Site Exploration: Week 2, Part 2
The second half of week 2 began with eating cuy or guinea pig. I was invited to a fair well lunch for the current volunteer Stefany at a house just around the corner from the school. When the bell rang for lunch, we walked over with the school psychologist Jose. The first plate was soup with Gina the Gallina. This was the name given to the hen when it was gifted to Stefany some time ago. Now one of her legs was floating in my soup. The plate was reminiscent of chicken noodle soup. Similar color and lots of noodles.
The second plate was the cuy. In Peru, guinea pig is a delicacy. Families raise them in hoards, waiting for the perfect moment to enjoy them. In this case, it was for Stefany’s fair well lunch. One of the cuy’s was a gift from my host mom to Stefany. The others came from the family we were eating lunch with. The plate came with nothing else but potatoes. Overall I enjoyed the guinea pig. The meat had a good flavor and reminded me of BBQ I ate years ago in the United States. What I didn’t enjoy so much was decimating the thing with my hands. The animal gets served to you whole, and its your job to tear it apart limb by limb. I didn’t have the proper technique or the strong desire to clean the bones, including the ribs, as well as my counterparts. The whole torched head and hanging innards was also kind of strange. Realistically I know I will be eating a lot more cuy. I think in total Stefany said she has eaten 29. I know I’ll continue to enjoy the flavor. And hopefully, with experience, I’ll dial in my carnivorous instincts and become more comfortable with picking it apart completely.
On Thursday I ate another guinea pig. This one tasted better. And I think my performance was better. I was also able to finish my rice and potatoes. This week I finally got on the soccer field also. I went to the P.E. class for the seniors with the psychologist Jose. We split up the teams and played. Unfortunately my team lost twice. Once in penalty kicks and again on the field. The style of soccer here is different. Because the fields are almost all miniature, the games becomes reliant on quick passes, lots of dribbling, and lots of movement off the ball. Standing still or not moving to the receive a pass is the worst possible thing you can do. Even if you’re not going to receive the ball, your movement opens space for other players and forces the other team to move also. In general the kids here love the sport. But they learn without coaches, strategies and technical training. With my background as referee, coach and player, I’m really hoping to get some clinics started.
Last night was the Peru vs. Argentina game. All day there was excitement in the air. Some professors even did away with their normal clothing in order to represent a Peruvian jersey. I got invited about 5 different places to watch the game. My host family and I ended trying to stream it online with the projector at the school. When the internet didn’t come through, I went down the street to the local bodega to watch it. The señora Soledad has cable there. So for big games, her front room becomes filled with community members who don’ have the luxury of cable TV. The game ended in 0-0 tie; which was some what of a victory for Peru. Argentina dominated the game, with Peru only having a few good chances to score goals.
After the game we shared a little bit of beer and went home. I sat down in the kitchen to share a cup of coffee with my host dad and chatted about his day at work. Afterwards I quickly resided to my bedroom. It was there that a battle of wit and strategy ensued with the spider inhabitants of my room. Because my house is adobe, there are some small spaces in between the bricks; perfect homes for spiders. The small ones don’t bother me, but the big ones do. Especially when you can see their eyes glowing as the light from my headlamp passes over them. Normally I use a big rod to scare them back into there cracks. If they come out again, I scare them back in, and try to block their exit. I really try not to kill them, just inconvenience them. Perhaps even show them who’s boss. They probably don’t care though, and just want to hunt for food, which I am okay with. Just as long as its not on my bed or in my blankets.
The week finished with more class observations, baking cookies and playing soccer. Because I am getting to know the school, I’ve been responsible for observing as much as I can, and facilitating when I feel comfortable. I learn a lot from observations and how my teaching style with mix into the flow of the school.
After I helped Stefany bake about 100 and something cookies. She wanted her last class with the kids she had been working with to be fun. So they each help prepare a cookie recipe. After eating cookies and lunch, I went back to the school field to play soccer. Here they call it a cancha. NOT to be mistaken with concha, which means seashell, but also slang for vagina. I’ve made that mistake twice now.
Anyway, we won 3 games. Two on the field and one in penalty kicks. I reinflammed my blisters, and broke my soccer shoes. I also thing I pulled a muscle in my ass. With all that, I think I came out losing. Time for comfortable shoes, little physical activity and stretching.
Guinea Pig is adventurous even for a meat eater. I imagine you’re moral compass and stomach are experiencing a big adjustment. Combine that with the spiders and I’d be having some doubts. Props to you brother. Flights to Peru early next year aren’t too expensive 😉
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Yeah man. It has been quite the adjustment…to say the least. Still adjusting.