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, February 25, 2007


25. Febrero. 2007. 7:20 a.m.

"¡Cangrejos! ¡Cangrejos! ¡Can-can-can-grejos!" shouted the street vendor as I approached the house after my morning run. He was carrying straw baskets filled to capacity with the purple-electric orange-colored sea crabs, most of whom were still alive, tied up into neat bundles and ready for sale. They were probably caught in the pre-dawn Pacific this morning and brought fresh into town. After a near sleepless night (malaria meds?), I somehow found the energy to embark on my first early morning run since I´ve been here, which offered me another new glimpse of the town where I live. It is peaceful to be up before the rest of the town, finding few passerbys on the street or in the plaza, and the majority of the vicious street dogs still laying harmlessly in doorways and on heaps of dirty fertilizer sacks and gravel. In a few hours my friend Lauren (PCV from a nearby town) will come by to teach me how to do PowerPoint (cringe!) so that we can prepare for an upcoming 3-month review of our work in site, to be presented in Trujillo. 3 months in-site! Time marches forward.

This month presented another set of challenges: nearing completion and mainting student motivation for the World Map Project at a local high school (pictured), more consults and referrals at my health post for mental health needs in our underserved community, putting together the data from the community health diagnostic in January, two radio interviews on the local wave and a montón of birthdays that I missed stateside, among friends and family... (¡Feliz Días Rybz, Bri, Dad!)

Some new ideas I´ve had include helping to organize efforts around building a shelter in or around my community for women suffering from the effects of violencia familiar and abuse. Most other departments (states) here already have Casitas de Refugio while in the north we seem to be behind the curve when it comes to some basic social support services and networks. There are grants and funding (national and international) that can be utilized with the proper coordination. I have had some good collaborations of late, meeting two psychologists in my area who are helping to familiarize me with the Peruvian system amidst extremely busy schedules. One psychologist has already secured the funds and resources from the regional health headquaters and a cooperating Spanish government agency for a two-day capacity-building workshop on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse- Best Treatment Practices... which I have agreed to help organize and carry out. Vamos a ver. Some other activities with my health post have included visiting the tiendas and kioskos in a nearby town to check expiration dates on the food being sold. I am also getting alot of pressure to start an English class (realistically,March or April) and am starting to begin some planning and coordination with local schools for health talks and courses during the upcoming school year amidst the challenges of differences in local politics and challenges in organization and communication between organizations and different institutions. I also started to teach a one person class on basic internet skills, aprovechando the plethora of internet cabinas in my little town.

As the temperature continues to climb here (90s instead of 80s) I look forward to a trip to my "reconnect" next month which is an opportunity to reunite and present our work with other volunteers from the same volunteer cycle after 3 months of service. The trip will give everyone a breather from their sites and in my case, a relief from the heat.

Carnival is still in full swing through February and I´ve been soaked a number of times over the past few weeks by girls armed with water balloons or huge buckets of water. My "host cousin" dunked me in a baby pool last Sunday, destroying my Sunday Edition of El Comercio... Ergh. The mototaxistas get it alot worse than I do though-- I feel for them, but then I remember how many times I´ve almost been hit trying to cross the street here due to their crazy driving! Other fun stuff has been making a spaghetti dinner with garlic bread for my host brothers while watching episodes of The Simpson´s and Alf, both of which are favorites on the television here. In closing, a short quote from the legendary British singer-songwriter,

"I wanted to be the one with road dust on my boots. And a single silver earring and a suitcase full of notes." -- Vashti Bunyan, Lookaftering

Can you say Lord Stanley Cup?

I Love You,


At 26 February, 2007 20:08, Anonymous Unlce Len & mom said...

Mike, I'm @ Uncle Lens house & I showed him your blog site. He hope he'll get a chance to write you.

At 26 February, 2007 20:58, Anonymous Anonymous said...

stopped by to see your blog...sounds like you have been quite busy! i liked seeing the pics of your map project...hope your reunion went well and you enjoy the break from the hot temps meg

At 27 February, 2007 12:12, Blogger Matthew said...

hey mike seems like life is pretty busy for you these days, much craziness on this end as well. currently taking microbiology and pathology, no idea were they expect me to store all of this info. back to studying, just wanted to let you know that Kat and I have been checking in on you and are glad to see life is staying interesting, all the best

At 03 March, 2007 23:54, Anonymous Mom said...

Mike, be sure to tell all your students what a great job all of you have done on the map project. It looks so colorful, professional & it really shows that all of you put forth a lot of effort to do it right!!

At 02 April, 2007 13:09, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aunt Pat is seriously behind in her blog encounters. I will try to do better. You now have a full four months in and time is maarching forward. We miss you like crazy, but you are doing so much you probably have little time for homesickness.

Easter is this Sunday...another milestone seasonally as we all look forward to summer and you, I am sure look forward to cooler temps. We may have some snow this week, but in April it is a mere inconvenience.

Love you and send you good wishes.

At 05 April, 2007 22:04, Anonymous marco said...

don miguel, hope you're having a good break in the jungle forest...I think Cornell Univ. has a biodiversity laboratory somewhere around there- anyway, look forward to hearing about your excursions. sabres won 4-2. -Hasta luego, don marco

At 25 April, 2007 22:31, Anonymous Mom said...

Miguel, Sabres won 5-2, Love Mom xo

At 28 April, 2007 22:24, Anonymous MOM said...

Raining all weekend here in Buffalo, but its better than snow in April....Love, Mom xo

At 20 June, 2007 19:09, Anonymous Mom said...

Mike, summers here, the weather is fantastic & our pool is officially open. Hope we get one more year out of it. Haven't updated your blog lately. I was hoping you would put some pic's of your Amazon adventure up or the Mtns. you visited recently. Love you, Mom XO


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