima. I'm not sure 100% sure, but I imagine the combination of him thinking that it was the last bus 'ever' home, the disappointment that his little brother would have to wait another day to see the new toys, and seeing me snap was the cause of the tears (Dang, I wish I had that one back).

However, the next day was a new day, and we made the most of it. We got one last beach trip in with Cate!
Cate and Yeferson trying to learn to swim. A logical first step before step before surfing.
 The next day Cate made sure we got out of town without a hitch. We used the best, most reliable company; we got there with plenty of time; and she babysat us until we boarded the bus.

Cate and Yeferson in the last bus station. 

Yeferson and I heading home. 
The return home was great. Roger, Dina, and Yordi all seemed excited by Yeferson's return. Roger had a big hug waiting for him, Dina repeatedly stated that she missed him, and Yordan and Yeferson were both happy to be back together again (and as you already know, I was tired).