Tuesday, November 29, 2005

i want to write about my wonderful thanksgiving! while i am supposed to be studying a program required for work on line, excitedly thinking about what i can send to peru for christmas (check the post same date!), i can't let my thanksgiving go without comment.

my friends came from astoria, percy and terry. percy goes back a long freakin time. she is plump and funny and rosy and happy, but all wrapped up in cynicism. she is hard to describe. terry i don't know that well, but she has been a friend of percy's for a long time. she is now in school, after what, 30 years and a very difficult life seeing what may be next. ariel came from here, she is an old friend from when i was married, round two. we knew each other from a women's group. it is years later and i know i am not the same as i was then. my life has TOTALLY CHANGED ie., no husband, children at home, no crazy soul sucking job, with time to fumble--again, and an outlook on things i acquired in peru that i can't quite put into words. ariel has had life happen as well, but intact is her sense of spirituality, just like when i knew her then. and me, i don't know if i'm "spiritual" now, or just nuts. beauvais was husband numero uno. we are now good friends. we've been divorced for some 20 years. life happened there too. but he has softened as a result and will even admit it. however what has not changed is his in-his-genes southerness, and a knack of bullshit! (we who love him let it ride....) mica, my son...what to say about him?! he is so flippant, so his own person and i really respect that. and his girlfriend is a match for him in that regard. her name is kate. beauvais brought bob, an old friend of his. he has been a huge help to beau, which we all appreciate. he came in all dressed up and with flowers! i was told of a conversation in which he was sharing with ariel about bicycling...she likes to bike....when she asked him more about it, his comment was at one time he rode to work...she then asks, what work were you doing...he says, delivering cocaine. terry overheard this and thought it was hilarious. i guess you had to be there. and my new friend, steve joined us also! i don't know him too well yet. so far, lets see...he is very sweet; likes music (that is an understatement); seems to have a life full of friends; has a cool old house he owns jointly with a friend, and shares with others; has lots of projects; has a webpage about music; and is/was/is (hard to tell) an activist on numerous issues, and tho he is 39, he easily looks 29. me, i feel sort of shy around him, well maybe not quite shy, but not exactly trying to make all about me known. so, he is a nice new friend. and i am taking him in and letting me out...

so albeit a mixed group , it was fantastic. i liked having people at my house. the music was fantastic, thanks to steve. :) i, of course, drank rum, smoked, and cooked. steve helped me in the kitchen and found cool recipes in none other than the Joy of Cooking. so our beets had this lovely orange cream sauce. and our sweet potatoes, perfect. he also washed dishes, which impressed percy. (percy dreams of a household where she serves as the "husband", and all her friends share the role of "wife" and everone lives happily ever after, especially, her!) i tried something new with the hormone filled, 18 cent a pound winco turkey. (shame on me for not supporting our organic farmers, i still feel guilty) so, instead of basting this poor bird it i left it completely covered for the allotted time stated by irma rombaer (Jof C). in theory i thought this would make the white meat more tender, but because it was sealed it actually took less time to cook and the white meat was dry. oh well. and of course the dressing reminded me of nearly every other thanksgiving i have had, minus the ones when i was a child. (no one ever showed me that recipe) so all the weird ingredients, likely added originally because it was what we had over the years...and not because we purposely thought it would be good. and now i wouldn't do it any other way.

so it was fun, fun, fun. and when we paused before eating i did something different too. no around the room to have people share what they were thankful for. (my kids had always hated this...and would come up with utterly ridiculous things...) and what with our world being turned upside down by war, poverty, and the like. so it seemed best to be thankful simply for the present moment and friends and family.

so dessert followed.... cream puffs, courtesy of steve...yumm, pumpkin pie, blueberry pie and a chocolate creme pie. ayayaya...........

