Peru or Bust, one couple's journey to represent USA abroad and aid in ways small and large.

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Archive for August 2014

March for Maternal Lactation..

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Very good cause, why not get the kindergarten involved?

Andrea and the health post are proud supporters of taking the boob, for at least the first 6 months of life.

Andrea and the health post are proud supporters of taking the boob, for at least the first 6 months of life.

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Written by galbavy

August 31, 2014 at 7:49 am

Posted in Andrea, Civic

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New Capture and Dam Clean..

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Municipality is doing something to guarantee cleaner piped water in the future, because this month workers are putting the finishing touch to a new spring-box or water capture box from a little creek near where the normal dam capture is taking water for the community. The idea is that in times of highly turbulent water in the main ‘ojo de molino’ river (during the rainy season), the dam capture will be shut off and water going to the community would mainly come from the small creek. See pictures below..

 

Also, tons of sand and sediment get caught up behind the dam that’s used to feed into the sedimentation tanks. The only way to try to clean out from behind this structure is to first drain some of the water (see below), then go in with shovels and buckets.

Drain the dam to get at the sediment behind it.  It all takes alot of time and folks willing to get messy.

Drain the dam to get at the sediment behind it. It all takes alot of time and folks willing to get messy.

Written by galbavy

August 24, 2014 at 7:16 am

Posted in Water System

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These Boots are Made for Dancing..

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Yep, these boots..

Yep, these boots..

Molinopampa is a cow town like no other.  The residents are born into the lifestyle and a good number stay and develop an insane passion for waking in the wee hours of the morning to milk, walking 1-2 hours several times a day to a remote field where they need to move cows to eat fresher grass, and spending weekends at the cow market discussing the differences between breeds (or cow ‘races’ as they call them).  And here is the footwear that all the Molinopampan cowboys are required to wear:

Cheap, easy to use, and do the job in whatever conditions..

Cheap, easy to use, and do the job in whatever conditions..

Though you can rarely find rubber boots in sizes above 42 (about a size 8 1/2 or 9 in USA), I’ve enjoyed wearing this type of footwear around and find it almost more comfortable then leather and lace-up boots (for anything out in this region: walking long distances, wading through swampy bog, riding horses, jumping walls and crawling under fences, etc).  When asking Peruvians about leather boots, they mostly tell me that they’ve heard that the US does this and always wonders why they do.  They say that the stiffer soles would be horrible and slippery for any kind of uneven terrain, and the leather would gradually start tearing when rubbing up against sharp rocks and barb-wire).

I’m not trying to criticize the western cowboy with leather boots, big hat and fancy belt buckle, but I didn’t realize until spending soo much time around these professional cow people, how much the culture in middle America has to do with branding and image.  Plus, maybe I’m kinda jealous that I can’t really dance like this:

(I also hope I didn’t verge on writing a diary entry with this post..)

Written by galbavy

August 23, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Posted in Cultural Adjustment, USA

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Barro Especial..

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This recipe seems to be the best we’ve found to create a layer of special mud (‘barro especial’) inside the combustion chamber of the cookstove.  It takes about 8 days to dry solid but after which the user of the cocina has a great surface to burn whatever size fire they’d like.  Lasts quite awhile as well, since using this for over a year in our area we have yet to run into problems.  Being that there’s no trade secrets here in Peru, I present to you the secret recipe.

1. 1/2 large bucket (‘Cil’ or Oil bucket, 20L) of smooth clay soil (‘Greda’).. make sure it’s smooth and kneaded and you remove by hand all rocks.

2. 1/2 large bucket of fresh cow poop, or better yet, older cow poop that’s been humid or sitting in water for at least a couple weeks (mix into the smooth soil).

3. 1/2 large bucket of sand, make sure to sieve to remove any large chunks or rocks.

Yup, sand.

Yup, sand.

4. 1/3 large bucket of ash, from their regular stove; this you also want to sieve because they’re often be nails from the wood or large chunks of ‘carbon’ or charcoal chunks.

Pure ash is hard to come by, ditch the carbon chunks and metal pieces.

