Winter, feminism and macaques

Unbelievable – it was already four weeks ago that my cat Tabby (and my parents) welcomed me back home. I still remember that I didn’t even know what to talk about because I had always communicated the most important information immediately and not much had happened during my last days. To compensate this lack of activities to speak about, I stuffed the upcoming weeks with the reflection seminar in Berlin, visiting friends and being an intern in a neurobiology lab in Tübingen. There’s nothing better I could have done.

Still feeling some slight jetlag symptoms and without anything sorted out, I was given the chance to directly reflect on my entire voluntary stay during another seminar at the same place as five months ago. My expectations were low – the preparatory seminar instead of making me get clearer about everything added many doubts and even fears due to its length, problem-sought contents and the enormous mass of 300 people. Maybe therefore I enjoyed it even more this time. Now, there was something to talk about with literally anyone; all of us have experienced something extremely similar but simultaneously very individual and different. I was amazed to hear about young people having struggles in Kazakhstan and living awesome experiences in Lesotho – or the other way around. Also, the pedagogical program structuring the seminar was quite supportive. Time for flashbacks was limited and a special focus was put on the present and the future which was not only the most constructive way for me to think about the time abroad as fruitful and plenty of situations that taught me something about myself.

Workshops concerning mindfulness and feminism (and many other options to be fair) enriched the sometimes egocentrically biased “homezone” sessions. I found myself learning strategies to actively relax myself and scratching the surface of contemporary feminism, a field I discovered I’m very interested in myself. Reading books and articles, listening to podcasts and holding up interesting discussions with friends helped my shaping an opinion and I feel like I might stay in touch with the topic and generally society’s issues related to it.

Re-considering my entire stay, I can honestly summarize it as far from ideal, but still with a surprisingly positive outcome. I’m looking back at it with some bittersweet memories and I’m somehow glad it’s over; at the same time, I feel like I can appreciate some things now better and see myself differently.

Seeing some of my friends right after was just what I needed to bring me back to reality and I’m grateful for their support. The past two weeks in the lab finally brought the deeply missed cognitive stimuli back, confronting me with scientific knowledge and computing I had never heard about before. I happily accepted the challenge and I think I’m ready for the next adventure on Monday – my nursing internship in a psychiatry nearby.

This most probably is the last blog entry here. Peru and my volunteering are officially over and there won’t be anything related to it happening anymore. However, it will stay in my thoughts and life forever and I want to thank you for following me on this journey!

Things I miss

As I’m on the plane on my way back home now and I can’t really come up with highly reflective content, I decided to write a list of things I miss(ed) and really look forward to:

– Raclette. The typical German meal for any reunion with friends or family in December, easy but delicious at the same time.
– Christmas cookies. Shame on me, I didn’t maintain my 14 year streak baking them but I honestly didn’t feel like it at 25°C and without my aunt or my mom.
– Glühwein. Something very European as I found out but easily prepared at home and enjoyed various times by all of us.
– Christmas markets. Why isn’t there such a thing here! I feel like I’ll spend my whole December 2019 freezing on them, eating Feuerwurst and looking for presents nobody actually wants.
– Snow and cold. You probably remember I told you I’m psyched about 3 consecutive summers because I hate winter? Well, if you spend 18 years with a normal seasons cycle, skipping winter just feels weird and your body kind of asks for the winter blues.
– Going for a run. Whenever and wherever I want. First, it’s not safe here and second the air is so bad so it’s actually not healthy.
– Friends. That sounds very sad but of course I maintained lots of contact, looked at pictures and had my lonely moments so hey, feels good to be with them again soon.
– Warm water. Trivial but if you don’t have it, I swear, you never get used to it.
– Good coffee. Just found out dissolving the instant coffee in milk makes it a lot better but still not comparable to my french press or a real machine.
– Routine. Quite abstract but the past months still feel like extended holidays because I never had the same rhythm for more than 3 weeks. I bet I’ll miss the freedom soon but we always want what we don’t have right?
– Bread. Of course there is bread but it’s rather „bread“. Lots of air, you need a ridiculous amount of it to be sated and it tastes like…paper.
– Chocolate. There is no milka in Peru! Can you believe it! Nor any cheap chocolate at all so I basically developed an oreo-addiction. You can’t imagine my euphoria when my parents brought me 1kg of Milka taken of the birthday present of my best friend. Thanks again, you really saved me.
– Tea. I’m not an expert but sometimes it’s nice not to have to uniquely stick to either camomile, hierba luisa or plain black tea.
– Health/Stable immune system. That’s not actually something you can get or lose but I’ve never been sick so often before. The food, the climate, the shock; there are many explanations but still it sucks staying in bed all day long when there’s so much to explore.
– Inline skating. This just came up some days ago when I saw someone doing it and I remembered that this is tons of fun but a bit suicidal in Trujillo.
– Same currency. You can debate about the EU a lot but wow the same currency in different countries definitely is a relief! Especially if you can’t change your money in other countries just like Peruvian Soles in Argentina. Still don’t understand why.
– Natural Safety. I mean going out on the streets without holding your belongings tight, taking almost any street you want and using public transportation without fearing you’ll get stabbed after a certain hour. That sounds exaggerated but just living under these hostile circumstances makes you feel the opposite of free.
– Anonymity. People not noticing you, not staring at you or even more. Not being the center of (negative) attention anymore. Something I got to enjoy in Argentina already and I’m looking forward to even more now in Germany.
– Drinkable tap water. That luckily changed after a time when we installed a purification filter but the water still tastes bad and travelling is particularly more difficult.