as i write about this, i feel all warm and fuzzy, not for the food, thanksgiving dinner is incredibly excessive...and it's easy for me to think about my kids in peru with barely anything....but rather for having the chance to give something back, to all my friends and family, and symbolically to everyone who has given something of themselves to me.
Gracias a Dios estas bien querida Laurie, que alegria tan grande me has dado tu sabes lo dificil de estos lugares, pero lo bello del apoyo a los niños, hemos pasado un año muy dificil y apenas hemos tenido para darles de comer algo por eso yo no viajo seguido a Sipascacha para poder ahorrar su dinero , dinero que pude juntar la navidad pasada. El año pasado teniamos una amiga Andrea de Alemania que consigio dinero para poder comprar 02 computadoras con las cuales empezamos un colegio para los 32niños y niñas mayores, a donde vienen niños de otras comunidades, con las mesas del comedor armamos la clase, todo apoyando a los profesores y comunidad, pero seguimos adelante, la salud estuvo muy abandonada de nuestra parte, pero la mèdico de Colquepata ahora hace visitas regularmente, yo creo que ellos extrañan tu atenciòn porque ese tema nadie le puso tanto amor como tu. te agradezco tus regalos, los mismos que deben pesar solo 10 kilos por caja, y no declarar màs de 48 dòlares de valor y decir regalos para niños. Lapices, muñecps, etc.no directamente decir medicina, dirigido a nombre de Siervas de Cristo Sacerdote y entre parentesis (PJF) mis iniciales apartado postal 593 Cusco Perù y mi direcciòn Meson de la estrella 180 Cusco Perù si quieres. A la hermana Nelly le tienen gran respeto y no creo que nos quiten nada al recibirlo. Porque a los religiosos les dan facilidades. Pero te garantizo su recepciòn personalmente y entrega a tus queridos niñosy fotos. Mi nombre completo para el envio de dinero es Pavela Giuliana Jimenez Figueroa, Mi direcciòn esta arriba, Mesòn de la estrella Nº180, Cusco Perù mi telefono ya lo sabes, tu tienes que enviarme un mail con el nùmero y fecha del envio, en Western Union es segura y fàcil ya lo hecho antes.Gracias al Señor tienes alguien cerca y tambien a tu hijo, siempre recuerdo las fotos que me mostraste, y esa parja nueva por lo cual me algro mucho yo sigo sola y trabajo para sostenerme en nivelaciòn academica con niños abandonados de un hogar infantil pero siempre apoyo a Sipascancha, estoy acabando de construir el mercado artesanal para 30 familias de Sipascancha, Soncco en Corao a 15 minutos de Cusco en Corao lugar entre Cusco y Pisac asì que sigo luchando por nuestros amigos, la navidad la voy a planificar el sàbado que viene con Adella y el Profesor Pancho se van alegrar mucho porque solo teniamos para una leche y cocoa, ni para el pan teniamos. Gracias amiga yo vivo en el mismo lugar y te espero cuando quieras venir. Lo que vivimos nos hace amigas de verdad. EScribeme

this is a letter i just received from pavela!! i am so happy!!! reason being, i can now send gifts off to sipascancha. but as i read it, i am left remembering how difficult life is for the sweet people of sipascancha. translated roughly, pavela tells me that i likely remember how difficult life is there and that they have had very little money to feed the children this year. she has not gone up there as much so to use the travel money to help with food and to allow some to bring them christmas. a woman named andrea from germany donated money to buy 2 computers for the older children. they set them up in the main dining room, apparently other children come from surrounding communities and the teachers already there are teaching them how to use them. it appears as if there are at least 32 children plus the children from visiting communities learning all at the same time. but they are moving forward. she tells me also they are unable to provide any health care directly. however now a doctor from colquepata comes more regularly. she adds that the people miss me because what i did was with love. :) she then advises me to make sure the boxes don't weigh more than 10 kilos, to not send medicines, and to not declare a value above 48$...this is crazy because if you don't observe this, the tax on their end is unbelievable. she goes on to say they are building a marketplace. it will be in between cusco and pisac and 30 families are participating. she ends with telling me satuday she will see adella and pancho, two teachers, to plan the christmas up there. they fear they will only have money for hot chocolate, not even sweet bread... and finally that she lives in the same place and i am always welcome.
ayayay. what a reminder of what they are up against. to do things that are sustainable, take so much time....likely children will not experience the full benefit in their lifetimes...but to remember that they have to choose, between food and daily needs and planning for the future makes me incredibly sad...i have to remember, what is in the present is the process...i wish i were richer than all hell to make it happen sooner, and for them to be able to eat in the meantime.
so i am preparing boxes to send. i hope vitamins are not considered medicine...yikes...my plans are for lots of vitamins, toys for my godchildren, pencils and a couple dvd movies for all the children and of course MONEY. i wish i could send them magic, like a genie in a bottle...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

what a beautiful day! i had meant to get up early and go to the grocery store, but i fell back asleep and woke at 1:00 to a blue sky...i then managed to frit away the time i could've had to get to the store. (i was banking on being called off...)

