Winter in Lima is pretty similar to winter in Santa Cruz, except for the humidity. My hair looks like it’s constantly in curlers. Today it drizzled the entire time; enough to make my hair wet after walking down the hill to the market but light enough to not make the roads muddy. It’s pretty cold but that’s going to change in about a month.
Compared to the past few days, today was very calm. I spent the morning and early afternoon catching up on blog posts (as you see below), news and listening to NPR. At home, I would listen to my iPod in the car but low enough to still be able to listen to the radio at the same. Save for my Radio Disney years, NPR and PRI are the stations that I’ve listened to my entire life and it felt surprisingly comforting to listen to the correspondents. This past summer I would keep CNN or CSPAN on while housesitting for friends and I didn’t realize how much I would miss it while in Peru. Getting news online doesn’t feel the same.
At around 3:30, Ana Maria and I set off to the community center, or CEDED, which is what everyone in Villa El Salvador knows it as. (From now I’ll be using that abbreviation – I apologize for any future confusion!) Horas publicas are 4pm-7pm on Friday evenings and I was anticipating around the same number of kids to be coming. However, after Ana Maria left to go buy ingredients for a baking class that’s on Saturday evening, and the clock read a little before 4, I became a little anxious. I hurriedly set up all the tables and chairs in preparation for the kids. As the clock read five then ten minutes past four, I was a little concerned. Soon, Ana Maria came back and she explained to me that on Fridays, virtually no one comes because well, it’s Friday night! I completely understood. Who wants to do homework on a Friday night? When it’s really cold and raining a little like today, that causes less kids to come by as well. I have to say that I was a little disappointed to hear this, because I wanted to see if Sebastian would come by and I could ask how his algebra homework went. I guess I’ll have to wait until next week.
After Ana Maria explained all of this to me, she asked me to come to the market that’s below the hill where CEDED is located. It’s smaller than the market at the Ovalo Mariategui, which was the first market I went to earlier this week. We were looking for pineapple for the pineapple cake that the baking class will be making tomorrow. We found the fruit and I bought these tangerines for two soles. They looked delicious and tasted even better. I have a feeling I’ll be going to that vender a lot while I’m here.
When we got back, there were four kids there: Javier (7), Leonel (10), Jiomar (13) and Diana (13). I didn’t know their names on Wednesday, but Javier and Leonel are brothers and were the two boys that I helped with looking up words in the encyclopedia and writing the aforementioned ceviche recipe, respectively. Today I helped both of them with some English homework as well as geometry. I’m still impressed/shocked by the amount as well as the difficulty of work they get. Javier’s homework consisted of having to write the numbers 50 to 100 in English. About half way through the 60’s, he wanted to go sit on the other side of the table next to Leonel, who was playing games on a laptop. It was almost like pulling teeth to get him to finish the 70’s. Really, all he was doing was copying the same thing over and over again and we both knew that it was a tedious assignment. After he showed me that he could write down the one’s place number without looking at the previous ones, I told him that if he finished the 80’s, he could be done. After all, it’s due on Monday. Once I offered this deal, he whipped out those numbers in a fraction of the time. The power of incentives, right?
One of my favorite things that happened today was when I helped Diana print out something for a school assignment. I went over to her computer and it was an article about K-pop! During my year on Interact’s District Council, I learned a lot more about different Asian pop-culture and K-pop was one of the first things I was educated on. While printing out Diana’s article, I couldn’t help but think of all my friends back home.
I have a feeling that there will be many days like this one, but hopefully, with less rain.