21.09.2015 63 °F
HI guys! Tomorrow I hit my 3 week mark for my exchange! It's been an eventful 3 weeks and they have gone by fast, but I feel like I have been here for longer than that. My host family does such a good job of making me feel at home that it hasn't been hard for me to get acclimated and life in Lima feels normal for me and not so "exchange-y" most of the time. I would prefer to live like this than live like a tourist to be perfectly honest.
Today has been a slow and restful day. I had 100/101 (F) fever last night and this morning wasn't feeling so much better and so I stayed home from school. Mamí (my name for my host mom- for future reference) went out and bought me some medicine to reduce the fever and help with my congestion that I have. My nose has cleared up some and I can breathe a little bit better. Thank god for moms
I'm going to work backwards through the week while also glancing through my photos on my phone to remember what has happened since I last posted.
I'm under the impression that I contracted something yesterday while I was volunteering (which isn't really a bad thing). Early in the morning, Mamí and I left and joined some of the other Rotarians and exchange students from San Borja Sur Rotary (my club), to go volunteer in Ventanilla at a clinic. The clinic is free and prescribes free medicine for the patients and has about almost every kind of doctor there. It was a humbling experience and I feel grateful for the health care and general standards that I have at home in the US. For the exchange students that were interested, me being one of the interested, we were given the opportunity to shadow some of the doctors and be their assistants. I shadowed a medical intern. The entire time I was with her, we saw many people who were complaining of Tuberculosis-like symptoms and some other miscellaneous cases. The doctor was explaining to me that the water quality in the area that we were in was one of the worst in Lima and that it's not uncommon for a bunch of people to come in with the same illnesses or symptoms. She explained that all over the clinic, the majority of cases were directly linked back to the consumption of contaminated water. On that note, Rotary clubs all around the world are working to provide clean water to several countries around the world. Rotary has done an unspeakably amazing job on eradicating polio, and now that it's almost completely gone, their new project is providing clean, safe, and accessible water to people everywhere.
After the clinic, we were taken to a sort of orphange/foster home for girls. We were given a tour of the facility and it was damaged and run down in a lot of areas. A lot of the girls, we were told, were either orphans or were taken out of their homes because they were raped or abused by their families. The home works to provide these girls with an education and basic necessities as well as love. We spent some time there with the girls and a couple of the exchange students read to them and acted out the stories which the girls thoroughly enjoyed. One story that touched almost everyone was about one small girl who was in the home. She was found at age 3 and she could not walk or speak and was still in a diaper and in really unsafe conditions. A representative for the home found her and took her and now she has improved in communication and can walk. All the other girls look out for her and she was so sweet.
Every time someone takes a picture of me I look sad but I promise I am not!
Everyone who visited the home for the girls and the girls!
On Friday I proved to the History teacher that I actually know world history and got an A on a test that I just took without prior preparation. He was impressed and so was I. Some of the girls in my class were also very amused with my American calculator! I have a TI-84 calculator but its Pink and they were so amused by it.
On Thursday we had an earthquake drill at school (which scared me regardless if it was a drill or not). The previous day, Chile experienced a 8 point earthquake and since Peru is a bordering country, we had to practice the procedures we would take if it happened.
On Wednesday, I was allowed to miss school because I was the only exchange student "accepted" to attend some of the day's activities with the Rotary D4455 District Governor and his wife. Also in attendance were Henry and his wife Charo and Mamí. We started the day off at the military hospital in Lima where Rotary donated 20 wheelchairs to some of the patients in need. The patients were very appreciative of that. After the military hospital, we went to the police hospital and donated a couple of more wheelchairs and after that we had lunch at a country club. Later on at the Rotary meeting, the District Governor was in attendance and almost all the exchange students in Lima (or a big majority) attended and we were asked to wear our blazers. We were given this year's Rotary theme pins by Ana Cecila (the District Governer's wife). Earlier in the day when we were together, she gave me one because I presented her and her husband a pin from my club and one from my district. I also have a theme pin from my sponsoring club in Ohio, so I kind of have 3 of the same kind of pin- but they're all special in their own way (for the record).
The food I had for lunch
(Most all of San Borja Sur Rotary)
Last Sunday (13.Sept.2015), I went to Mistura with an exchange friend. It was a really crazy day. I said in my last post that I was going to Mistura the Saturday before, but with conflicting schedules and a last minute appearance at my school (which I will mention a little bit later in my post), it was better to go on Sunday which also happened to be the last day. Mamí had previously explained to me that calling 3-555-555 for a taxi is safer than pulling a taxi off the street. She has used it in the past for her previous exchange students when they needed to go somewhere and everything has been fine. On Sunday, when the taxi got to the house to pick Karolin and I up, the driver had asked my mom if I had the exact money (25 soles), for the ride, but what I understood was "Does she have money to pay for the ride?". I said yes because I did have money, but I only had 100s in soles and Karolin only had 50s. So we drove and finally got to Costa Verde and then we went to pay for the ride, and when I handed the driver the 100, he got so angry and he shoved it back to me and started yelling and hitting the steering wheel and punching the window and getting really aggressive, which is really scary for 2 underage exchange students who are without a native or without an English speaking driver. Listen, my Spanish is good, but it all kind of escaped when I thought I was going to die, to be honest. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but it was horrible. Karolin gave him her 50 and he found the change somehow to give us back, but short 5. So instead of paying 25 soles, we paid 30.
Anyway, we got out of the taxi, and got into Mistura after buying tickets and tried a couple of different foods. If you find yourself going to Mistura ever in your life, please please please take this advice: For every 2 people, get 1 plate! If you want to try a lot of different foods, this is the way to go, plus if the food is not your favorite, you're not wasting, and it's less expensive. Karolin and I had planned on being at Mistura for about 6 hours (10-4) but we ended up being there for 2. There was lot that didn't seem appealing to us and we were worn out after the taxi experience. We went to the mall after Mistura and got some things we needed for a project and I also bought "The Fault in our Stars" in Spanish to practice reading and expanding my vocabulary. But the title in Spanish translates to "Under the same star". I started reading it, but don't really know what's going on word for word, but I kind of remember the sequence of events from when I read the book in English.
Salchipapa y Inca Kola (MY FAVE DRINKKKK)
Be warned: This is not ice-cream. It's colored mash potatoes, drizzled in chocolate sauce, filled with chicken cream sauce. It's about as appetizing as it sounds (Hopefully not at all).
These are picarones. They're basically like funnel cake, but in circle form.
Me with a frozen chocolate ice-cream/bar thing on a stick
Last Saturday (12.Sept.2015), the exchange students at my school were asked to participate in the .... walking of the flags? We were asked to participate in "Talent Dance" which is a dane showcase for different groups and singles and grades at my school and features dances from many countries and genres. The talents were superb and I enjoyed it a lot. The ceremony opened with a march/walk of the flags of countries represented at my school. Stephen was already using The US flag that the school had, so I ended up using Australia. Close enough right?
Tomorrow (Tuesday Sept 22), my class in school has a field trip to a home/center for mentally disabled children. We are going to cook for them and some of the students in my class are going to perform.
1 thing I really like about Peru, is that there are so many opportunities to serve the people!
Until next time!