Louise’s experience

HUANCAN.
9TH of April 2014

It has been three weeks now since I have moved to Huancan. A village only 20 minutes away from the dense and overwhelming Huancayo, where the extreme of old and new clash blatantly and that seems to expand faster than it can carry. Huancan seems decades away from Huancayo.
The first night I arrived in my host family I sat, eating my juice of seeds, on the kitchen table in front of 4 women in a row. Speaking Quechua to each other, but nevertheless not turning their eyes for a second from my white face. Obviously heavily discussing my presence, they finished every sentence with Gringa, the only word that I could understand. After this quite “exceptional” welcoming dinner, the days have turned into weeks easily and the firstly exotic way of living has now become my own. Of course with from time to time still some shocks of difference.
For the first weeks I worked together with a co-volunteer in both the elementary and secondary school of Pachachaca, a village 500 meters higher than Huancan and completely detached from everything that I would have called the modern world. In the beginning I was astonished that nobody knew Europe, or Asia to say. China yes, because there is the comida Chufa. And in which continent are we? Arequipa maybe? But at the same time the living forms and culture have amazed me, as the respect and gratitude with which people take up their lives, treat each other and the nature around them.
Concerning the volunteering itself, I feel that own initiative and positive energy is the only way to overcome the sometimes shocking unstructured school system, that in the beginning turned me quite sad and fruitless. But at the same time there are all the possibilities to start up own initiatives and projects and what you give, you get back double in return!

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