In three days time we will be on a plane flying out of Peru. It is one year since we got here. A year feels like a long time at the start of it but at the end of it, it really doesn’t. Most of you would know that we had wanted to stay longer but for a number of reasons we decided not to. I am almost at peace about it. We have talked and prayed and thought a lot about it and we feel it is right but I am feeling pretty sad about saying goodbye to family and friends and this beautiful place. I am also still feeling pretty disappointed that we weren’t able to stay longer and I wasn’t able to achieve more in terms of the doula stuff and there is a bit of a sense of failure. However, I suppose two births aren’t so bad with the first man attending in Chulucanas hospital. Although, for me the most significant thing about the project was simply builidng relationships with women in the community and talking about their births and babies etc even if I wasn’t able to attend. Spending time with people and building relationships has probably being the most significant thing of the year in general. I love that I know Martin’s family really well now and thus know Martin better too. I don’t know if I did it that well but it has been a year of ‘being’ more than doing and that has lead to an immense amount of growth I think. Confronting myself and my failures has not been easy at all, at times excruciating, but I am hoping I am a better person for it. I also continue to be grateful for the fact it has allowed me to be more present to Nina at this crucial age.
Martin’s project went pretty well although there were some disappointments too. He only did two rounds of workshops as opposed to five which were planned. Even though they were well receieved and he was working with local associations who had requested them getting people to show up proved impossible in some areas. He used the time instead to begin a project with two schools. The public agricultural school and a private school. The kids learned about sustainability issues and how to make compost etc. They loved the practical aspect of it and another teacher will be continuing to make compost with them and selling it to raise money for the school. They have also formed an ecological brigade that picks up rubbish etc around town. Martin also did really well in his first semester of the masters and gave the results of the research project about making compost with the organic waste from the market to the municipality. An auntie who works there mentioned they were discussing it. Finally with the university professors he is hoping to continue to support agronomy students who wish to do their thesis in sustainability issues. For both of us the image of the seed continues to be helpful. We have planted a seed and who knows from here what will happen.
I am a little worried about Nina leaving here. She loves her life here and is totally adored by the family. She loves her cousins, her little school, her park and plaza and pool. She loves the constant parties and there are lots of food she likes that you can only get here. Not to mention she only really speaks Spanish. She seems to understand when I speak to her English but she won´t speak it unless I really ask her too and even then not always. I hope it won’t be too unsettling for her. She sure will miss this place and the relaxed lifestlye and all the people we have come to love I will too. Very much.
In saying that there are many things I am looking forward to about getting home. I can´t wait to see my own family and friends. Being away and immersed in another has made me more aware of how very blessed we are by my family and community and in the long term I think it is a healthier environment for Nina to grow up in. I am also looking forward to getting away from the machismo here and the daily frustrations of people not doing what they say they are going to do. I still love Peru but I think it is more the love of a long term relationship where you know the faults of a person, rather than that in love relationship in which everything about them is perfect. So as hard as it is for me to say this as I have saved for Peru, planned for Peru and dreamed about Peru for ten years this trip has shown both Martin and I that Australia is probably better for us all.
I do look forward to visiting Peru again though, probably many more times, and who knows maybe at some stage we will feel called to stay long term again but for now it is farewell to this place I cherish and hello again soon to Alice Springs hopefully for a very long time.
It’s 4am in the morning. This is the second time this week I have found myself up at this time. Mostly I can’t seem to stop things going round and round my head at this time of morning and tonight the discotech isn’t helping either. It’s very annoying. Although the other morning I did watch a lovely sunrise on the roof. As someone who is definitely not a morning person I hate to admit but sunrise really is a very special tome of day. The light, the noises of the world starting to stir and the sense of awe one feels for the creator. I was very struck by the miracle of it all and was reminded again that the light will always come and put out the darkness. Sunrise is a reminder that despite it all God keeps trying again with creation and with me. And I was thankful as I seem to be a lot lately for this grace.
This book is really a whole lot of short stories about Yunior, a Dominican migrant to the US. They are mostly about his affairs with different women but also about migration and his family, particularly his brother who dies of cancer. It is a very well written book, honest, descriptive. pretty funny while dealing with the tragedies of life and certainly rings true. I liked it. However, I did struggle to like any of the characters which for me makes it hard to really love a book and there were some pretty over the top, degrading descriptions of women and sex that I found a little hard to swallow.