so very cool, i was able to reach rosa in trujillo...i had been thinking about her for the last week and was worried something was going on with her and piero. it is as always though, which is to say a struggle, but the same struggle she has had since i've known her and been the madrina of piero. they live in a crowded house; support 4 children, 2 sets of parents, a brother and her parents...thankfully she has her job as a teacher but unbelievably they can simply not pay her if they don't have the money and she has no way to force them...but they are all well, thank goodness. she tells me when pierito sees a gringa he asks for me and cannot understand just why i can't come visit. i remember he was always fascinated with buses, so i tried to explain to him there was no bus from here to trujillo. he is talking more. rosa keeps apologizing for not sending pictures, but i totally understand her inability to do so. its funny how in life you can make a connection with someone just like that. but that is what happened with rosa and i. we could always just talk and despite our different lives make a connection that cut through all that is really needless adjectives that made us different, at least on the outside. she is ramon's sister. when she asked me to be piero's godmother i said to her was she sure, after all there was simply no saying what would come to pass with ramon and i, especially at the point he got stuck in spain. what has come to pass is that she is like a sister regardless of ramon. they want me to come visit...oh i would LOVE to. just to think about being in the warmth of their home, laughing with her mom dancing about in the kitchen, simply sweeping the dust in the part of their house that was in the open air like they did every morning before going to the mercado to see how little they could spend of the midday meal for everyone. it may sound silly to miss this, but i really do....so, very soon i will send money off to her in the name of navidad. and i hope it will help them stock up a bit on food and see to it that she can get what piero needs.

i have tried to call pavela also but did not reach her. she will be the sole contact i can have to send vitamins for the children in sipascancha, as carlos is not there. i am hoping it will work. i'll try her again tomorrow to set it up. way back when she was not one of the people i trusted there. while i liked her, there were situations that i had a sense something was up. but if she realizes i will pass on to carlos i'm sending vitamins and money, perhaps she will get these things to the families. and i guess one just has to have some faith.

things have been nice here. getting out a bit! my new friend steve and i went to an art opening of a friend of his. and one night to a "pink party". yes we were in pink. got to hear some music i have no experience with. he is like an encyclopedia of music. its cool to watch how animated he becomes when he shares this and that about a particular artist or music. he already has sparkly eyes, but they sparkle even more when he talks about music.

i had dinner with my boys and their dad last night. i love it when we get to be together. mica makes us all laugh. thanksgiving is coming and also josiah's birthday. hard to believe he'll be 25. wow. unfortunately he can't stay for the holiday. but, plans are for percy and terry to come from astoria, also mica, kate, ariel, beauvais and bob, and steve will be here too for our friday celebration. its nice to be with friends for the day. always i have liked thanksgiving more than christmas. and not because of all the food. just has been that way. i think its because in years past the boys would go off with their dad on christmas, and on thanksgiving, the boys and i were always together. while in this day and age it's difficult to be thankful for what seems out of our control and crazy, thank el dios for the love of friends and family, to simply have the food to share, a warm place to be, our health, to truly appreciate the tiniest of miracles present everyday, all those things we can take for granted, until we look under our nose and there they are....these are feelings no one can take away from us and simply become all the more precious when they are threatened.
so its 3PM. time to get ready for work.

