The slogan of the Peace Corps program in Ancash is "Ancash is Better!". Here are some reasons why:
That's Huascaran as seen from my site.
- It’s only eight hours from Lima
- As a haven for backpackers and hikers, the capitol city, Huaraz, has amazing food
- There’s an Ultimate Frisbee league out of a café in Huaraz every Friday morning
- Because the current Ancash PCVs love theme parties
- Because when I look outside my window and see the mountains I realize that I’m going to love living here even though… I miss my family and friends, my host mom only speaks Quechua, and our version of running water involves getting water from the stream that is running past our house
My fan club! My host niece is on the far right.
- There is so much to do in my town and my community partners seem really motivated
- I am living in a town that has one telephone, no internet, and no sewage/running water (that I’ve seen) BUT I just exchanged cell phone numbers with the mayor of my town
- The women in my site legitimately wear traditional clothing – layers of colorful skirts, stockings, blouses, cardigans, shawls, big hats, and braids. I’ve seen plenty of women dressed this way in touristy parts of Peru but it’s just the norm here. I haven’t seen any female over the age of five in anything else.
- The stars. There aren’t any street lights in my town (or many lights, period) so the stars are amazing. Absolutely, positively, the most beautiful stars I have ever seen in my life. If everything else about being here sucked, those stars would make it worth it. Luckily, everything about being here is pretty awesome so the stars are just icing on the cake.
- I get to change my name. Not that there is anything wrong with my old name except for the fact that no Peruvians can pronounce it and all look at me like I’m really crazy and try to call me other things like Bess, or Patty, or Pen. Ellie, the normal Peruvian nickname for Elizabeth, is just easier.
- Because I get to spend two years camping (more or less). An explanation:
o My house doesn’t have running water so each morning I need to ask my sister to fill a bowl with hot water so I can wash my face and brush my teeth
o The sound of rain on a tin roof is really similar to the sound of rain on a tent
o Because I don’t feel guilty about sitting outside reading for an hour
o Playing outside with kids is considered a constructive day
o I go on hikes with my host sister
o Because my bathroom consists of a squat toilet
o I need to use a flashlight to go to dinner at night because it’s pitch black outside and in the hallway leading into the house
o All of our food is prepared over a fire
o Because I end everyday feeling sunburned
o At night, I brush my teeth outside with water from my Nalgene
o Seriously, I feel like I’m at a Spanish-speaking version of Terre Andrae, except with fewer amenities
My bedroom - I'll be buying some more furniture
"Inside" the house
The front of the house - the wood door on the right is mine
Pictures from my Site: