So 8 days ago I arrived in Tomas, Yauyos, Lima, Peru to begin my 2 years of service. Training is done, and i'm out on my own now. The transition was a little difficult, as expected, to leave my host family in Lima and the 47 other volunteers, but I can already tell that these next two years are going to be exciting and full of adventures.
In my first week i've milked a cow and made cheese, done surveys with community members about the community of Tomas, studied lots of Spanish (the first verb I learned was "abrigarse", which means to bundle up), I've met all the health post workers, painted my furniture, exercised twice, showered once (becuase it is too cold to shower, or sweat for that matter), and many other things that seem minor but have helped me to get to know my community. Each day I get closer with my family and friends and each day Tomas feels more and more like home (although not quite yet).
My typical day thus far entails waking up around 7:00 or 7:30. Everyone in the town normally gets up around 5:30, but as of now i still need at least 9 hours of sleep because of the altitude (12,000 ft). After taking my vitamin and daily banana, i eat breakfast with my family. Around 8:30 I either head out with my dad or counterpart to do random tasks, or I head to the plaza to chat with whoever I can find (there is always someone around). I eat lunch between 12:30 and 1:30. Sometimes I eat 2 lunches if I get invited to eat at someone elses house, which isn't normally a problem for me. In the afternoons I make sure to wash up a little bite, becuase the other times of day are too cold. I have different meetings with people in the afternoons, or sometimes I just talk with the kids and shop owners about the town and life in general. I sometimes play soccer in the evening before dinner, although the rainy season has started so games are much less frequent. It now rains pretty heavily each day, but we normally get a few hours of sun as well. My family and I have bread and tea around 7:00 and around 8:15 we eat dinner (rice, potatoes, and a variety of foods ranging from lentils to eggs to hot dogs). I read in the evenings and fall asleep around 10:00, to ensure that I have enough energy to do it all again.
Things are moving along well though, even though it often feels like I haven't done anything tangible during the day. My spanish is rapidly improving and i'm getting pretty well known in my community. I also have a lot of meetings set up for the next few weeks and there is a lot for me to look forward to. Tomas has a 4 day community festival from December 24-27 (for Christmas and the Saint Virgin de Carmen), so that should be a fun, nice distraction from being away from home on Christmas.
I'm enjoying my time and staying healthy, and the time is moving very fast. I feel so much more accustomed to my site that 8 days ago or my first visit here, it is incredible. I hope all is well at home and i'll try to get some picture up from my site. Happy Advent and Peace to all!