The SERPOST (Peruvian USPS) strike has ended!

The title really says it all, but if you read my blog post about the mail situation here in Peru last week and were on the edge of your seat, wait no more, the strike has ended!

SO if you were planning on or thinking about sending some mail love my way, you can do that now! Please keep in mind that things take a long time to get down here and things (especially a letter of postcard) has probably a 80% chance of ever getting to me. 

BUT that being said, if you disregarded all of that, here is the address you should send to:

Antonio Ganoza

Attn: Chloe Hein

Manzana G Lote 2

Urb Las Flores

Trujillo, La Libertad, Peru

The weather this weekend was a bit gloomy so I spent my Sunday curled up in bed reading with some tea. Snuggling in my bed for a day with this great view was a very cozy way to recharge for the busy week ahead of me at work!

The weather this weekend was a bit gloomy so I spent my Sunday curled up in bed reading with some tea. Snuggling in my bed for a day with this great view was a very cozy way to recharge for the busy week ahead of me at work!

So I’ve adopted a new desk in the office because the lighting is SO much better in this room (I mean, I can actually see the sky! The sun!) and the wifi is better here (but shhh don’t tell the others!). So this is my desk and my view while I’m at work!
Zoom Info
So I’ve adopted a new desk in the office because the lighting is SO much better in this room (I mean, I can actually see the sky! The sun!) and the wifi is better here (but shhh don’t tell the others!). So this is my desk and my view while I’m at work!
Zoom Info
So I’ve adopted a new desk in the office because the lighting is SO much better in this room (I mean, I can actually see the sky! The sun!) and the wifi is better here (but shhh don’t tell the others!). So this is my desk and my view while I’m at work!
Zoom Info

So I’ve adopted a new desk in the office because the lighting is SO much better in this room (I mean, I can actually see the sky! The sun!) and the wifi is better here (but shhh don’t tell the others!). So this is my desk and my view while I’m at work!

wanderlusting

You would think that living abroad full time would satiate some of my wanderlust, but it has almost had the opposite effect. Being here reminds me of just how much more of the world I want to see, and how much I don’t know. I’ve been spending a fair amount of my time this weekend planning my two big upcoming trips. 

The first weekend in November my friend (who I met in Peru two years ago actually) Sylvia is coming to visit, and we are going to the Southern part of Peru to Arequipa and hiking down into the nearby Colca Canyon.

I’ve never been to either place, and Colca Canyon is the second deepest canyon in the world, twice as deep as the grand canyon, so I’m pretty excited.. Arequipa is supposed to be a travelers paradise and one of the most beautiful cities in Peru. I’m excited to see Sylvia again and take a week of my vacation time to travel, explore, and relax. 

Then, in January my friend Christine is coming down to meet me in Ecuador. I need to physically leave the country (Peru) to renew my visa, (the maximum amount of time you can get on your visa in Peru is 183 days, or 6 months) so Ecuador is the closest and most cost effective trip. Plus, there are so many things to see and do there. It’s been hard narrowing down an itinerary, but so far it’s looking like I’ll meet Christine in Quito, and then we will hit Guayaquil and Cuenca on our way back down to Peru where we will stop in Máncora before getting back to Trujillo, where I live. 

My cousin Jonathan said to me “wait, you’re doing MORE vacations?!”. Apparently it seems to a six year old that I’m just on an extended vacation here, and sometimes it does kind of feel that way as I am already looking towards what I’ll be doing and where when I head back stateside in only 6 months. Time flies! 

Peru lost 21 million soles in the past month…. and it’s just now “news”

So SERPOST, the Peruvian USPS, has been on strike for the past month. At first, this didn’t seem like THAT big of a deal. I heard about it in passing a month ago, and thought, oh, that’s annoying. But lets be honest, almost everyone here goes on “strike” for for some reason or another at some point, so I wasn’t too worried about it. I figured it’d be over within the week. Then, when I didn’t hear anything else about it I assumed it has indeed ended. I was wrong. Those suckers haven’t received or distributed any mail for a MONTH. CRAP. The workers have been protesting peacefully, without violence. So far at least. “People” have however, begun to set tires on fire outside one of the main centers, which is the photo below. 

Turns out they aren’t even asking for very much (in my opinion anyway). From what I gather, SERPOST received a pot of money from the government that was supposed to be designated to be broken up for each of the workers to get a “bonus”. Shockingly, the workers never saw a sol of that money. All they’re asking for is to get that bonus. Not a pay raise, not better working conditions, not shorter hours or more holiday time. They just want the money they know was meant for them. Fair enough in my mind. 

Apparently it is more complex than that, because this has also effected Peru’s exports which according to a Peruvian news source has cost the country 21 million soles of revenue in the past month alone. That is around $7,300,000 USD. Damn.

