What a whirlwind this has been! I even have a new name as Lacie was just a little too difficult to say and remember. They call me Lucía. It seems that my days are either so stuffed that I run from one place to another or I sit around all day with nothing to do! As I mentioned in my previous post I am now living with my host family. Pelau (the father), Sucora (the mother), Anabel (the 14 year old), and Rafaela (the 2 year old) have all welcomed me into their home in their own special ways. They live in a very simple house. It is essentially has one main room with a table on the right, the TV in the middle of the room, and their beds are on the left side of the room hidden by hanging bed sheets. The back of the house is covered by a roof but is essentially open to the outside so the pigs, ducks, and dogs all roam about back there. Both the bathroom and my room are each in a corner of the backyard. One of the first things that Pelau said to me was, “We are poor, we do not have much, but what we have is now also yours. You are family.” I told him that it was perfect and that my grandfather always told us, “Your wealth is in your children.”
The first day that I got there was the grandmother’s (who lives next door) birthday so we went over to pass around a bottle of beer. This is how they drink in Chulucanas:
1. You are passed the bottle and cup.
2. You pour as much as you want into the cup and pass the bottle to the next person.
3. You drink it, shake out what’s left onto the floor then pass the cup to the next person.
It sounds weird, but that’s what they do here! Rafaela’s personality really shone through when her mother dropped some money on the floor and she ran over to it, picked it up and yelled, “¡a comprar!” which basically means, “I’m going shopping!” She has a fairly extensive vocabulary for a two year-old and even yells “¡Callate!” (Shut up!) and “¡Largate!” (Go away!) when she’s unhappy. She’s cute.
Last Saturday the two girls and I went with their cousin to their grandfather’s mango chakra, or farm. It was neat to get out of the city and to see a little bit of the country. Also, mangoes are SO delicious here. Sunday morning Pelau and I went to church together at San Jose Obrero (the Augustinian church) and I could actually understand a lot of what was going on as it is not a large building. Monday Pelau and Anabel offered to walk us up a nearby hill to get a great view over all of Chulucanas. The hike was fun and the view amazing! On Wednesday Pelau invited me to go to Piura (a nearby city) with him. We went to a lumberyard to get wood for his next big project; he is a carpenter and specializes in building furniture for people. It was neat to see him at work and so happy to be there! On our way home, perched on top of piles of wood strapped to a tiny little moto, he asked me, “Are you happy Lucía?” I responded that I was and asked him the same to which he replied, “I am, I am happy to have a job.” Going anywhere with Pelau is hilarious as he seems to know everyone. He always waves or yells some joke to people as we pass.
Yesterday Anabel and I went to the community pool with Britt and her two host siblings. Apparently women in Chulucanas do not wear bathing suits so we awkwardly went in in our clothes. However, it was fun hanging out with the kids and acting silly, especially with Anabel. I feel like she is always caring for her little sister and taking care of their home but rarely gets to be silly. Last night I helped Anabel and Sucora make dinner: Aji de gallina. DELICIOUS. I hope that I can attempt to replicate this dish because it is definitely my favorite so far.
This morning Britt, Chantelle and I taught Pat’s English class for her as she needed to go to Piura with her husband (it was a class of teenagers just learning English). It was fun to work with the kids and gave me a little more confidence to be a teacher. Tonight we promised to help out again at the university with pronunciation (this time with a class of older students). Next time I will post some pictures that I’ve taken recently!
PS I wrote another post for the Augustinian blog, here’s the link: Augustinian.org/blog