Friday, November 11, 2005

so it's another day. and time for another jog. i wanted to add something in regards to my thoughts yesterday. when i send money to peru i wonder what good i am doing?? to do this makes ME feel better. less guilty for being here in the first world with so much at my fingertips. but, for example yesterday i sent some money down there via western union. chicho had some tuition to pay and no one in his family could help him. so i sent 200$ via western union. well he got robbed leaving the western union office! shit. so of course he still needs to pay it...

and i'm still trying to find someone to deliver vitamins to my godchildren there. the people usually set to do this are not in cusco right now. and good lord, there is NO way to mail them directly. right, yeah, can you imagine a package addressed to: "claudio maari quispe, la comunidad sipascancha alta, peru? " i don't think i ever saw anyone delivering mail way up there! besides the fact that when one mails a package there, a tax is added on for the receiver to pay and its quite expensive for them. where is carlos when i need him?! damn.

in regards to all this, i had asked chicho once, in my spanglish, was it such a good thing to be able to ask me for money? and to think back to when he would have never considered that. he didn't quite understand me. and when you break that pride, what do you create? i say this because there is a sort of pride i noticed of the peruvian people. it's like you manifest the fact that one exists above another and holds the power to change things. its a real quandry for me.

it is such a drag he suffers so, as do others. i mean just how many shitty things can happen to these people?? and while there are theorists such as paulo freire who really make sense, do people of a generation deserve to suffer while people such as he did try to, one person at a time, change the course of destiny??? i mean when i was there i don't know how many times i sadly realized life would likely not change for the children of sipascancha...not in their time...i hated that and still do. :( to actually know families and children, to picture them in your minds eye...to feel a sort of responsibility and to wonder if you are doing the best thing. it also needs mentioning that in spite of all they deal with, they are among the happiest people in the world. go figure.

i am remembering the little party the villagers had for me the last day i worked there. i had gotten up early expecting a busy market day. people came from all over the mountainside on wednesdays. so i come into the clinic and see tucked under the blanket on the bed, a churango and a sort of guitar. i think, what the hell are these doing here? well it got busy fast, so i gave it no more thought. it was a time everyone was sick with "la gripe". and as it sometimes happened, i had little or no medicines except paracetomol, ie., tylenol, and liter pop bottles of jarabe de hierbas, ie., an herbal syrup we had made for respiratory problems, that we daily fed by spoon to lines of kids at the school. and a mate or tea of eucalipto, ie., eucalyptus. so i am listening to lungs and feeling temperatures with my hand, and talking about covering ones mouth, doling the tea out to everyone, pouring jarabe in plastic bags. people are sharing the few cups i have. so the day was winding to a close and the people who weren't sick were coming to say goodbye. and then the "board, or the president and representatives of the community arrived to join everyone else. the music ensued. they had bought a couple bottles of cusquena, a local beer and the typical one plastic cup for everyone. we stood around, each person pouring a bit of beer, passing the bottle on, pouring a bit on the floor for "pachamama", and then toasting me, saying something incredibly sweet, genuine and in appreciation of me, then shaking the cup out so to pass on it on to the next, and it would follow....pour a bit, some to pachamama, and then the toast. ooooh, so sweet. we danced, domingo and i. juanita and i. and even the president had to have just one. gregorio, my sidekick there, a prometore del salud, playing sweet tunes. mis ahijaditos, my godchildren and their families bearing gifts of potatoes! of course i was balling by now! and as i walked out of the clinic...gregorio telling me he knew i was there because i loved them...and that he would never forget me. and domingo giving me this formal letter asking me please to talk to others about all they need, namely a vehicle to transport the sick to the distant doctor...
i stopped by the school, the children sang to me and adella and i cried somemore! adella saying, "no, olvidas los ninos, laurita..." "don't forget the children, laurita...."when i climbed into the truck, barbara, a woman who like so many there, suffered so much with too many children and not enough food, never yet to come really close to me or to even look into my eyes directly, hugged me. that did it...

yeah i will likely find some way to get the money for chicho and to send those vitamins...what else is a person to do??!! eeegads, sometimes i wish i could forget, but i just can't.

on a lighter side, last night i got a call from spain...oh, how i love to hear from that silly ramoncito. still waiting for his papers and living in barcelona. but still hopeful soon to live with some freedom and posibility of a better paying job. and grateful for what he does have. and still loving to hear my "vozito dulce"...my sweet voice. am i a sucker or what???

