Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Home Sweet Home

My Lonely Planet guidebook has one page on Chimbote.  The first sentence in this short section is “Chimbote is Peru’s largest fishing port—and with fish-processing factories lining the roads in and out of Chimbote you’ll probably smell it before you see it”.  This is the city I will make my home for the next year.

My house is on a dirt road, about a 15 minute walk from the center square and the ocean.  The lack of hot water will make for very quick showers (if any at all) and part of our roof is unfinished so whenever it rains, it rains inside too.  But, it could be worse.  This is a nice house by Chimbote standards and I’m only here for a year.  Plus, I don’t have termites in my headboard like one of my housemates.  On the bright side, Chimbote is said to have the best Ceviche in all of Peru and I have any extra bed in my room for any visitors who don’t mind a bucket bath or a cold shower (hint hint).

I hope to start working in the next couple days, at which time, these posts will (hopefully) get much more exciting.

A big thanks this week goes out to the wonderful Brennan family as well as my dear friend Megan Hanley for saving me from a long, cold night on the floor of the Lima airport.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

And She’s Off!

It is very surreal to be leaving the country knowing that I will not be back for an entire year.  I don’t think I have completely wrapped my head around that fact that I will be away from family and friends for so long; maybe it is better that way.

This past week was spent in New Jersey at orientation with some of my fellow volunteers.  It was really comforting to meet other volunteers who have the same fears and apprehensions as I have had.  I learned a lot more about CMMB this week than I have been able to learn on my own.  One of the things I really admire about the organization is that they have recognized the need for preventive care in the world and they are working on strengthening health systems throughout the world.  One of the things I will be working on during my time in Peru is an example of the type of preventive care they are striving to support.  There is a real emphasis on community health and education so that the people we are working with will be able to care for themselves in the future.

After some confusion, wrong addresses and phone numbers, and an impromptu stay with a friend from home, I have made it to Sister Rosaleen’s house in Lima.  She is a lovely Irish woman who has been living in Peru for 31 years.  I am sure she will have lots of great advice for me before I head up to Chimbote on Tuesday.

I want to send a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me so far, especially: the Sprangers’ family, John and Mona Fonseca,  my Aunt Julie and Uncle Dave, the Hickey’s, Mama Chappell, Grandma and Grandpa Daly, and of course my wonderful parents.  All your prayers, words of encouragement and support are very much appreciated!  Thank you!