a week up north
I just got home (literally just got home) from a week-long trip up to Piura, which is in Northern Perú. I am exhausted but completely satisfied and thrilled with the trip.
I definitely suggest making that effort to travel as much as you can when you are studying abroad. I feel like I know Lima pretty well now, but there is definitely so much more to Peru than just Lima.
I left Lima on October 12th at 9:00 p.m. with Cruz del Sur (one of the main bus lines down here) and arrived in Piura at 2:30 p.m. on October 13th. That’s right, more than 17 hours seated in a bus. It was nuts. I don’t enjoy traveling by car or bus, I never had, so this was quite the test of my patience. However, I arrived in Piura to SUN! I haven’t seen sun in Lima in what seems like forever, so it was an amazing break to get to see some sun, and actually break out short sleeved shirts and capris.
I spent the past week with the Charity Sisters, a congregation of nuns that is based out of Leavenworth, KS. I have a friend back in the states that knows one of them, and so I got into contact with them that way. They graciously accepted me into their convent for the week, and introduced me to life in Piura.
There are four nuns that live here in Piura. Two of them are American (from Minnesota and Colorado) and the other two are peruvian. They are incredibly nice and welcoming, although I think they didn’t expect me to be so young.. they keep commenting on how it is such a change to have “youth” in the convent.
I settled into a routine quite quickly.. from 8:00 a.m. til 1:00 p.m. I taught a class on how to use a computer. There were two sessions, from 8-10:30 and from 10:30-1. The women that come to the class literally had NO computer knowledge. None of them had ever touched a computer before, so to show them how to use a mouse and a keyboard has been quite interesting. It was definitely an eye-opening experience for me.
After classes I headed back to the convent to eat lunch and the sisters all have their afternoon “nap” that I don’t think I could take if I really tried. Then I went back to their “community center” at 3:10 to prepare for the students. There is a library in this center that kids can come to in order to get help on their homework. I, along with a peruvian math teacher, were the two people that monitor the library and help the kids with their homework. In addition to helping the kids with their homework we were also classifying the donated books by the dewey decimal system and entering all of the information into the computer.
This lasts until about 6:00 p.m. After all the kids leave I went downstairs to help with physical therapy that takes place for a reduced cost. After I finish helping out there (about 6:55) I run up the street to make it to mass at 7:00 with the nuns. After mass finishes, we would go back to the convent to do evening prayers and then start to make dinner (at about 8:30). I dont eat that late ever!!
After dinner, we would upstairs to do jigsaw puzzles and watch the 10:00 news. Life in Piura is definitely scheduled, as literally every day, Monday through Saturday, is the same.
Sunday is the one free day for the nuns. On Sunday I went to Catacaos, a nearby town, and got to see it’s beautiful church and handiwork that is so famous there. I also went to some archaeological ruins nearby, where our guide was only 11 years old! After coming back from Catacaos, I went to a parade in Piura, and then to a procession of Nuestro Señor de los Milagros.
It was a great experience, and now it is going to be hard to get back into school mode. However, our IFSA-Butler salsa dancing lessons start this Friday so I have that to look forward to!