So February has past and as of March 2nd I've completed 3 whole months of living in Tomas. The time is going fast. It hasn't always been easy but each day is better and I really enjoy the People of Tomas. Work is getting underway, with projects that even include making a school used micro-landfill and starting the collection of recyclables on the school level. People are back in Tomas after the 2 1/2 months in either Lima, Huancayo, or at their farms at the higher altitudes. Tomas has a very different feel now with so many more people, but that is a welcomed change.
On February 27th I went to my first wedding in Tomas. It was a civil union, meaning there was no church, priest, or even much of a ceremony. The ceremony was held in the upper level of the municipality building. After a 2 minute talk by a member of the municipality and another 2 minutes of vows, we had a toast and the celebration began.
We began by toasting with wine; very very sweet, sugary wine (a Peruvian favorite, although i have a different opinion). After/during this toasting all of the parents, godparents, and local authorities said a few words about the couple. We then ate Pachamanca, which consists of meat (in Tomas almost always alpaca), potatoes, sweet potatoes, avas (a large bean in a pod) sometimes corn, cheese, and a dipping sauce for the potatoes. Which traditionally is wrapped in a bunch of flavorful herbs and placed on top of hot rocks, then covered with dirt for a few hours to cook. This underground style of cooking is very traditional in Peru and is often used for special occasions. (More often, a large pot is used but all the same ingredients are cooked, but it's much easier than cooking underground). It's a very delicious meal and i highly recommend it when you visit Peru.
After eating we began the dancing and passing the beer bottles and common cup. We danced to Cumbia, and of course, whino (a very typical style of music in Yauyos, that involves everyone holding hands and dancing in a circle). The evening was quite fun and as I left at 1:00 a.m. people were a little confused why I wanted to leave so early. Peruvian parties often go all night...literally.
It was a good experience and a great change of pace from my normal friday night in Tomas (going to bed early after reading for a few hours!)
To view pictures visit: http://picasaweb.google.com/JBrandell/AWeddingInTomas
Things are going well, peace and happy Lent.