Well, the soccer tournament has officially ended...we didn´t win the championship but we did win 2 more games, including our final game which was a 3-0 blowout of the other team. We didn´t make the championship round but our team did win the ´Premio de Amistad´ or ´Friendship Award´, which is an award the tournament organizers designed specifically for our team. Everyone in the neighborhood that hosted the tournament enjoyed watching us play and it also turns out that every other team plays much, much dirtier than we do, so the award kind of makes sense...i guess. As a result of the award, we were given jerseys that look like the Peruvian national jerseys and they have the name of the neighborhood on the front, they are very cool. The awards were presented last night at the neighborhood´s anniversary festival, which included a stage, live music, dancing, a beer kiosk, and our captain was even called on stage to give an impromtu speech, which is not easy to do in Spanish in front of a large crowd.
The title of this post includes ´Riding the Combi´, so you may be wondering what that is. The combi is the name of the public transit in and around the Lima area. They are very small buses, with about 20 seats and a center aisle to stand in. There is a door on the side of the bus that is used, often to enter or exit while the bus is still moving. All the combis are privately owned so there isn´t a schedule, rather you just stand on the side of the major road and wave them down. This also means that it is in the best interest of the drivers to get to their destinations as fast as possible so they can get as many riders as possible. It is always an adventure, and you better hold on when staring or stopping. The price is negotiable, but there are "standard" prices for certain distances. Despite they common price, the door operaters frequently try to overcharge the gringos, so you have to be fierce. On one occasion I had to tell the door operator "I might be white, but i´m not dumb", and that seemed to work pretty well.
Since 17 volunteers live in the same neighborhood as me and we use the same Combi stop, we often end up going to class in small groups. This is especially exciting in the morning during the "bitch hour" (as it was described to me by a very old woman at my combi stop) because we Americans are significantly larger than a standard Peruvian.
Yep, all in a days work as a trainee here in Peru. I´m having a blast with the group and classes/training sessions are going well. We have our second language evaluation on Wednesday to re-determine our language level and classes. I love hearing from you all!