NGOs and Caral
This past week has flown by, first day of my first full week of classes, first time going to the NGOs that I am working with and first time visiting the 3rd oldest civilization in the world….no big deal. Not to mention I have now been in Lima for a full month, which is crazy to think about. I’ve finally begun to come to terms with the some of the aspects of Peruvian culture that I have struggled with for the past month or so. Not to say that I have overcome them but I am certainly more forgiving for being treated like an ideal. As a white person, who is also from the United States, I am treated like the epitome of what every Peruvian should strive to attain; wealth, white skin and above all else not look indigenous. These things come to ahead when I finally began my NGO work in the sub-section of Lima called Villa El Salvador.
Villa El Salvador, depending on the area, would be classified as a slum. In some areas are buildings made of brick/masonry and others where houses are little more than ramshackle huts made from corrugated plating. The group that I am working with called CEDED works in one of the lesser developed areas, meaning it is a full fledged slum. The program’s main focus is to bring homework support to the children in the area as well as to give the children a place to get away from their situation. The drive to Villa El Salvador is pretty difficult, because you start in Miraflores, one of the most affluent areas of Lima and slowly head out towards the lesser developed areas until finally you arrive in the heart of Villa El Salvador. The work however, is really great. The kids are amazing and they are always smiling to see us gringos there. I am helping a few of the kids with homework and also helping another group of students practice their English. All in all it is a very fulfilling experience and I am really excited to continue my work with the organization.
This Sunday I start my other NGO which is called La Casa de Panchita. It is an organization that helps the domestic workers around Lima to take classes in many different subjects. I am teaching guitar as well as English. I am really excited to start because I haven’t been able to play guitar in awhile, so I look forward to playing and teaching others how to play.
This past weekend we, meaning IFSA, went to Caral the third oldest civilization in the world. It was really interesting. It was a 3 hour bus ride out into the heart of the Peruvian desert. The drive itself was even interesting because in the first hour or so we drove a long the coast which meets with the desert and the mist created by the ocean was really cool. Eventually we go into the actual desert desert and that was also really interesting because there were random patches in the desert that were green and were being used as farmland. But for the most part very little the of the land was actually being used for anything.
When we finally got to Caral we had to walk about 1 Km in the sand which was much harder than I imagined it would be (I never had to walk in the sand unless I was at a beach). Once we were at the actual site our guide, the lead archaeologist of the dig, showed us around all of the pyramids and told us what the civilization was like. It was all very interesting and I was able to take some very cool photographs. All in all it was a very interesting weekend and I’m happy that I was able to go, even though I’ve had a cold since Friday and the desert air did not help me.