Friday, December 21, 2007

Celebrating Peruvian November Holidays

The first two days of November started with holidays! They do celebrate Halloween here but it's a little different than in the states. One thing that is different is that instead of going to homes, the kids go to stores looking for candy! Another difference is that they don't say "Trick or Treat" but "Halloween." The downtown was packed with kids trying to get candy out of business owners. I don't think I would like Halloween very much if I was a business owner!!

The holidays in November meant that we had the first two days off from school. The first day was the day of the dead and it was celebrated by eating pork and fancy breads in the shapes of horses and dolls. I actually didn't eat any pork that day but some delicious Peruvian chicken in Urubamba.

The second was a very long day (I think it was officially the Day of the Living) that started out with a teacher in service at the Shultz house. Our time together was mainly focused on discussing whether dictation was helpful in the classroom (it's very much overused here in Peru) and talking about our Christmas program. We ended our time together by watching "Facing the Giants."

After that many of us headed over to the TECHADO that was happening at the San Jeronimo church. A Techado is a literally a "Roofing" and it was just that! The second and third floors in the church were finished and it was time to put in the cement roof. This was a process that included lots of hands: mixing the cement, carrying or hoisting it to the third floor and pouring it. Of course we girls couldn't really help with the lugging of cement but we did help by cleaning up the second floor (it was covered with sawdust, wood scraps, nails and trash). That was a very exciting and tiring job that took a couple of hours!!!

The next thing that I did was go to a local "fair" with some of the other teachers. There were several rides that were maybe not that impressive but it was fun anyway. The greatest part was that the girl that I was riding with kind of freaked out and I had to keep assuring her that we would be okay: "It's okay! You are in the Lord's hands. He's gonna take care of you!" It was so funny!!

The night ended by a return to the church where the men were still working. When they finally stopped, we sat down and ate a special meal called: Chiriuchu. This meal is very interested because it is made up of a pile of various things, served cold:

1. a peice of chicken
2. a peice of cuy (guinea pig)
3. a pancake like bread
4. a peice of sausage
5. a peice of cheese
6. a seaweed like substance
7. fish eggs (not caviar - fish eggs)
8. toasted peices of corn

I got to help with the assembling process in the kitchen. It was so much fun to watch the ladies get so into piling on each item. It wasn't a bad dish (not necesarily good to eat at 9 pm) and I think the only thing I really didn't like was the fish eggs (not so much the taste but the texture and sense of popping when you ate it).

It was definitely a very interesting and exciting way to welcome in November!!

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