Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Happenings

Well, the intestinal thing is gone, which is all kinds of excellent. Left my appetite a little bit askew, so I'm glad for the coca tea that they sell in stores: coca leaves act as hunger suppressants. All kinds of good stuff.

I will say this about the intestinal thing, though...it made me a little bit more aware of what I do like to eat and don't like to eat. College kind of made me numb and omnivorous, especially that first year, and so to have a little bit more opinion in what I do and don't like to eat is like reclaiming a small bit of myself. It's difficult here, because Peruvian custom is that you eat the entirety of what is on the plate set before you, and if it's full of stuff you don't like, you might be in trouble. There are some days that I just physically cannot finish what's on my plate. Thankfully, as an authority leader, I am not morally bound to finish my plate (though it's considered good manners). Usually one of the kids will want to have a go at my leftovers, and so I yield them gladly.

In terms of work I've been doing, there's been a lot of work at the granja (farm) with the chickens. Yesterday (Monday), they had 82 dead chickens, and it was my job to haul them out of their jaulas (cages, but it's cooler to say haul out of jaula) and dispose of them, i.e., throw them into the giant pit aka the Chicken Tomb. 82 is a huge number. I couldn't believe it. Vera, the guy (whose name I spelled wrong in a previous entry) in charge of the granja, couldn't believe it. There were a huge number of eggs, so that was good, but...well, my arms were tired.

Speaking of parts of my body being tired, some kind soul donated three semis' worth of onions to the Ciudad. Getting the semi to the loading dock is an adventure. Unloading the semi is something else entirely. This donation is arriving in segments, which is good. The first installation was two weeks ago, I think. We filled the entirety of the kitchen storage space with the sacks of onions, and the semi wasn't even half emptied. The rest remains outside in a giant pile. Unless we plan on replacing our three breakfast rolls (we get three rolls at breakfast, fyi) with three raw onions apiece, I don't think that we are going to finish all of the onions by ourselves. The administration is of the same opinion, so we are giving onions to families who have some affiliation with the Ciudad and bring their own sacks for carrying the onions home. In this way the first pile has diminished (though the onions for breakfast might be good for our immune systems...better than bread and oatmeal together every morning, anyway). The second pile arrived yesterday. The three older houses have been in charge of unloading the trucks, so we once again went to the front. It's amazing how many times I had to shout, "Onions are not soccer balls," which seems fairly obvious, but the same kid kept on trying to work on his moves. Each time, he managed to hit me with a bruised onion. This made me slightly unhappy. But yeah, that lifting was good for me...albeit tiring.

They've stopped making big panettone in the bakery. Now they're making personal-sized ones. You may or may not remember my last experience in the panadería wherein my work consisted in followed the head honcho around, trying things out, being told, "No, no, like this," and then being asked to do something else. This time, they asked me to shape the wads of dough before putting them in the mold. It was fun and tiring, though it took a very long time to realize what the actual goal was. I thought that it was to make all of the fruit on the inside so that it wouldn't burn, giving the dough some air, too. That's only a secondary goal. The main goal is to make a smooth "shell" out of the dough that covers the entirety of what will be the top and middle of the panettone. Now, they could have told me this, but it's far more fun to learn, right? Right! That's something that's kind of consistent here: they've not told me exactly what to do, but rather let me work my way to the top through trial and error. The efficient and perfectionist part of me hates this, but it's fun. They have fun with it, too, and it's good (in hindsight) to let me make a fool out of myself.

I've got a lot of questions and reflection stuff...I won't divulge much of it here, simply because this isn't the place for it. But in any case, I will say that the authenticity of people here is amazing and difficult. Amazing because authenticity is beautiful...it's real, it's not overbearing but it's not exactly apologetic, and you can really just see people for who they are, and it's absolutely beautiful...even when you see their faults. In fact, the faults make the whole expression even more awesome to behold. Genuineness does something for attractiveness, too...people here are just beautiful and handsome.

It's difficult because it challenges me to do the same. I like to think of myself as an authentic person, and in some ways, the fact that I act more like a 5-year-old helps with that, because a 5-year-old usually can't help but be genuine. But realizing that sometimes (frequently) I lie to myself and coming to terms with that and the reasons behind that self-deception...that takes courage.

I guess that's the overarching goal for this year and a half (transferred over to the rest of life): courage. Fortitude. Audacity. In the list of adjectives I'd give myself, "brave" isn't quite there. I'm not discouraged, though...poco a poco, ¿sí? Sí.

That's all for now.

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