Hello from sunny Peru! I was SO thrilled to leave snowy Boston for summertime in South America (I’ve heard from family that Boston has had at least 3 storms since I’ve been gone, what a great winter to travel!)
Peru has been amazing and overwhelming in all the ways you’d expect international travel to be. I consider myself to be an intermediate Spanish speaker, with four years of high-school Spanish and a year of Rosetta Stone and practice with friends, but there is nothing like total immersion to help you learn! I’ve had my mistakes, but we are very fortunate to be traveling with another SkillCorps member who is fluent in Spanish and always willing to help out. I have to say that although I was incredibly intimidated initially, I’ve really enjoyed practicing my Spanish and trying to figure out different, easy ways to convey my messages.
Another of the amazing things about Lima is the food! I have a very hard time remembering the names of the foods so I’ve started to keep a list. Favorites include: causa con pollo (a potato dish, mine was with chicken but it could be with anything else like crab or beef), picaronnes (something similar to fried dough that you dip in a delicious sauce), chiffa (Chinese Peruvian fusion – who knew??), and chicha morada (essentially purple corn juice). The last SkillCorps trip team recommended crepes, and our trip leader Sara has recommended a fruit that is called grenadia (sp?) which has been described to me as the most delicious fruit on the planet but that on the inside looks like a booger – we’ll see how that goes!
And of course, there are about a million things to say about Alcanzando, where we are working these two weeks. I have been incredibly impressed with this amazing team of clinicians, children, and families. This first week has been all about learning the ropes of the center, and going to homes with the Alcanzando supervisors. We will be holding workshops on Thursday and Friday of this week to teach the staff skills that will help them and their students excel even more than they already are. The most interesting part for me is to see how although there are definitely plenty of cultural differences, behavior is universal, we all behave, and getting to experience and teach Applied Behavior Analysis here in Peru has been an incredible experience so far. The staff at Alcanzando has been so welcoming and enthusiastic. They are really doing amazing work with the kids, the passion and dedication that they demonstrate is truly inspiring. I am entirely thrilled to be here in Peru and am looking forward to all that we will help accomplish.