Saturday, 3 September 2011

First Week!

All the Peru girls at the airport

 Me and Ebay

So much to say, so little time! Bit of a kerfuffle at Miami airport on the way to Lima with immigration. I still have my American residence card from when I lived in America, and sent them an e-mail to check I didn´t need to apply for a waiver to pass through the US, which they said I didn´t. But when I got to the airport in London, they said I might run into some trouble at Miami so the head immigration guy put a note on the system to ok me going through as long as I surrendered my American residency card, which was fine by me. When I got to Miami, they took my passport off me and put it in a blue file and asked me to que up and wait to be seen by the lady. After I waited, answered some questions with her, she sent me into the immigration room. After another long wait followed by being taken into an interrogation room and questioned again for ages, I only had 40 minutes to catch the connecting flight to Lima, and Miami airport is fucking big. So I ran about 3 miles, got held up at security and ran from there on bare foot, arriving with 10 minutes left till departure. All the girls were waiting for me, it was very sweet, they'd said they decided to wait 5 more minutes before they boarded. I literally can´t believe my luck. Anyway, apart from bit of drama, that the journey was fine and all the girls ended up at a hostel in Lima. The next day we spent the morning at the British Embassy doing some last bits of paperwork, then to Claro to get Peruvian sim cards and credit, but I still haven´t figured out how to make mine work! All the girls went out for lunch then back to the hostel for happy hour! It was really nice to spend some time with all the Peru girls, because we'll probably not see them again until Christmas/New Year time.

Lima - taken from the top floor of British Embassy

We left for our projects on Sunday morning around 6.00am, which was a bit scary. As soon as we got there we just dropped off our bags, had breakfast with the boys and then had a grand tour from Hermano Hugo. Ciudad is massive, it´s more like a city than an orphanage. There´s roughly 300 boys there at the moment, who are split up into houses depending on their age. I´m working with Niño Jesus, which is boys aged 3-6 and Evies working at Sonrisa, which is boys aged 7-9. They´re so cute, I love them all already, but they´re obsessed with my watch and keep fiddling with the buttons so I´ll never know what time it is again. On site at the orphanage though there´s a church, a farm with pigs and chickens, a bakery, a cobblers, a babers, a carpenters, an amplitheatre, a tuck shop, a school with 1,000 pupils, housing for all the boys and a big dining hall. Me and Evie are staying in an apartment, which is quite nice, a lot better than I expected. We have a living room that doesn´t look lived in at the moment, but I´m sure it will after time, then a bathroom and a bedroom. There´s three bunkbeds in it, but at the moment it´s just me and Ebay staying there. Apparently there´s a German girl coming soon who´s going to live with us for most of the year.

Our monday to friday routine starts at 5.40am when I go to Niño Jesus for cleaning before breakfast, then breakfast, finish off cleaning, take the boys to school, then to morning mass. We get from around 8 - 1.15 for free time, then lunch, cleaning, folding washing, homework, showertime, naptime, dinner, mass then finish work around 8/9ish after they're all tucked in and have finished their homework. Saturdays we have free and then we´re back to work on Sunday at 5.00pm to get the boys ready for mass. Genearlly for breakfast we have two or three breadrolls and sweet coffee, or a runny porridgey type thing. Then for lunch it´s a sweet fruit drink, a soup and pasta, rice, beans or lentils usually with meat for main, and the same thing for tea minus the soup. The hermanas are really nice at Ninos Jesus! Anita is really keen to learn English so we´ve decided to do some lessons. A couple of boys have got something like chicken pox at the moment though, we haven´t figured out exactly what it is yet, so they´re pretty exhausted at the moment, but so lovely.

Tanya, one of the American volunteers that´s working at Niño Jesus has taken us under her wing and shown us how to do things properly and taken us to the market kinda thing. I think it was the third day we were here when we walked up to the local market. I thought we were staying in Miraflores but it turns out San Juan de Miraflores is a completely different area, and is one of the most dangerous in Lima, Lonely Planet advises travellers to avoid it! Feeling like a bit of an idiot! But to be honest, I´ve not seen anything dodgey at all and all the people have been really lovely so far. Touch wood. Everything´s pretty cheap, and DVDs are only 2.50 soles each! We got our first mototaxi back as well which was pretty exciting. We caught the bus up to the supermarket and bought some bits and peices - some bread, loo roll, that kind of thing. Then today, me and Evie caught the bus to Barranco for lunch. We´ve just had our first plate of Cerviche, which was yum yum, then later we´re going to a bar round the corner for some cervezas y pisco sours to celebrate our birthday!

Had a bit of a run in with Hermano Hugo on one of the first days here. He´d been on my facebook and seen I´m 'in a civil partnership' with Sammy and said it was inappropriate and could I please remove it - he said if I kept if on, it may give Ciudad a bad reputation and people would start to talk if they saw it. He didn't even stop to ask me if I really was in a relationship with her, just immediately that I had to take it off. I was pretty upset and shocked by that, because I´m just not used to that kind of unacceptance towards gay people. There's a fine line between a difference in  culture and just being homophobic. I told him he´d offended me, but that I understood, which in retrospect was probably a bit bold as he´s the director, I´d only just started, and I should respect the cultural differences, but I couldn´t just say nothing. So not too sure what I´m going to do about that yet!

I´ve not really got this whole being abroad and successfully contacting home thing down yet, but will try and sort that out. Was planning on sending letters to keep in contact with people but it's 7 soles just for a light letter or post card and the postal service is really unreliable here! If you do want to send anything here, my address is:

Hannah Moffatt
Ciudad de los Ninos
Av. Pedro Miotta 180
San Juan de Miraflores

Bottoms up to anyone who´s read up to here in my ramblings! Lots and lots of love, Moffy xxxxxx

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