The kicker, is that today marks the one month mark of their strike and it is just now on major news sources radar. It hasn’t really been reported on, and half of the people in my office had no idea it was even going on. Granted, the average Peruvian doesn’t ever send or receive mail in their entire life, but I imagine the hit to Peurvian’s export economy will get everyones attention. 

Moral of the story is, don’t send me anything in the mail for a while. Even when the smoke from this clears and the workers resume their mail sorting and delivery duties, they have a whole month of backlog to deal with. I mean, just look at this photo at one of the sites.

If you’re interested in reading the actual account in spanish, feel free to check out the article here

P.S. TO MY FAMILY. Don’t worry. That scary photo of the burning tires is VERY FAR AWAY FROM ME. It is a peaceful protest and I AM SAFE. Just thought I’d make that very clear. Love to all. 

Reflections, Realizations, and New Aspirations

One of the hardest parts (for me at least) of being an expat is the fact that you’re not surrounded by your people. Throughout my life, and particularly in the last few years, I have been struck by what a tremendous support and force the community I have around me has been and the role it has played in my life. Thank you, guys, for everything. 

It’s an adjustment to not always doing the “boring normal life things” as I put it to my best friend, Debra, who is currently also living abroad in Australia. (To follow her adventures check out her blog here.) The boring normal things I mean include things like doing my own laundry with my own washer/dryer, having access to an oven, and to any kind of cheese I desire, drinking craft beer at Tap & Bottle, seeing my family/friends whenever I/they want, reading in my hammock with Athena, sipping coffee on my front porch, that feeling when the super hot Arizona sun is slowly baking your skin…. even sharing the same language with 99.9% of people on the street. It’s the boring normal day-to-day life things that change dramatically when you live abroad. Not in a bad way, but when you’re constantly exploring and feeling out of place to some degree or another, it is just such a different feeling. Clearly I’m doing a great job of explaining it. 

While I was in Tucson, I complained that I was bored. That things just weren’t happening for me there. It was true. My professional life was stagnant, which sucked, but now I realize there is also a beauty in the simplicity of just living. That maybe its okay to not always be pushing to do more, to be more. It doesn’t have to make you feel like your life is less if you’re not “saving the world”. I guess I’ve embraced that maybe deep down I’m more boring than I thought. I’m not made out to be living so far away for the rest of my life. My romantic idea of being a nomadic warrior for the people has come to a crashing halt. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and I love Peru and I will still (as I think it is just my nature) push myself to always take the next step upward, but I am glad I’ve learned now, at the ripe young age of 23, that I’d like to do that from the comfort of my own country. (As much as I cringe admitting it!)

BUT - that being said, I’m more excited than ever about my bright shiny new future. I LOVE working in the development field. I HATE living in a world where poverty like this is accepted as just, is. I can’t wait to play and explore more, but first I know I need more education. I just do not know enough to make a big enough impact. My job is great, and I’m learning a lot, but to move upward and outward I need more knowledge. So my next step after moving back to the states in May: I’m applying for the Masters in Development Practice at the University of Arizona, wish me luck.

My next post will be more about what actually living abroad is really like, or at least, how I do it. (Be warned, it includes a lot of white people and bars). 

So most of you have heard of (or maybe read about) my friend Melissa. She’s basically my Peurvian godsend. She helped me find my apartment and is my best friend here in Trujillo (and also overall a really awesome cool person). 
Each of our staff will be starting to do these interview things so you can all look forward to mine at some point. Yikes. But I wanted to share Mel’s because she just rules and I think it may be interesting to learn more about our staff outside of my own perspective. 
viveperublog:


It’s Meet our Staff Monday! Today, meet Melissa!
 
Tell us a little about yourself!
My name’s Melissa, I’m 26 years old and I was born and raised in Trujillo, the city with the most perfect weather in the world. I’ve been working for VivePerú since its very beginnings, first as a part time coordinator for the English Teaching program and then as full-time staff for the last couple of years. 
 
What did you study and where did you go to school?
I majored in Languages Education from Universidad César Vallejo in Trujillo with emphasis on English and French.
 
What is your role in the Vive Peru organization?
I’m the Regional Coordinator, which means that I’m in charge of overlooking the logistics in for our volunteer programs in Otuzco, Pacasmayo and Trujillo, whether it’s making sure all the volunteers have a good worksite match or helping them organize their weekend trips. Due to my background in Education, I also work very closely in developing our community outreach programs and guiding our volunteers in the English Teaching and Social Work programs on their day-to-day jobs.
 
What is your favorite thing about working for Vive Peru?
I love the Vive Perú team. From my boss to the community leaders we work with, everyone’s inspired to give their best and achieve the goal of making a positive impact on both the volunteers we work with and the communities we serve.
 
What is your favorite part of the volunteer program?
I love getting to know the new volunteers and helping them use their particular talents and skills to achieve the goals of the programs. It’s very rewarding for me to see the growth that happens from the very first day they arrive in my country to their last days here. So many positive changes! And they bring great new ideas to the organization!
What are you looking forward to most for our upcoming winter session?
The chocolatadas! Aka: Our traditional Peruvian Christmas parties where we hand out toys for the kids and drink hot choco. They are just the best!
 
