Cara traveled to Anda last week to check out our new home. She came back with many cool things to say, but she has left some big blanks. But that’s not her fault…JVC probably asked her to not tell us too much. The office is supposed to send us all sorts of information about jobs and housing and travel plans et cetera this week…
The feeling I have now is similar to the one you get when you ask a somebody you like out. There is that brief pause/moment between you asking the question and her/him responding…you’re full of anticipation and hope, but you’re waiting. It’s similar to that. But only this time, I know that JVC is going to say yes…I just want to know the details of the date like: when are we going? What are we doing? Where are we living?
But anyways…here is most of what Cara wrote in her email to us:
–Llamas: Sorry, Sam, but the only llama I saw was the iron one at the parish center. But aparently they are around in the villages high above the Quispicanchi valley.–Security: Andahuaylillas is very safe because everyone knows everyone else. Fr. Oscar, the parish priest and an all-around awesome Jesuit, told me that it’s safe for women to walk by themselves whenever they want and that the biggest security risk are the town drunks (who are annoying, but harmless).–Computer and Internet access: There is a computer room at the parish that is open every day until 8pm with internet access. It’s there for the kids to do their homework, but during the day it would be available to us. The Fe y Alegria school also has a computer lab but I don’t think it’s got internet yet. There is also an internet cafe that is right on the main square that you can use by the hour (1 hour = s/1.00 = $0.36).–History of volunteers in Andahuaylillas: I was a little surprised to find out that Andahuaylillas has welcomed volunteers for more than 10 years. Most of these volunteers have been from Spain and most have stayed for only a month or two. People were excited to hear that we’d be there for a more long term experience. The ethos of JVC is very distinct from that of past volunteers, so it’ll be interesting and exciting to share what we’re all about with the people of Andahuaylillas. I was able to meet 4 current volunteers who have all enjoyed their time in Andahauylillas. We should be overlapping with a young Peruvian lady named Sylvia who helps out a lot with the parish. Sylvia was one of my hostesses and also said that we could email her with any more Anda-related questions. There are also 2 random German young women who are also volunteering for the year with a women’s artisan co-op called the Q’ewar project. Check out their website for more info about their doll-making project.–Climate and Weather: I looks as though we’re going to have to pack for everything. It’s hot, it’s cold, it’s sunny, it’s rainy, it’s windy. The good thing about Anda is that the dress code is casual just about anywhere we might be working. I’m talking jeans and a respectable shirt type of casual. It’s always good to have a nice dress or black pants (for the ladies) or a shirt and tie (for the gents) for nicer occasions (baptisms, graduation dances, weddings, etc…). Since we are in the Southern Hemisphere, all of our seasons are flipped. So when we arrive in Andahuaylillas, they will be in summer which means INTENSE rains followed by INTENSE sun every day. Then the cold sets in from May until August. Thanks to some microclimates happening, there’s no snow but it can get chilly at night. The air is also very dry — I’m not one to get nose bleeds, but I had one almost every day I was there. The air is very dry – lotion is a must.–Post office: Fr. Oscar said we could have our mail delivered to the Jesuits’ house in Cusco. Packages are more complicated and we’d have to go to Cusco to pick them up. He recommended that people send smaller packages that weigh less than 3 kilos (6.6 lbs) so that they don’t have to go through customs.–Connections with home: It looks as though skype will be the easiest way to communicate with home. There is not a headset with a microphone at the parish, so someone will have to bring that with them.–Altitude: I actually got sick on my third day there :(. It was awful – I lost my appetite, I felt weak, was in a cold sweat, and very dehydrated. Sylvia and Oscar were very helpful though in getting me fluids and letting me rest. I think we’ll have to lay low for the first week we’re there until we acclimatize.–Transportation: The town is small enough that we’ll be walking everywhere. If we need to get to any of the other towns, we’ll take the bus or colectivos.