Saturday, 17 January 2009

Que paso?

It has been a very busy fwe days, but interesting. I am settling into a sort of routine and blending in with the relaxed pace of life, enjoying the friendliness of the Piruanos and observing the many differences.

I have had my first 'helping' sessions at Hogar Anita Goulden. This is a home for children aged between 5 and 16 with physical and learning disabilities. It includes a very varied range of children from those only with only problems associated with walking to some children who are profoundly disabled both mentally and physically. There are 21 living here and 20 staff working in shifts. At the moment it is school vacations so those that would normally attend school mostly remain at the home. Everyone is very kind and the home is a caring and loving environment. Myself and 2 young volunteers from Europe take the older children for a walk in the park with their wheelchairs. The rest of the time I try and engage with the children and add some minimal distraction to their day and by now have invested in some counters and plasticine.

On returning from the home there are some neighbors in the street harvesting fruit of a Tamarind tree. This is a tropical specimen and its fruit is acidic and is used in many sauces including Worcester Sauce. They are friendly and offer to give me a bag full but I take a few to try.

Later I attend my first university session. I arrived in good time and am surprised by the scale and opulence of the site. It is very green with extensive buildings, some deer and pavos reales (peacocks). Shirley, my teacher is very nice, age 28 and 5 months pregnant – her husband also teaches on the campus. 2 other students arrive, Sebastian and Audrey – they are a couple from Korea and have been here about a year. The names are not their real ones but assumed for ease of integration. They have 2 children who speak more Spanish than Korean. Sebastian is a GP practising as a volunteer through and organisation called Koica. They seem very nice.

The next day I ride my bike back to Catacaos and on a bit further to the Pre-hispanic Tallan capital at Narihuala. This comprises a small museum and extensive adobe ruins. I think I enjoyed getting there as much as the visit but the site is interesting and the Tallan, coastal people, had their own language which possibly gives rise to the distinctive accent in Piura. It was also a Matriarchy. On the journey I stopped to talk to some rice farmers and was somewhat surprised by this form of agriculture. I seemed to be the only cyclists on the road between Piura and Catacaos and this elicited quite a bit of encouragement and friendly hand waves.

Back in Catacaos I stopped for some Chincha but was served the hard stuff so fearful of my stomach I only had a little and paid double to cover my embarrassment at leaving so quickly. In town I found a taller to check over my bike. He re-set the cotter pin, adjusted the wheel, raised the seat and oiled the chain. We had quite a chat but despite being the father of 4 he wouldn't accept any payment. This kind of kindness make up for being robbed and gives one hope. Later, I got a bit ripped off in paying for some punctures to be repaired this was at a roadside repair hut – I was surprised by the inner tube which probably had 50 or so patches already!


Stuart said...

You seem to be having an excellent experience. I too really liked the Catacaos area, there was a lot of cotton being grown there when I passed through.

Be sure to check out the restaurant called "Esta es mi tierra" and order Seco de Chavelo. And what did I tell you about those chifles piuranos? amazing no?

Anonymous said...

is it John Peel???

malarkey said...

Excellent, you got it in one!