What’s a fun fact about Peru that some people may not know?
The “caballitos de totora”, which are the reed boats the pre-Incan Moche people used for fishing, suppossedly make the Moches the first surfers in world history. I think that’s pretty badass
 
You have an exciting opportunity coming up, tell us about it!
Yes! I’m going to Japan as one of 10 Peruvian delegates to participate in a program called “Ship for World Youth Leaders” next January 2015! Basically, it’s a program funded by the Japanese government that brings together over 200 participants from all over the world to spend a month in Japan leading discussion on international issues and learning about new cultures to foster cooperation in the international community. I’m really really excited for the opportunity and I’m currently going through the preparation stage before the big day comes! There’s a lot that my team and me need to have ready before we leave, and I’m already loving every single minute we spend together. We are truly becoming a family and I believe that will add a lot to our experience given that we’ll be representing Peru together!   

So most of you have heard of (or maybe read about) my friend Melissa. She’s basically my Peurvian godsend. She helped me find my apartment and is my best friend here in Trujillo (and also overall a really awesome cool person). 

Each of our staff will be starting to do these interview things so you can all look forward to mine at some point. Yikes. But I wanted to share Mel’s because she just rules and I think it may be interesting to learn more about our staff outside of my own perspective. 

viveperublog:

It’s Meet our Staff Monday! Today, meet Melissa!

 

Tell us a little about yourself!

My name’s Melissa, I’m 26 years old and I was born and raised in Trujillo, the city with the most perfect weather in the world. I’ve been working for VivePerú since its very beginnings, first as a part time coordinator for the English Teaching program and then as full-time staff for the last couple of years. 

 

What did you study and where did you go to school?

I majored in Languages Education from Universidad César Vallejo in Trujillo with emphasis on English and French.

 

What is your role in the Vive Peru organization?

I’m the Regional Coordinator, which means that I’m in charge of overlooking the logistics in for our volunteer programs in Otuzco, Pacasmayo and Trujillo, whether it’s making sure all the volunteers have a good worksite match or helping them organize their weekend trips. Due to my background in Education, I also work very closely in developing our community outreach programs and guiding our volunteers in the English Teaching and Social Work programs on their day-to-day jobs.

 

What is your favorite thing about working for Vive Peru?

I love the Vive Perú team. From my boss to the community leaders we work with, everyone’s inspired to give their best and achieve the goal of making a positive impact on both the volunteers we work with and the communities we serve.

 

What is your favorite part of the volunteer program?

I love getting to know the new volunteers and helping them use their particular talents and skills to achieve the goals of the programs. It’s very rewarding for me to see the growth that happens from the very first day they arrive in my country to their last days here. So many positive changes! And they bring great new ideas to the organization!


What are you looking forward to most for our upcoming winter session?

The chocolatadas! Aka: Our traditional Peruvian Christmas parties where we hand out toys for the kids and drink hot choco. They are just the best!

 

What’s a fun fact about Peru that some people may not know?

The “caballitos de totora”, which are the reed boats the pre-Incan Moche people used for fishing, suppossedly make the Moches the first surfers in world history. I think that’s pretty badass

 

You have an exciting opportunity coming up, tell us about it!

Yes! I’m going to Japan as one of 10 Peruvian delegates to participate in a program called “Ship for World Youth Leaders” next January 2015! Basically, it’s a program funded by the Japanese government that brings together over 200 participants from all over the world to spend a month in Japan leading discussion on international issues and learning about new cultures to foster cooperation in the international community. I’m really really excited for the opportunity and I’m currently going through the preparation stage before the big day comes! There’s a lot that my team and me need to have ready before we leave, and I’m already loving every single minute we spend together. We are truly becoming a family and I believe that will add a lot to our experience given that we’ll be representing Peru together!   

Chickens hanging out in Huanchaco today as the mascots for the egg festival. Yes. An entire festival celebrating eggs.  (at Huanchacho Beach)

Chickens hanging out in Huanchaco today as the mascots for the egg festival. Yes. An entire festival celebrating eggs. (at Huanchacho Beach)

The other day at community this kid was carrying around a box. So I ask, hey, what’s in the box? He opens the blue flap and lo and behold there’s a bird in the box he’d been casually carrying around going about his day. Of course.  (at Sr. de los Milagros, Trujillo Peru)

The other day at community this kid was carrying around a box. So I ask, hey, what’s in the box? He opens the blue flap and lo and behold there’s a bird in the box he’d been casually carrying around going about his day. Of course. (at Sr. de los Milagros, Trujillo Peru)

Woke up this morning thinking about yesterday.  (at Huanchaco Beach, Peru)

Woke up this morning thinking about yesterday. (at Huanchaco Beach, Peru)