Vida y Existencia en el Perú

VEP, a medium where Miguel M explores the dimensions of global volunteer service in the context of ongoing dialogues with culture, nature, ideas, sounds, environs. While the possibility of a unified matrix of thought is here obviated by unspoken limits, VEP offers a glimpse of my volunteer experience and travels in South America.* This is NOT an official blog of the US Peace Corps nor Peruvian government, contents strictly my own *

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Pachamanca, Purple Cauliflower, Music

Yesterday was the second in a series of bio-gardening workshops at Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina in Lima. It was a mix of lecture about the variety plants, herbs and vegetables available here and then practical work like soil, planting, seeding and transplant techniques. There are purple cauliflowers here which I thought was fantastic. I decided I want to try grow Curry too when I get to my site. I was thinking of that Beach Boys song "Vegetables" yesterday and was humming it inside, until I realized we were already onto talking about Choclo, an unsweet, starchy corn and all the rest, many of which I was unfamiliar with in English let alone Spanish.
Earlier in the week our health group was also in Lima for a presentation on "Violencia Familiar y Sexual" presented by MIMDES (Ministerio de la Mujer y Desarollo Social/Min. for Women and Social Development). For all the scheduling and stress involved in training, the positive is that we are exposed to many different aspects of work training and familiarization with social services and resources here. I´m giving an informal talk (charla) on Drugs and Alcohol later this week at a health post and a small group of us are working on a garbage collection survey which is the beginning of a project which we hope results in a clean up day or other awareness event in a local community here. These activities are also a part of training, but are preparation for the kinds of projects we need to be able to facilitate once we get to our permenant sites.
I read yesterday in El Comercio that meteorologists are expecting a weak form of El Niño to affect Northern Peru in 06-07 which is likely the area most of us will be placed later on. I´m not sure how serious the effects will be (could hurt fishing industry due to fish migrating into cooler water, flooding, etc.) or whether the article was accurate though.
Music. I´m glad I brought alot of music here. I´ve also been playing guitar a little more. The other day I played "Ain´t Goin´Nowhere" with a friend who remembered most of the words. I found that she likes Gram Parsons too. I might try to learn "Brass Buttons" later. All the music reminds me of home and different places and people which is beautiful and sad. As for the music here, I hope you like 80s, early 90s (Guns-N-Roses, Aerosmith) and definitely Shakira. I hear that song "Hips don´t lie" a million times a day and I want to make a folk version. It´s unfortunate that "Hotel California" here is such a smash hit as I am not an Eagles fan. But all the great Peruvian music outweighs the bad American stuff. I´m listening to Musica Criolla, which is Afro-Peruvian stuff from the coast and of course the obligitory dance stuff and raggaeton.
My family went to my brothers' soccer game in Lima today so I am solo. There is a big festival in town for Panchamanca, which is comida tipica consisting of a bunch of meat stuffed inside some leaves and cooked underground in brick ovens. Tourists haven´t come as they have in past years because of fear this year of this mosquito which carries veruga peruana (Bartenollosis) and which bit someone last month. It´s mostly serious, in fact deadly, without early detection. My host mom went to Lima though to protest media coverage of the whole mosquito scare on the grounds that the negative coverage was exaggerated and that it was hurting the economy here during tourist season.

All for now... Happy Octoberfest... Go Sabres


At 08 October, 2006 18:38, Anonymous MOM said...

MIke, thanks for updating the blog, its always so interesting. In retrospect you now won't have to answer my email question about what u are planting. Glad to hear you are getting to play your guitar & have someone to share it with. Bills were loosing vs.Chicago this afternoon.(0-30 at the end of the 3rd) So I shut it off & served Grandam P. dinner. Thanks again, Love, Mom

At 19 October, 2006 11:48, Anonymous Aunt Pat said...

Mike, again an interesting and informative edition. Are purple cauliflowers like purple people eaters? Seriously, do they taste like cauliflower? Do you eat white cauliflower?

As you may have heard by now, we also expect some effects of El Nino, but had a reverse system move through last Thursday. We got over 2 feet of snow and some of us lost power for almost a week (I finally got mine back last night). Your Mom & Dad had power so they took Grandma & Jean. Life will start getting back to normal. We will have no "Fall foliage" as most of it is on the ground right on the limbs that fell from the trees. The damage is unbelievable! You won't recognize even your own street when you come home. Ask Mark to send pics.

Is there any music (or anything else) I can send to you? I think of you often and hope you are well. I can't say enough how proud I am of you. I love you Mike!


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