Pure ash is hard to come by, ditch the carbon chunks and metal pieces.

5. 4 tops of chancaca , make sure to melt this ahead of time with 1L of water to have a ‘miel’ or honey or liquid to pour into the mix hot (keep mixing by hand to have a smooth uniform paste).

6. 1kg (or 1L, or 1/4 of a small bucket) of wood glue, you can often find this ‘cola’ for about 20 soles a bucket and this little amount is enough for one cocina.

Dump in just a bit, 1/4 of small pale is all you need.

Dump in just a bit, 1/4 of small pale is all you need.

7. 1/3 large bucket of clippings or sawdust from a chainsaw, this is important that it’s the thick cuttings and NOT sawdust.  These clippings are to substitute for the hay or ‘paja’ and will spread out in the mix easier then anything else.

Once all prepped, toss this on the inside of the cocina anywhere heat will be exposed and save a bit of the excess to give to the family.

While drying the inside of the cocina will start to split a little bit and the family can use the excess to patch or smooth out the small cracks.  As mentioned, in 8 days it should be dry and solid enough to fire up and start enjoying the cocina mejorada.

Written by galbavy

August 8, 2014 at 8:57 pm

Posted in Improved Cookstoves

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July Cocinas, and the ball keeps rolling..

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As expected, as families start enjoying their cookstoves, more families now what one in their own kitchens.  Only problem is time and funding are limiting factors and we’ll do what we can to build in the kitchens something that they will use and enjoy.  Fortunately, Cocinas Peru; a program from the national government has swept into town and thrown together quite a number of smaller Inkawasi / Inkahuasi type models for random families (but done nicely in mostly brick).

Written by galbavy

August 6, 2014 at 6:28 am

Posted in Improved Cookstoves

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Peruvian Independence Day 2014 Style..

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Though it was very much like last year, it was a event not to be missed: the celebrations for this years Fiestas Partias (or ‘Homeland Party’ or Peruvian Independence Day).  Started the weekend before the Independence day (on July 28th), and Andrea has posted quite a number of photos from the events, but here is a bit of my impressions:

Farol or Lanterns the Night Before..  really fun to march in the streets with little kids and fire chanting about how great Peru is.  Sandwiches and hot chocolate to follow.

 

Parade.. And the school and institution marching in front of authorities right after the flag raising.  Going to miss seeing this kind of order from elementary school kids.

This ‘parade’ was also an opportunity to dress small kids up in costumes of historical figures or the country’s president.  Some kids could barely walk but their folks had them out there contributing.

Also, found a very good summary of how Peruvians (and all of us visitors to the country) are required to drink their beers..  shared With others and often not very cold I would say, but these rules from Deborah Vacs during her Fiestas Patrias post give a good impression of how it’s done..

HOW TO DRINK BEER IN PERU

As in lots of places, drinking is a big part of the festivities for many people. Some people take swigs of hard liquor (like pisco or cañazo) but most people in Santiago drink beer together in a standard ritual I and many other volunteers refer to as the “Beer Circle”. The rules of the Beer Circle are as follows:

1. For every circle there is usually one bottle of beer and one communal glass. Sometimes if the circle gets really big there are multiple bottles and multiple glasses but the ratio of glass to bottle is always 1:1.

2. Drinking is only done from the glass – never from the bottle.

3. Each person in turn pours some beer into their cup (or has it poured for them) passes the bottle to the next person in the circle and raises the cup to the circle before drinking.

4. After drinking each person empties out the foam/backwash onto the ground before passing the cup to the next person.

5. In general, if you are in the circle you cannot pass on the beer. My strategy when I don’t want to drink anymore is to pour very little into my cup and throw most of it away without drinking. I know this is wasting beer but I’ve never seen anyone react negatively to this as they do when I refuse more beer.

Written by galbavy

August 5, 2014 at 7:58 am

Posted in Civic, Kids

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New Peace Corps Group Coming Soon..

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Thus, I was asked and happily put together a set of welcome videos..  Fortunately had the chance to shave and shower since quickly filming these..

Written by galbavy

August 3, 2014 at 10:07 pm

Posted in Improved Cookstoves

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