Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Super Campo Lifestyle

We just passed 3 weeks in El Porvenir! Living in the campo takes some getting used to when you`re used to city life, but I am realizing just how awesome this experience is for us. Like one of my favorite bloggers Foodie Farmgirl, I have always dreamed of living in the country but really don`t have the fortitude to do it. The problem in my mind is how one makes a living so far outside economic centers. Peace Corps has at least momentarily solved that problem for us by providing a small stipend to live and work in the campo. I know that here we will learn all sorts of skills for living from scratch. So what have we been doing? Well.....

Current projects:
I (Cynthia) have been visiting the health post in the next casarillo getting to know the staff and learning about the health challenges facing the communities of El Porvenir and Querpon. People seem to mostly suffer from diarhea and respiratory infections. These happen acutely in a seasonal fashion - when it`s dry and hot and dusty, there`s more respiratory problems and when it`s rainy and flooded there`s more diarhea. The main causes for these illnesses is the lack of water. As an example, the water for our house is located a 1/2 hour walk away and fortunetly our family has their very own donkey and cart to carry the water back. This is done daily. When it is laundry day it is sometimes done twice. For families that don`t have a donkey or cart, they either pay someone to deliver it (about 1 sol per water container) or they haul it themselves on their backs. For those people who pay or haul it on their backs, they are VERY conservative with their water use, i.e. they don`t bath, wash they dishes or wash their hands as often as they should, etc. This is were the connection between diarhea and lack of water comes in. The other cause of diarhea in the rainy season, as far as I can tell, is the lack of latrines. People don`t have latrines to crap in, so they crap behind a bush or wherever out in the campo. When it rains, the feces (theirs and I imagine the animal feces) contaminate sources of drinking water. If people don`t boil their water ( or disinfect it in some other manner) they suffer from diarhea. So as you can see, there are some serious issues here in the campo. I am hoping that in my two years here I can help people to see the healthfulness of latrines, hand washing, bathing, etc. I also hope that I can facilitate the development of a better water system. We´ll see what happens.

People are incredibly kind to us. Everyone wants to feed us and have us visit them. We are trying to comply but the heat sort of make functioning in the afternoon and major challenge, for us especially, but also for most everyone else. The sensible place to be between the hours of 1pm and 4pm is in a hammock under a big shady algarrobo tree or mango tree. Still, around 4pm, people start to come out of their houses and socialize. It`s a good time to catch up on the gossip or chat about the heat. Everyone asks what we`ll be doing for Navidad and are surprised to hear that we are sticking around. Yep, we`ll be here too with ya`ll eating turkey, pantone and drinking hot chocolate. That, by the way, is apparently what everyone in northern Lambayeque and perhaps all of Perú eat on Christmas - in case you were wondering.

Back to the heat, though, since it is a major topic of conversation for us these days. By 9am, if it`s not 90F it`s a miracle. Knock on wood, it hasn`t gotten over 98F. I pray for cloudy days because it so far hasn`t gotten over 88F on those days. And people, it`s not even summer yet!! Dan & I laughed the other day when we realized how cool and refreshing 85F felt. If JR or Malia is reading this - I think we might be ready for Hawaiin weather. At this rate, 70F will feel mighty chilly!

We want to wish ya`ll fabulous, super rico holidays. We miss you and think of you often. Please write to us and send us something to hang on our wall. Here`s our current address:

Our names/Cuerpo de Paz
Casilla Postal No. 208
Serpost Chiclayo
Chiclayo, Lambayeque



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey guys! Is there a zip code? Much love,


8:08 AM  
Blogger Cynthia & Dan said...

Hi MB -
No zip code! Just write it exactly as you see it!


8:01 AM  

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