Welcome to Villa El Salvador, a beautiful borough of Lima that’s been housing me for the past month, where we’ve got beautiful sunsets and beautiful hearted people.

Where we love dancing and theatre groups and you can find dance groups practicing in the street any hour of the night.

Where we live in the desert next to the ocean so half our roads are sand and your feet will be permanently dusty when you come to visit.

(care for our plants, care for our nature)

Where we’ve got the most numerous street dog’s you’ll ever see and the nicest too.

Where our buses are filled too far over capacity and we definitely make right-hand turns from the left lane. Where we drive on the sidewalk often to avoid speed bumps and we hop onto moving busses even more often. Where we know stop lights are just a suggestion and we know two lane roads can really be as many lanes as you want them to be if you’re dedicated enough.

Where our street food is beyond compare and we always get snacks when we’re walking.

Where we’ve got energetic kids and a lot of time to play between siesta and dinner.

Welcome to Villa El Salvador, where when you come, you’ll never want to leave.

Deportes y Vida

The school system here and Peru is very different then the school system back in the States. They have public and private schools but they also have schools are funded by GNOs or even other countries. The school I am at is technically a private school, but private schools here may only cost $10 a month for a student. I am pretty confused by the whole system and won’t make an attempt here to explain it. But all this to say, the fact that I am at a private school is only marginally important in what I am about to explain, but worth mentioning for clarity’s sake.

Our school serves students who don’t necessarily live around this area of the school. Since this school is technically private, parents from wherever can send their kids here. Some of our kids live within walking distance of the school but some of them get dropped off by their parents in the morning. This elementary school has an afterschool program which serves the community, not necessarily the same students as those who attend the school, however some of them overlap.

(Recycle, sow seeds, and progress.)

This afterschool program is called Deportes y Vida (Sports and Life), and aims to help teach students. Every day kids from the neighborhood can come and get help with homework, and then they learn about how to play sports. It is a great way to get the students involved in the community with their peers and also a way for the school to serve the community outside of school hours. Teachers from the school, and some other community members, help to run the program. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we go to help teach volleyball which is a blast! I usually get to work with the little little ones, 3-6ish. They are really so adorable and it gets to combine two things I love- volleyball and playing with kids.

This program is really awesome and makes full use of the school’s resources in the afternoons when us would usually just be sitting there unused. I am loving getting to know these kids and community members!

(Boys and girls united for a community of solidarity)

Vamos a la Selva

I took a weekend trip with the uni students of the house to the forest this weekend! We went just on the other side of the Andes Mountains where the Amazon meets the mountains. It was very rainforest-y but with mountains too! It was super amazingly green and awesome to be back in the mountains again.

We went to some super fun waterfalls and drank some AMAZING coffee. This weekend made me super glad to be living with people who love to travel and are willing to endure overnight busses and jammed packed weekends to have fun and see as much as we can while we are here.

Stay tuned for our next whirlwind weekend trip.

Getting Started

This week I’ve felt like I’ve been more a part of things. The first week was full of new things every day, and this week has felt like more of a routine. I’ve continued going with the English and Music teacher to each classroom throughout the week and I’ve started to remember some of the 200 student’s names. In music we’ve been practicing dances and songs for the Christmas celebration at the end of the school year right before summer break. And in English we’ve been working on various grammar concepts such as: -ing verbs, can and cannot, and simple present tense.

Last weekend, on our camping trip with the sixth grade, we had so so much fun! I loved chatting with the girls in their cabin and sharing stories. We planned lots of games and fun activities for them and it really was a blast. We all had loads of fun. I brought the card game Dutch Blitz (a Downing Family staple) and they LOVED it! We played all weekend.

On Tuesday, we celebrated Dia de Los Derechos del Niño (The Day of Child Rights). We acted out two skits of children with and without rights (e.g. care, food, health) as well as the deberes (obligations) of kids (e.g. studying, helping their parents, sharing). The kiddos thought it was hilarious and I loved acting for them even though I was nervous doing it in Spanish. I got to play the girl who didn’t do any of her deberes and just played all the time instead of helping her mother or doing her homework.

