S: Peace Corps Perú
FC: Bits and Peaces Two Years in Perú as a Peace Corps Volunteer
1: From September 2008 to November 2010, I served as a Community Health Volunteer in the United States Peace Corps in Ancash, Perú. Living and working in rural villages in the Conchucos Valley, I became an integral member of my Andean community, a trusted friend, role model, teacher, as well as student. Thank you to mi linda familia peruana for opening your hearts and homes to me during those two years- nunca lo olvidaré. Con todo mi corazón, Shannon
2: The first 3 months of the 27 month Peace Corps service was dedicated to in-country training: living with a host family while learning the language, culture, and traditions of Perú, as well as the technical skills that would be required of me as a Community Health Volunteer.
3: Never a dull moment with Angelie, Martiluz and Marilyn, and tío Tyler! | Family parties, outings to Chosica, and Sunday lunches with my "primo" Brian
4: Getting outside the classroom: hands on training at La Agraria and field-based training in Ancash. | Forming a real family | Keeping Tradition Alive | Using humor to stay sane as well as to teach | Keeping American traditions
5: November 28, 2008 Peace Corps Perú 12 Swear-In Ceremony
6: Ancash, one of 27 departments in Perú, is home to some of the world's most spectacular mountain ranges and the world's highest tropical mountain, Huascarán. During my two years, volunteers lived on either side of the Cordillera Blanca in the Callejón de Huaylas and the Callejón de Conchucos. Although the department is rich in natural beauty and minerals like gold, copper and silver, it has some of the highest rates of poverty and disease, particularly malnutrition, in the country. Ancash volunteers are placed in rural, Quechua speaking villages where they can work together with their communities in tackling health, education, and environment needs. | Bienvenidos a Ancash
7: My site assignment: San Marcos | My hometown: Huarimayo
8: Mi familia | Pablo Mary Emerson Nelly Pashu
9: Our first Christmas | A Peruvian "Chocolatada" consists of Panetón bread and hot chocolate
10: Construction of my bedroom | Step 1: Add layer of adobe to walls. | Step 2: Make sure adobe falls off. Cry. | Step 3: "Blanquear" the walls with "yeso" and paint Peru's favorite color- celeste. | Step 4: Put a plywood roof on. | Step 5: Decorate and invite friends over for coffee!
11: More construction: building a bathroom (over 9 months)
12: "Acostumbrar"-ing to Conchucos with my site mates Tyler and Claudia
13: Conchucos Valley: Home of the Chavín de Huantar Ruins
14: Getting started: summer school art classes, Grupo de Jovenes, and working with ADRA and the Centro de Salud
16: First year shenanigans with my Ancash family | Lake jumps Llanganuco and 69
17: Santa Cruz Trail clean-up with the arrieros from Cashapampa
18: The Dorans visit Perú! Arequipa, Puno, and Cusco June 2009
19: Pisco sours on the plaza, alpaca and ostrich steaks for dinner, and condor sitings in Colca Canyon, all in Arequipa.
20: Puno Sillustani Ruins and Lake Titicaca
21: Cusco and the Inca Trail
22: Summer (Winter) in Perú | Supporting the Peace Corps Marathon and Half Marathon in Pacasmayo, La Libertad
23: Celebrating Perú's Independence Day, or Fiestas Patrias, in my site and around Ancash | Chavín Feria Artesanal and Desfile de Moda | Perú 12 PCVs visit Conchucos and tour Ancash | Pastoruri Glacier and Natural Springs | Campo Santo
24: Viviendas Saludables Project in Huarimayo | With a Small Project Assistance grant from USAID, 40 families were able to receive materials to build cocinas mejoradas, pending their completion of a vegetable garden, a cuy cage, and a shelf unit. | Getting to Work!
25: With donations from family and friends at home to a Peace Corps Partnership grant, the elementary school was able to complete a hygiene and nutrition project. | Lombricultura | Compost | Biohuerto | Higiene | Escuelas Saludables Project in the Huarimayo Primaria
26: Birthdays, Town Parties, and other Fiestas | Emerson's 8th Birthday
27: In search of cat in Huari for James' Birthday | San Marcos Fiesta Patronal | A Very Pirate Halloween
28: A Few More Lake Jumps to round out 2009: Purhuay, Churup, and Paron
29: Mid-service Trip to Paracas and Huacachina | Thanksgiving in Arequipa
30: Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año
31: For their second trip to South America, the Dorans journeyed to Perú's close neighbor, Argentina. We spent ten days sampling the country's famous cuisine and wine, exploring the historic city of Buenos Aires, and venturing out to the incredible Iguazú Falls.
32: In the Conchucos Valley of Perú, Carnival is celebrated for an entire month. Children and adults throw flour (machka) and water balloons at each other. On the final day of the celebration, a tree is decorated and the community dances around it, taking turns chopping it with an axe. The person who knocks the tree over is the sponsor, or padrino, of the party the next year. | February- Los Carnivales
33: The Department of Cajamarca hosts Perú's largest celebration of Carnival. It is famous for its large, festive parades and city-wide water balloon and paint fight.
34: Celebrating world awareness days in Conchucos | Women's Day | Earth Day
35: Semana Santa in Ayacucho The largest and most traditional Easter celebration in Perú. A few of us traveled to Ayacucho during the short Semana Santa vacation.
36: Campamento ALMA Actividades de Liderazgo para Mujeres Adolescents
37: In May of 2010, Ancash volunteers held a 3-day leadership camp for teenage girls. | Camp activities and lectures promoted teamwork, creativity, healthy lifestyles, gender equality, goal setting and career development.
38: In my second year, I continued my work with the Huarimayo primaria. We attempted a second vegetable garden, celebrated world awareness days, and learned how to use computers. I also continued my work with artisans in San Marcos.
39: In addition, I started working with teenagers and implemented a 6 month Youth Health Promoter training program in the community of Challhuayaco.
40: Since the first Viviendas Saludables project was successful in Huarimayo, I coordinated with the Chichucancha health post to implement the same project in their community. | The project was funded with another SPA grant from USAID
41: Without the help of nurse Celinda and health promoter Rubén, the completion of 45 cocinas mejoradas would not have been possible.
42: Sometimes Mike and I went off the beaten path and on our own adventures... | Like walking to Huaraz from Chavín
43: or to Huantsan from Chichucancha
44: Right before the COS conference, all the volunteers had to "aprovechar" those last few vacation days. | Pacasmayo Marathon | Hatun Machay
45: Iquitos and the Selva | Iquitos and the Selva
46: Last lake jump: Rajucolta
47: Summiting Pisco
48: Perú 12 Close of Service Conference | With three months of service to go, Peace Corps holds a conference for volunteers to complete paperwork and see each other for the last time before becoming RPCVs.
49: Mom and Dad visit South America for the third time and come to my site!
50: Emerson's 9th birthday | A few last celebrations in site
51: San Marcos Fiesta 12 de octubre
52: Field trips to the thermal baths and Chavín ruins
53: And clausuras
54: My last official job in site: run the Field- Based Training for the new Perú 16 volunteers | They learned how to work with adolescents and build latrines and cocinas mejoradas.
55: Before Perú 12 said goodbyes and parted ways, we celebrated becoming RPCVs with a despedida on Halloween night.
56: Gracias por todo el Perú...
57: ...nunca les olvidaré.