Thursday, July 30, 2009
Monday we held our last class of the month and made plastic swans. Attendance was low, due to the Independence Day festivities. But, the women that came had a great time. Plastic swans, I know, it sounds a little cheesy. Cheesy sells here in Peru. These swans are a hit at parties. I had a number of women tell me that they are going to make more for their friends and families, including for a wedding coming up in August.
On the topic of cheesy (sorry, I get this humor from my Dad) and Independence Day (on a more personal note), my sweetheart Hugo and I went to the 'country' fair yesterday. Hugo was participating in a cheese sculpture contest, the first of it's kind in Cajamarca. It reminded me of summer Minnesota state fair days when you go into the dairy barn and see butter sculptures of the Dairy Queens. So on that note I wish you all reminders of wonderful memories where ever your summer days make take you, however cheesy they may be.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Paz ~ Nora
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Tomorrow when I look out my window and see no minivans or combis and only mototaxis the rumor will come true of the extended strike. It has been like a pilgrimage everyday. I see groups of women, men, children walking down the highway because there is no transportation. From the little bit I understand the strike is going on because of changes in the law that do not favor folks that live off of public transportation (for example, a new law states that you can not have standing passengers in your bus or combi, which is an everyday phenomenon here). Will keep you posted, that is after I make my pilgrimage to the office tomorrow.
Paz ~ Nora
Sunday, July 19, 2009
About mid way through the session the women had a difficult time hearing Tula speak because the construction workers entered into Santo's kitchen to work on her stove. It was great that they were there to make some progress, it just happened to be bad timing for the educational session. Regardless, everyone walked away from the session with their health homework and new information about the health of their family members.
Santos is pictured here in her kitchen while the construction workers make some advances on her stove.
Paz ~ Nora
Friday, July 17, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Paz ~ Nora
Friday, July 10, 2009
I am ready for a roller coaster break this weekend. Some time to be still and not move in one direction or the other.
Paz ~ Nora
Thursday, July 2, 2009
This is one of 15 houses I visited yesterday. As I went to bed last night I couldn't help but think about the bedrooms of our families; some of them with wooden walls, some with tin scraps, some with plastic so that the wind doesn't enter. Humbling and inspiring that change can happen in these little places.
Paz ~ Nora
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Santos is pictured here with two of her children in front of her humble house - She has made many improvements; including separating her children's bedroom space with a simple curtain and preparing her stove bed.
Tula is motivating one of our families by examinig their house homework list.
Health and Hope do mix. Today I spent the day with Tula, our amazing health promoter with GyC, who took me on an all day tour of 1/2 of our families in the health project to see our progress and some roadblocks. It was a very eye opening experience and at the end of the day, although my shoulders and feet hurt, I was deeply grateful to be surrounded by Tula's positive energy and encouragement and be witness to our families small and big advances.
Our 30 families have been preparing for the big day on Sunday - when they receive their materials for the mud stoves. Each family had to prepare the "bed" of the stove by placing mud bricks strategically in the appropriate corner of their kitchens. Some of our families have very humble kitchens, made out of wood pieces and covered in plastic, which made the construction of their bed a bit difficult. However, despite the humblest conditions, the families have prepared their kitchen walls for paint, evened-out floors, created new doorways into their kitchens and most importantly prepared their stove bed.
Granted, there are a couple of families that are a little behind on their homework. Some of our families have husbands that can only work on their stoves on Sundays, their one day off. This makes it difficult to advance with the family promise to complete their part of the house homework as part of the project. Some of the men in our families have problems with alcohol and on their day off they aren't present to help. There are economic roadblocks - the money to buy a $1 plastic curtain to separate the parents and children bedroom space isn't readily available; sometimes there isn't even money for the kids to take the bus to school activities. Situations that would pain your heart and put tears in your eyes.
One of the families that is participating in the project is a family of 9 that lives in one very small bedroom and cooks in a small, dark kitchen. But let me tell you this family has already made their "hygiene" corner and cleaned up all their books and clothes that used to be all over the floor and have now found their own clean place in the bedroom they all share. These are topics that Tula hasn't covered yet in her health sessions, but one of the family members that went on our Health field trip earlier this month was inspired to start working on improvements on their house. I saw these type of improvements in the humblest of houses; small houses with wooden walls with spaces in between, but order and cleanliness take top priority.
Situations are difficult. There are excuses. There isn't money. There isn't time. But, there are also improvements. And in the eyes on the little kiddos I saw today I know that this project, our support, and all of Tula's endless work weeks has a grand purpose. We are taking little steps towards better health. Better health doesn't happen overnight, in one month or even in two. In happens through relationships, confidence, learning, and small steps. And I can reassure you that we are on the road to better health.
Paz and Salud ~ Nora