(don't answer that please!)

time to run again.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

good morning! it is a crystal clear day out there and l am drawn to go for a run. rather a jog. but first my espresso and usual scan of the news and this post.

since being in peru, i have discovered various news pages that interest me. and here i keep up with them rather than buy a paper. altho occasionally i will pick up the times. i like the BBC news page. particularly the photo essays. while much is reported that can leave on feeling quite distressed about the state of the world, their photo essays can be uplifting, esp when they look for the positive in the news. i like reading of people who in spite of tremendous difficulty make the most of their situations and come out the other side having made a difference. in fact today i read an essay of a village in nicaragua where there is a radio station run by women who are right at the front lines in confronting abuse via their radio broadcasts. its pretty amazing really. it comes out of 2 rooms in the middle of the jungle. they have a transmitter and even a computer. and they are actually teaching young girls to broadcast.

i also i visit baghdad burning and from there aljazeerah. i have the writer's book of the same name, baghdad burning, that has captured her earlier postings. she is incredibly succinct in her descriptions of the occupation. actually i've been reading alot lately, thanks to the springfield library. just finished a book by paulo coelho, "the valkyries". the one i read of his was some time ago, and in spanish, "once minutos", ie., "eleven minutes". about a young woman , i believe brazilian who leaves her country for europe so to make money, to yes, return to her beloved homeland. she becomes a prostitute, high end, and once minutos refers to how long it takes a frequent customer to ejaculate. and yes, there's more to it than that! it was her insights that struck me more than anything. really prefer to read his books in spanish. it brings up different images in my mind than in english. probably because i don't always understand everything exactly! i am then free to interpret more.

...back to favorite news sites... also i visit common dreams and am struck by occasional posts there esp, as they apply to latin america. speaking of which, i am reading of fujimori, now held in chile. peruvian friends of mine have mentioned his capture. but is he captured in jail or likely put up in some very nice hotel? likely the latter. my friends are not of the 17 percent who support his running for reelection. humm. i spoke to people about him while there, but truthfully it was hard to grasp all the spanish/history at the time. i saw a photographic display of that period in peru's history at plaza recoleta in cusco. black and white. it was stark. but he supposedly put an end to the terrorismo. but i guess he murdered many while he was at it and was attempting to take dictatorial control. he is being charged with crimes against humanity, among other things. and he has japan's backing. i wish i knew more of the history of this but truthfully don't. let alone not having been there through it. it's like people reading about bush, but not living through it. again images can get conjured up...opinions and facts and personal experience make it different than just reading about it. so there is even fuji-cola now in peru. inca-cola reigned as the favorite there, a sort of bubble gum tasting thing and yellow, very yellow. like pee. i will have to ask my friends what color fuji-cola is. he is reported to have chosen chile to stay until his opportunity to run for prez in about a year. there is also a border problem between chile and peru...funny he would choose there. and of course reading of chavez. my venezuelan friend brigido loves him as does his family in venezuela. but its interesting to read comments on various blogs that call him to be honest about his claims of turning the state of the poor around. again you have to be there i suppose. i got an announcement from global exchange in regards to a world forum being held there in january. he will be speaking. it would be cool to go....

when i read about latino america, i think about a book a friend had sent me while in peru by the famed educator paulo freire, "pedagogy of the oppressed". he was brazilian and had been exiled for educating the poor campesinos. his theories about true education of the poor were threatening to the powers that be/are. i was reading this at the time i was working in the village of sipascancha and would see what he wrote of. he didn't teach narrations, he rather aimed to teach them to critically think. i saw what he described in his book in my work. that being the campesinos automatically assuming even i was somehow above them. with an answer. and here they were living in situations i questioned if i could have ever survived. they were meek, never stood up straight when talking to me, as if they had to bow to me. what freire wrote of in terms of education was that true education allowed the people to critically think, particularly of their situations. he said over and over that without it the same behavior would be repeated: the oppressed assuming someone smarter than them, richer than them, anyone who seemed above them held solutions to their problems, not the people themselves. then of course whomever took power, perhaps evena formerly oppressed person, would take the place of the oppressor...

.."the peasant begins to get courage to overcome his dependence when he realizes that he is dependent. until then, he goes along with the boss and says, "what can i do? i'm only a peasant."

it seems in whatever society, there will be a point to keeping people down...and if one does not give them the tools, then they can stay right where the oppressor want them. even here.

so i suppose it is actually time to run, before i talk myself out of it.

buen dia!