Sunday, April 10, 2011


I am at the end of a wonderful weekend of learning. Sunday night…and I wonder what you are doing in your own spaces and places? If there was a word that best sums up the vacillating emotion of this journey, it would be “vulnerability.” And by this, I mean the entire continuum of emotion that is contained in that one amazing word! Vulnerable: · heart open to the beauty of different culture · exposure to being completely physically different and constantly watched · routine = non routine · the known no longer known · contact with total poverty and (non)perspective by being among it · worry for safety at times · connotation of being an American (woman), the good, bad, amazing, and ugly · fullness in seeing opportunity light up lives · practicing (sometimes choppy) language to connect across experiences · heart open to the spiritual journey (and heart fighting spiritual journey) Friday night ended with a visit to our newest village bank of women, Madre Dolorosa. Outside of town in Nuevo Cajamarca, this amazing group of women joined together to open a cooperative restaurant with their microloans. I really enjoyed hearing them tell their stories of their own vulnerability… once being embarrassed to sell anything and now standing strong as a group who serves daily lunch menu out of their collective restaurant. Desiree is the “madrina” (godmother) of the new space and participated in a blessing for the positive growth of the restaurant; this speaks to me of the trust that women have for her. I held the newest child of the group, Daniella, who must have been less than one year. She smelled like an innocent and pure heart, and made me feel comforted holding her thinking that all over the world, new lives hold that utmost beauty. Just as a week of intense work ended, I looked forward to a pisco sour, the specialty drink of Peru (colorless grape brandy). I was shut down by the country’s “ley seca” (dry law). Who knew! This weekend happened to be the Presidential elections and for 3 full days, not a drop of alcohol could be sold or drank without a steep fine for businesses or jail time to eliminate the violence of political disagreement. Most people took the party to their homes, and I found myself playing a game of indoor soccer with a young teen boy who didn’t know that the women in my family are serious soccer chicks. I’m happy to report— game ended with 2-1, my win (a proud moment and hurt knee from a concrete floor slide tackle)…and an evening of conversation with women about the challenges of being a woman in a very macho society. Nevertheless, the elections made for an intriguing weekend of observation…as any election of a country leader would be. After firework explosions, virgin blessings, and rallies in the streets, the front runner is Ollanta Humala, a left leaning Nationalist party guy and Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori who is now in prison for his corruption against the Peruvian people. Just as we all sit and argue, agree, and wonder…well the same goes ‘round the world. Des and I enjoyed an evening at Usha Usha, a live music jam session where anyone is free to be a part of the musical creation. Melodic harmony brings people from all over the world to experience this place and Don Jaime, the owner and leader jam guitarist is a legend in town (and Lonely Planet). Des and I broke out a couple of our own tunes when they asked us to sing in English. I must say, we did a pretty good rendition of “More than Words” by Extreme (thanks to years of sister harmony in my household). I think we were forgiven for our “Hey Jude”, well at least they didn’t know what we were singing. I am much stronger with the 80’s and memories of the highest hair in the world. I went to the “mall!” today, which didn’t exist here back when I lived here in 2004-06. It is super captivating to watch people see a single escalator for the first time (there is only a single person up ride, not a down). Some of the campesinos (rural farmers) come from far and wide just to see this steel jaw machine! In this warehouse of stores, the place to be on a Sunday…the social energy converges and it is quite a sight to see people ride the metal monster into modernity, and all that it offers (and takes away) just by the mere fact of its existence.) Finally, the weekend punctuated by a perfect trip to the house of our favorite knitting teacher, Charro. Her family “received” me (this is very common here, the entire extended family gathers to say hello, gives you a kiss, watch you). Her crochet work was beautiful and I commissioned her to make me a couple unique pieces for my hippie wardrobe, including a small dress coat-cover that I hope to wear when I marry my incredible friends Haley and Joe on April 23. People here are not used to getting paid for their time…and when I broke out the money for Charro, she literally poured down tears of joy! Her whole family applauded me and asked me to try on all of her pieces so they could take pictures. As any loving gathering ends here, you are always “invited” to have something of theirs, and on this day it was some powder instant coffee that left my heart beating strong and full. Monday brings team strategic planning, and Tues begins the 12 hour bus journey to the high jungle. Vulnerable, and fulfilled in so many ways. Loving you! maggie


Steve Bolen said...

Dear Maggie,
Thank you for your beautiful descriptions of such amazing things seen and felt. For your deep love for our sisters and brothers there, young and old, thank you. I am in reverence of your light and love for so many. Mary and I send our love to you and to all you encounter in Peru! Steve

Chasity Keen Larios said...

Thinking of your at our board meeting!