Tales from the Mountains

Señor Vildoso cuts the little moto-taxi’s engine as we careen down the curving hillside towards Estique Pampa.  Once again, I have returned to the mountain region of Tacna, accompanying my students on their summer service trip. One of my students, in a moment of poor teenager-induced decisions, cut himself in the eye with some wire […]

Read More Tales from the Mountains

Christmas Heat

There’s snow powdered on the branches of the Christmas tree. The sugared aroma of chocolate caliente calls to me from the kitchen, a chunk of panetón ready to be dipped into the tasty beverage. Christmas music plays in the background. And while there may not be a fireplace, my host family has turned on the television set and […]

Read More Christmas Heat

Far From Home

My head hurts from unshed tears. I’m not sure I understand why my need to cry is so powerful. If I had never connected to internet, nothing would have changed about my day. I would have gone from class to class, teaching verb conjugations and vocabulary for family members. But the knowledge and the weight […]

Read More Far From Home

breathe out

i am filled with love when the shouts and laughter of  my students  fill the street when  a pattering of feet and  a soft voice wake me from my nap beneath the open window even when a soccer ball comes crashing  against our house,  glass flying,  faces of terrified neighbors peering out from a nearby […]

Read More breathe out

The Revolving Door of Volunteers

“MISSSS, NO TE VAYAS” — “MISS, DON’T LEAVE.”  About three months left of my time as a JV here in Peru and my students act as if I’m leaving tomorrow.  In fact, sometimes they act as if I have already left:  “Miss, ¿Cuando vas a regresar a visitarnos?” – When will you return for a […]

Read More The Revolving Door of Volunteers

Neighborhood Noises

Although Tacna, Peru may be an urban city, stretching far out into the desert, my neighborhood of Habitat remains a tranquil suburb on the outskirts. As long as no one has decided to throw a “tono” in their house and blast reggaeton music until our windows shake, most evenings are quiet affairs, with only the sound of […]

Read More Neighborhood Noises

Ciudad Hermosa

This special day only comes around once a year. Every August, school grinds to a halt for almost an entire week. There’s at least one parade or concert every evening with well-known bands like Grupo 5 headlining at stadium venues. Bougainvillea flowers can be spotted in every nook and cranny and Peruvian flags of all […]

Read More Ciudad Hermosa

La Hora Gringa

The weekend has arrived and it’s time to make plans.  “I’ll see you at 7,” I say in Spanish to my friend over the phone, “Hora gringa, not hora peruana.” “7, hora gringa,” he repeats, now well-versed in my need for a timely arrival.  Time flies differently here in Peru, or rather, it crawls. Hora peruana is […]

Read More La Hora Gringa