Saturday, June 26, 2010

Happy Winter Solstice

It has been a long but very productive time since I’ve last written. Life has been moving REALLY fast; it is hard to believe that I only have 5 more months as a PCV and only 5 more months with my town and family that I love here in Peru. Yikes.

The last few months I’ve been focusing on trash management here in Tomas. The biggest thing was to write a project for the annual (and mandatory) municipal participation budget. Every year local municipalities are required by law to spend about %60 percent of their budget on projects that community groups, members or organizations propose, for the benefit of the entire town. This is part of a national government initiative to de-centralize a government that has been run strictly from Lima for a few centuries. So, with my Community natural resource committee, we took advantage and propose the “Trash system implementation and management for the district of Tomas”. Our project was well received by the municipality as a project that generates work for a few community members and gives benefits to all. So, we were awarded the top priority project for 2011, and granted a budget of 92,000 soles, or about $30,000. This is a huge deal, and the PCV that replaces me here in Tomas is going to have a great start by working with this large fund strictly for waste management. It is also a huge development for the community, as they will have a fully funded, complete waste management program, helping public health and the environment.

We’ve also encouraged the municipality to fund the construction of a provisional micro landfill and hire a worker to collect trash twice a week. Constructing the provisional landfill is a great start, although it does not use technical, sanitary techniques such as a ventilation chimney and tubes to extract the liquid wastes. Therefore, it is essentially just a large hole were we’ll bury our garbage. But that is much better that directly throwing trash in the river or burning it. The landfill should be done today (I’ve been given the responsibility to oversee the digging) and on either Thursday or next Monday we’ll begin the collection. I’m terrified that something will go wrong or not work out, but that is part of the learning experience.

In other activities, my under 14-year-old soccer team (that I coach) had a little winning streak. We won the North Yauyos tournament (all local teams) then the Yauyos provincial tournament, against a much larger a better group of teams. Sadly, my boys lost the final in the all department tournament (equivalent to a state tournament), but it was a fun streak nonetheless. It will be nice now that we are done with soccer to get back to some more PC oriented activities, like finishing my world map and getting back to English club. Also, coaching 12, 13, and 14 year olds is often a test of my patience; so not coaching means a little less stress.

Like I said, life is moving really fast. I’m excited to see how much I can get done in my town as far as waste management goes and I’ll be soaking up as much of the Peruvian lifestyle as possible as my time here winds down.

And now, not the most interesting pictures, but something to look at for sure.

My Environmental Committee cleaning up our site for making compost.

Horseback riding, preparing to swim in the glacial fed lake down below.

My buddy Brad on his horse, looking like a pro (but really a first time rider).

Environmental PCVs at an abandoned village in Yauyos.

My U-14 soccer team, taking a march with all the other teams before the tournament started (this is one that we won).

A hike up to Lake Churup in Ancash, which is a glacial lake that we also swam in. This picture with my buddies from Yauyos, Mark and Brad, and Alex from Ancash.

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