As some of you may know, Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday and I was super bummed to be missing it. Well the sixth grade teacher here at the school is who I am staying with and he sent all his sixth graders to run down the hall to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving. It really meant a lot to me.

These last few pictures are just some things we’ve been doing this week: practicing walking on stilts at a theatre program, the market, and some photos with some kiddos.

(I’ve gotten permission to use photos of students with their faces)

Settling In

This first week has been such a great start to my time here. Thankfully, I came in late Friday night, so I had the weekend to catch up on sleep and hang it before I had to start waking up early for school Monday.

This week has been a settling in of routines and figuring out just what I’m doing here so I’ll give a overview of my time here just like my week was.

I am staying in a region of Lima called Villa El Salvador. It is a little bit outside the city and is the poorest region. This region has a rich history of resilient people thrown out into this land in the seventies after political turmoil caused Lima to be overpopulated by immigrants from the Andes region. Soon the shanty town developed and is now a thriving community of almost half a million. Slowly, this region gets more and more essentials from the national government such as running water, electricity, and paved roads. I am living with a teacher from the elementary school where I am doing my internship. There are also three uni students from Spain staying with us in the home who are volunteering at the school and doing some other projects around the city.

The school serves students three years old through sixth grade. There classes for: 3 year old, 4s, 5s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th. Each classroom has two teachers up through 3rd grade. I am working with the English/ Music teacher; so each week we see each class once a week for Music and once a week for English. So far, I have been helping out and observing how things are done here at the school. (The blue portion of the building is the school.)

After school gets out at 2 o’clock, the five of us walk down the street to have lunch with another teacher. At her house, we take naps and then go to a few different places in the afternoons. Some days we go to a local theater group for kids that is run by a friend of our host family. This week, the students were preparing for a circus show they put on for another region in Villa El Salvador. We all bussed over and the students put on a wonderful show for the kiddos.

Some days after lunch and naps, we do to an orphanage and help the students with homework and play with them. Other days, we walk back up to the school and help teach volleyball to the neighborhood kids through an after school program.

I am really loving the opportunity to get involved in the community here behind the school and I am super excited to keep sharing with you all! This is just a little overview of what I think my next few weeks will be like, but who knows? It might change around 😊

Touch Down

After quite a bumpy flight out of the storm surrounding Atlanta yesterday, I have landed here in Lima. I was picked up late last night by my host family and some other university students from Spain.

Today we went to the market to buy food for lunch and there were chickens hanging from stalls. Whole chickens with their heads and feet and all, plucked clean of feathers. Markets are one of my favorite places when I visit foreign countries because shopping is just so different elsewhere than in the United States.

After the market, we went to a park in the center of town. Inside the park was a little zoo which was very comical and pointed to some more obvious ways I was in a different place. There were chickens and ducks wandering around all over the place. Coming up to people, going in other animal’s cages, all sorts of things. The other thing which was hilariously and vastly different were the cages to keep animals in. In the second picture you can see the fencing around the cows, which by US standards is pretty much non-existent.

Things are going well and I’m settling in. I can’t wait for school to start so I can meet all the kiddos.

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me in my journey! I am just shy of a week out. I feel like I have so much to do and so little time to do it. I am wrapping up my internship here in North Carolina and heading down South to Peru until Christmas!

I have the wonderful opportunity to teach and observe at a school in Lima, Peru for six weeks. I will be living there with another teacher from the school just learning what life is like. For those of you who know me, you know travel has been a passion of mine for a long, long time, and you know of my desire to live abroad. I could not be more excited to get this show in the road and head out on a long plane ride to see what is in store for me. I am definitely nervous about communicating only in Spanish and nervous because I am not totally sure what I am getting myself into, but here’s hoping it all works out.

Thanks for tuning in and traveling this journey with me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

flight flying plane air travel
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