Sunday, September 28, 2003

So the pace is S-L-O-W. I'm in Cusco today and it's a pretty Sunday and have been S-t-r-o-l-l-i-n-g. My english student, Juan, (a very handsome Peruvian man) asked for the afternoon off. We usually spend a couple hours together while he reads me articles from an English newspaper. He is trying to get into the tour business and needs his english to be better. So, our lesson will be Tuesday instead.

I have been editing the pictures. What a job! I wish I had more time to get creative with this blog thing...I have seen some really cool ones. (But, the next time I have pictures, I'll be more timely in posting them, then they won't be out of order and I will have more to write about them too.)

As alluded to, things are slow here. And don't get me wrong, that's just fine! Many days I head out to do something and plans just change. (And there's always mañana.) After all I'm on foot mostly, everything seems to shut down between 12 Noon and 2:30PM, or if I'm with Ramon, we need to check out every possibility before we commit to anything. And again, we're on foot!

So the big adventure yesterday was that I got my haircut and, a different color, (actually 2 colors)!! Well the build-up to this lasted a few days, after I mentioned what I wanted to do, because we then walked by I think every pelloqueria (beauty shop) eyeing whether there were customers, how old they were, and then the hairdressers looking at the same criteria. (Here is an example of the mañana strategy...all of those days I said , 'OK, it'll be today,' but after walking all over...mañana...mañana...) By the time I sat in a chair, I think I was half crazy from looking! So I was then in the hands of both Ramon and a gay Peruvian hairdresser, because I just don't know words that apply to getting a hair cut and color. So picture this: blaring latin music, a tiny shop, a bunch of customers, a cute gay peruvian hairdresser, 4 or 5 young women finishing up what he starts, a tiny closet where if you really need your hair washed, you get it but the water is out of a barrel...I have never had a guy stay for the whole thing start to finish either. So now it is short and darker with a few blond streaks. (Just right for Sipascancha!) I'll put a picture on soon.

Speaking of Sipascancha, I really like working there. But it is an adventure. I saw about 20 patients my last time there. I mostly see the kids and moms and a few men. But I did have an interesting male patient. The day I arrived I first saw him; he came in with a cough. He had not had it long, so I gave my talk on more liquids, soup, mates (teas), to breath water vapors and to use tylenol for the fever and aches. So he doesn't come back during the day (a good sign), but that evening, about dusk, his daughter runs down crying giving me a hand signal that he cut his throat. Well, I had no idea what it menat and she didn't speak spanish. So I got one of the teachers and we trudge up the mountainside to his house. What a trip. Its adobe, and there is a tiny opening for the door...and dark, totally dark...So they light a candle, and thankfully I can see he has not slit his damn throat. After a translation, he coughed so hard his chest hurt and he thought he heart was going to stop. He was so sweaty from the fever and in tons of clothes (you would not believe how many clothes these people wear!). So I got him to take off some and checked him all out. BP fine, breath sounds just fine, pulse a little rapid...and I say do you have any tylenol left, but in spanish for the teacher who then translates it to quechua and it turns out he had not used any of it! Or had fluids, or breathed vapors! So that was a lesson. Now I know it isn't their custom to drink water and that I can't just be general in my instructions. So I told him he was fine and that he needed to drink soup, and 8 cups of mate and to breath the vapors when the water is boiled. He was supposed to return to the clinic the next day but didn't; I'm assuming he was fine.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

These are all photos of Sipascancha on the day of the mercado, every Wednesday. The countryside is just beautiful, isn't it?! If it comes through, the photo of the horse has a building in the background, that's the 'penthouse', and my room is on the corner. The truck is what I have been riding in, or something similar when I return to Cusco. Packed in it are people, potatoes, various animals, and buckets of chicha, amongst many other things. When I returned yesterday, there was a a little lamb riding behind the seat.

These are photos of the fiesta we had for the kids celebrating what was the first day of spring. 'La primera dia' de la primavera'. (For us in the states it was the first day of fall.) It took place in the area near the school and cocina, kind of like a plaza, but as you can see very basic! The man is one of the residents and he took his role very seriously of announcing each performance. The shot of the boy talking is when he is reciting a poem about the spring. All the kids watched little skits, musicians, native dances, ate some sweets, and danced the afternoon away.

More of the fiesta! The little guy in the yellow shirt playing the guitar is my buddy, Placido. The people playing the music are some of the teachers.

More shots of the festival and the native dances complete with the dress of this part of the Andes. The dancers are all ages!

Here are some shots of the skits. The teachers played the parts and they were in both quechua and spanish. The kids loved them. Some of the shots of the young boys are some of my favorites. When the dancing began, they were right there to take my hand and dance with me! Maybe its because I have sons, but I am always drawn to the boys and them to me!

More and more of the fiesta!

Here I am back in Cusco and at a festival of one of the ruin sites called Sacsayhuaman that was last weekend. The festival reenacts an Inca celebration. (But, I can't remember the name!) It was done by school kids and really impressive. One of the shots shows at the top of the ruins, kids playing the role of condors! And this site is just beautiful, especially in the early morning; it's where I run.

Various parts of the festival at Sacsayhuaman....