Monday, February 3, 2014

Volunteering, célula

Today I again went to the volunteer project in the little town.  I’m still not sure of its name, I forgot to ask.  The rocks for the floor of the kitchen and dining area hadn’t arrived on time, but that was fine since we had plenty to do today.  The ground of the floors was too high, so we had to lower it about 20 cm.  That’s a lot of dirt for the whole building.  So we attacked that task, scooping dirt out and hauling it away.  I was mostly involved with transportation, since moving the wheelbarrow tends to be everyone’s least favorite job and I enjoy it.  Especially when I flip it over to throw the dirt into the pile.  It’s good, hard work, dirt gets quite heavy.  I wasn’t doing things all the time today because I would have to wait.  I sometimes would get momentarily frustrated when other people would just be standing there with a shovel and not doing anything with it, but I knew it would be rude if I acted on it so I could start using their shovel.  It’s important for me to remember that I’m not just here for the task, I’m here for the people I work with as well.  We got done a little early, but not like last week so we didn’t adventure around the town.  Sunblock saved us from the pains of last week as well.

I waited around ProWorld for my Spanish class to start, since it wasn’t worth going home.  Half my time would have been travel time.  It was then that I listened to Switchfoot’s new album for the first time since it came out.  Wow.  I love that band so much.  If you haven’t listened to their songs on “Fading West,” stop reading this blog and look it up on Youtube. 

Spanish class was uneventful until Rodolfo´s student showed up at 5:30, while Rodolfo was thinking 6:30 since that’s when my session ended.  So his student Margo from France joined during my time.  It was different having 2 students instead of one, and her Spanish is more advanced than mine, but it was enjoyable.  Initially it was a little awkward knowing that she had a better understanding of what was going on so her answers were more sophisticated, but she was very kind and we got to talk a little bit when Rodolfo had to run downstairs to give his kid money for something.  She is getting a PhD from a University in France about the Andean agricultural system.  I do think that it’s a very unique place for agriculture up in the mountains so I’m sure it’s an interesting project. 

I stopped at the store on the way home because I needed to break a 50 in order to take a cab this evening.  The only thing I was sure I was getting was apples, since those sounded absolutely incredible to me.  The apples in the ProWorld office are Red Delicious, AKA Red Sawdust.  Blegh.  After putting 5 apples in a bag, I decided that I would look around for some kind of desert.  I love the fruit we get, but having a little something else in the evenings would be nice for me.  My first find was Pringles.  I know they are incredibly salty and unhealthy, but my longing for American food couldn’t hold back.  A few minutes later, I discovered the Oreo packets.  Mmmm, so great.  I didn’t realize how much I missed American foods until my eyes fixated on these treasures from back home.  I went to the checkout line, and the cashier was very confused that my apple bag didn’t have a weight written on it.  I had forgotten, at this store you have to weigh your produce at a certain station, then go to the cashier.  Oops.  A system I’m unfamiliar with, but it does allow the store to only need one scale instead of many. 

In the evening I went to a célula, which is the Spanish word for cell.  That’s what La Vid Church calls small group bible studies.  I arrived over an hour after the initial time when they were supposed to be meeting, but Carlos told me that would be fine.  I’m sure I made a great first impression.  Tania just washed all my clothes, so I had no jeans to wear.  This is what happens when you don’t have a drier.  It was also raining quite hard outside, so I wanted to wear my boots instead of shoes.  So I showed up with a rain jacket, shorts, and books.  Classy, I know.  Carlos directed the study more tightly than we do in InterVarsity, where everything is a discussion.  Here it was closer to a lecture.  He referred to me several times during the study, and I appreciated that.  I was very surprised by how much of his speech I understood, since he got going very fast at some points.  My language skills are improving!  I prefer a group of Peruvians to a group of gringos.  I did not come to Peru to practice my English, I came to practice Spanish.  If I found a group of gringos willing to speak in the more difficult language that would be better, but I still immensely enjoy getting to know Peruvian culture on an intimate level.

The trip home was quite the adventure.  Carlos offered to take myself and another guy to our respective homes, and I took him up on it. He has a motorcycle, not a car.  It felt absurd having so many people on one motorcycle, but it worked.  I doubt it’s legal, since they were always keeping eyes out for the police.  I was also glad I was wearing boots and shorts, since a lot of water was splashing up on my feet and legs.  Legs dry faster than pants do, and my running shoes would have never dried if they had been profoundly soaked on this trip.  

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