Sunday, December 12, 2010

Paro Update

It is now Sunday, one day after my Dad was supposed to fly back to the States. I say "supposed to" because he's still here due to the paro (or strike).

On Wednesday we were able to visit my site and Dad met my host sister and niece and some of the kids I play with a lot. We took a hike on the mountains close by and played Trouble with one of the neighbor kids. My host sister made us lunch even though she was really nervous about cooking for my Dad. She kept saying, "Ellie, you're used to our food. Your Dad isn't!" And I kept assuring her that he would be happy with anything.

On the hike outside of my site.

My sister, Amelia, making us lunch
My host niece.

After visiting my site we headed to Lazy Dog Inn. It is absolutely beautiful, nestled in the Cordillera Blanca without another house or village in sight. The food there was absolutely amazing and it was really cozy and nice. We took lots of beautiful walks, played cribbage, and just chilled. We planned on staying there for two nights.

On a hike at Lazy Dog Inn

But Ancash had different plans for us. While Dad and I were relaxing at Lazy Dog the situations down below was getting worse. All the roads going to and from Huaraz were blocked by angry protesters and on Friday protesters started rioting within Huaraz.

At this point, the Peace Corps stepped in and issued a "stand fast" order for all volunteers in Ancash. Stand fast means that we need to stay exactly where we are so Dad and I were forced to stay at Lazy Dog.

We were really suffering:

Enjoying wireless internet
The main lodge
Our favorite cribbage playing spot

We ended up staying at Lazy Dog for two more nights. I told Dad he was really experiencing life in the Peace Corps: wake up, read for awhile, have breakfast, watch some TV, eat lunch, take a walk, and realize that it's only 3 in the afternoon and you still have a whole afternoon before you. I'm not complaining, though. It was great to just chill with my Dad.

This morning (Sunday), we received a phone call from one of the Peace Corps doctors (who is also stranded in Ancash) reporting that the government has given in to the demands of the protesters. We're hoping that the protest, strike, and road blocks will be done and over with tomorrow or Tuesday at the latest.

Dad and I are in Huaraz now. All of the rioting has quieted down and it definitely feels safe to be here again. We walked to the main Plaza de Armas earlier tonight and the evidence of the riots were still very apparent. All of the banks and some other businesses on the plaza had their windows broken and glass was still all over the sidewalk.

Don't worry, though. Things here feel safe (Dad agrees) and we're working on our exit plan.

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