I have been a bit of a mess this last week. Since the robbery I been really jumpy. People will often tap me on the shoulder or try to sel me something on the street and I practically jump out of my skin everytime. I am super sensitive to every look I get which makes me tense. I am even aware of looks between other people which I always end up thinking are about me. I just want to relax but can´t seem to.
Not to mention things I used to do on my own like go to Piura I don´t want to do anymore unless I am with Martin. I can wander busy streets in Chulu but if I am far from home I want someone with me and fairly soon I find myself needing to get home as all my hyper alertness makes going out tiring. It´s all very annoying.
The thing I hate most though is that I am not doing many things I love doing here because I can´t get it together. I don´t walk in the hills or anywhere alone. I am not going to the pool which is partly as my goggles were robbed but also because the idea of going there does not appeal at all.
I am told this is all very normal which is good to hear otherwise I think I would feel like I was losing my mind. I feel a bit silly as in the end nothing really happened but people, mostly my mum, keep telling me not to say that and not underestimate the fear I experienced. I hope I can get it together soon though so I can enjoy my last weeks here a bit more.
I figured since I was in Peru I should read a book by Peru´s nobel prizewinner and most famous author. Maertin can´t stand him and told me I would probably not enjoy his works either but I thought I should at least try. Martin was right I couldn´t stand it. This book is somewhat autobiographical. It tells the story of his relationship with an aunt, not blood aunt, she was ther sister of his uncle´s wife. It was so arrogant, sexist and classist. I acknowledge I am not Peruvian and there is a lot I don´t know about this country but I have spent almost three years here in the last ten years and there was nothing in his descriptions of Peru that rang particularly true for me. I think this will be my first and last one of his books.
I’ve made it. This is the last topic in my blog challenge that I started back in June. It was supposed to be one month, 31 days but it’s ended up been four and a half months, 141 days. That’s quite a lot longer although I think it’s still better than anyone else is doing on their challenges.
Anyway, Nina is going well. She’s pretty huge. I can’t believe how much has changed since we left. She walks, talks and doesn’t wear nappis. While we still have accidents every three or four days I am happy to say she’s toilet trained finally.
Her current loves are books (still), mangoes (lucky they’re only about 20c here), play school (thanks Jo), cooking (she loves making salads with me. She rips up the lettuce, puts in all the verges I cut up and tosses it), she even loves putting the rubbish away and the plates away after I have washed them. She really is very helpful. She still loves going out which we do a lot thankfully or she gets pretty cranky at home all day. She particularly loves the park and shoe shopping. Lucky as I feel like we have to buy new shoes all the time. She grows so fast and really wears them down. She loves to try different ones on and exclaims “que Bonita” to each one.
She’s very independent. She always wants to do everything “sola”. Get undressed, eat, wash her hands, climb the slippery dip. Sometimes I do worry.
We also seem to have come to the end of our dream run with sleep. Only occasionally now do we get a nap in. I still put her in her cot each afternoon but she rarely sleep so I get her up after 40 mins. Shes happy enough to just play with her soft toys and I figure it’s a bit of down time for us all but I do miss those over an hour sleeps.
Sorry no photos comp has died which is a bit stressful. It was old so it was coming and we have much of it on hard drive and the rest im sure we can get retrieved but I did want to make a few albums for people which I now can’t and three weeks without one at home sux. She’s still the cutest little girl ever but you’ll just have to take my word for it.
Novemebr 01st in Peru (and I think in the rest of Latin America) is the day of the dead. I know that sounds a bit morbid to our Western ears but I really love this day. Everyone goes to the grave yard and puts flowers and candles on the grave of their loved ones. It really is very beautiful seeing all the candles lit, although unfortunately tonight it was a little bit windy so it was hard to keep them lit for long. The streets around the grave yard also close and people put up stalls selling different types of food that are only available at this time of year as well as lots of trinkets. There really is lovely community feel as most people are there. Tonight as we we sat around the graves of Martin’s granparents different family members and friends past and stopped to chat for awhile. I think we need this tradition in Australia and other Western countries. Not only is is lovely but it may make us a bit more comfortable with death in general.