Feb 20, 2012
After our festivities and dancing attempts at the community centre, we headed off with our homestay families to settle into our homes, have supper and sleep.
That night Sarah, Kristie and I roomed together. Our Papi led us by flashlight down the hill toward the water, through slimy, muddy, narrow paths of dirt and tall grass. He was sure-footed as he’s done this route a million times, the three of us were a little more off-balance. Luckily no tumbles in the mud in the dark!
When we arrived at our house (about a 10-15 minute walk in the dark), we were shown to our room and were more than pleasantly surprised! A separate room on the house had three beds, was clean, had electricity AND had our very own attached, indoor bathroom with running water. All of a sudden I felt spoiled. I was truly expecting more basic conditions, especially after my adventure with the outhouse in the main square. (blog post called It’s a squatter! coming soon)
I was particularly happy to have a toilet … with a seat … as I hadn’t been feeling very well for the last part of the day. When you aren’t feeling well, the smallest comforts of home are the best.
We settled in and two of the kids came to hang out with us – Thalia and Gerwin. My Spanish is pretty limited, but we sat and talked about the basics of Spanish. She told us numbers and colors, as well as the names of her siblings and their ages.
Then it was time for supper in another room across a small courtyard in the centre of the buildings. We were seated on a bench at a small table. The table is small due to space in the kitchen, but also, generally these people are much smaller in stature than us. Women are only about 5 feet tall and the men are only about 5’6″ or so.
We had homemade quinoa soup, an andean stirfry with potatoes, carrots and fava beans and cinnamon and clove tea for supper. Tea is standard, it really is about the only thing they drink! You never have a glass of water, pop or even juice at meal time … just tea.
At supper time we also gave our family the produce that we had purchased at the market for them, which they were very appreciative of. For about $30 Soles (between three of us) we had purchased two plastic bags stuffed full of fruits and vegetables, plus a chunk of cheese.
After supper it was off to sleep for all of us, after getting cleaned up in our indoor bathroom! (I’m just a little excited about this!)
The next morning, we woke early and I headed out to take a few quick photos in the beautiful early morning sun.
Here is a picture of the home that we stayed in. Our room was toward the left hand side of the photo. The kitchen is the middle door you see on the right of the photo.
We went to the kitchen for breakfast where our Mami had made us potatoes, fried cheese (that we had brought with us), fried dough and tea. I think the eldest daughter helps out some in the kitchen as well, tending to the fire. Mostly though, she helped keep the youngest daughter, Deanna, entertained. There were other kids in the family as well, but for whatever reason we didn’t get to meet them. One of the other daughters peeked her head in for a quick moment, but she seemed shy and disappeared again quickly.
After we finished breakfast, Mami was still making the fried dough, so I asked if I could help. I sat down on the floor and started rolling and flattening the dough, just like she was. It was such a small thing, but I felt like I was making an effort to help and above all, I was really interested in helping. This is the way they do things on a regular basis and I wanted to be part of that.
After a few minutes, I got Sarah and Kristie to join in and help roll and flatten dough as well. All in all, it was a great experience.
After breakfast we packed up our things and walked down to the dock where our boat was. Our Mami and the youngest daughter, Deanna followed along with us to say goodbye.
At the dock we got to see our Papi (Wilbert) at work. There were men and women spread along the shoreline untangling fish from nets.
We also got to see lots of men and women heading out on their boats to do more fishing. The scenery was beautiful with the deep blue of the sky and the water and the low, early morning light.
Once all of our group had arrived, we sat around and chatted amongst ourselves and our families for a bit. I was sitting beside my homestay sister, Deanna when all of a sudden her lip pouted and the tears started to roll silently down her cheeks. I couldn’t imagine what had happened. She couldn’t have gotten hurt, she hadn’t moved even an inch and she was right there beside me. A few mintues later, her Mami calmed her down and the communicated to us that she was sad because we were leaving. Absolutely heartbreaking.
Luckily, Edward had also captured this lovely photo of Deanna and I before she started to cry, so I have both shots to remember her by!