You might ask now: That’s it? What about your own bed at home, your cat Tabby or playing the piano? You’re right, I could just add that to my list but I feel like this was rather to brainstorm a little than posting an elaborated report. Also, there will be Peruvian things I’ll miss too and I don’t want to create a wrong picture. If you’ve got any questions, feel free to ask!

~ Jenny

Vos sos una argentina!

Take three girls from all over the world, add lots of passion for science or generally new things, sunny weather and a small village in the middle of nowhere – you’ll get out the 10 best days of my time in Southamerica! Given my pessimism about leaving Peru during this 5 months at all, I was more than amazed to meet even two such beautiful minds and friends, whom I met last year in Israel, close to Córdoba in Argentina.

Clari, my roommate for almost 4 weeks then, hosted us in her family’s house that included a huge garden and even a swimming pool. Her family welcomed us so warmly we immediately felt like home and vacation at the same time.

As the time was short, we wanted to make the most out of it and spent every second together. There was a lot to talk about after half a year – we’ve all been through similar struggles concerning the uncertain time between school and university always with our ISSI experience as a strong inspiration in mind. Expressing our thoughts wasn’t always easy with three different native languages so there was a huge mess of English, Spanish, Portuguese and a bit of German we somehow tried to combine in a way that made sense.

But some things also don’t require to be expressed in words but rather in pictures. There’s a whole lot of them.

Us at a lake we eventually reached after walking under the burning sun at 35°C and almost giving up every 100m.

Us visiting the university campus with its labs and probably every single museum in Córdoba capital.

Us making „music“ with an ukulele and a keyboard or dancing like crazy (a lot of fun though). Us motivating people to participate in science camps and even celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Us taking zumba lessons and introducing some Brasilian and German music (of which the latter doesn’t really have potential as we figured out).

Us on our endless colectivo (bus) rides to different towns like Salsipuedes (get out if you can, literally!) or Rio Ceballos.

Us at a flea market buying feminist stuff because we are strong and independent women.

Us at a river looking for the deepest parts of it.

Us going mountainbiking, having a picknick outside or just randomly walking around because the temperatures suddenly dropped to cold 20°C.

It felt so much like home as we were always in the middle of nature which was surprisingly very similar to my little village at home. And at the same time I got to know so many new things. Let alone the food which isn’t only the meat (of course I got to taste some selfmade asado and lomito), but also sweets like dulce de leche (the better version of Peruvian Manjar blanco), facturas and alfajores.

When should you eat those? At merienda! Just a bit like British tea time, Argentinos have a pre-dinner meal in the afternoon including a little snack and their much loved mate.

Mate- at first it tastes quite bitter but getting used to the different types of herbs, I really fell in love with it too. It’s quite an art to prepare and drink it correctly but I even bought myself an own one with some corresponding yerba to maintain the lifestyle back in Germany.

By the end of the ten days I felt endlessy sad to leave as I had already gotten used to the daily rhythm at Clari’s so well and just spending time with people that understand me and that I like so much. I’m so grateful to be able to call them my friends and I really hope to see them soon again – maybe next time in Germany.

After getting back to Trujillo which took me exhausting 24 hours, I still feel like I have to process my trip while at the same time I have to say goodbye now to Peru too. There’s definitely some melancholy but also I’m looking forward very very much to being back home, seeing friends and family and even the seminar in Berlin where I feel like I will get my thoughts on my experiences more sorted. See you then!

~ Jenny

3 weeks

„When does the class end? Can I go when I’ve finished the exercise? Do you know Fortnite?“ These and more phrases of curious little primary students have accompanied me for the past three weeks. Trying to teach them the basics of the German language in a summer school program wasn’t always how I imagined it to be but at least I got to learn lots of jergas, Peruvian slang.

Despite the varying motivation, I got surprised by two heartbreaking goodbye parties where the students wrote letters to me, expressed personal wishes and took lots of pictures.

To officially end my voluntary work, I had a goodbye breakfast with my coordinators and the director of the Max Planck College where we discussed the past five months and shared memories. I’m retrospectively really grateful for the experience and got assured that this isn’t a farewell but a see you soon again.

The melancholy just intensified with another goodbye, now at my taekwondo school here in Trujillo. After having taken classes every evening, I finally felt more than comfortable in the group and felt like I was just leaving at the wrong moment. Listening to the stories of the Venezuelan trainers or laughing with my partner about our terrible technique – I’m really going to miss this routine!

How else did I spend my seemingly endless freetime? Unfortunately mostly alone as all my flatmates struggled with their opposed schedules so I barely got to see them. Sleeping in late, exploring all the cafes and bars nearby and visiting the enormous local market counted as main activities.

Now I can proudly say that I have mastered another Peruvian dish – Tallarines Verdes (basically pasta with pesto) that is pretty easy to prepare so I’ll definitely try it in Germany too.

A special mention goes to my trip to Paita, a city a night bus drive away from Trujillo, where I supposedly was going to spend a weekend at the beach. Turns out the city is a rather small and dirty fishermen town with the port as the only attraction worth a visit.

Also, I went there on my own which in the end was more dangerous and uncomfortable than expected as Paita isn’t touristic at all and therefore even more exposed to abusive sexism. However, I managed to spend a day at the highly recommended beach of Colán where I coincidentally met other people from Trujillo. The rest unfortunately was quite a deception but I got to enjoy a beautiful sunset and met an amazingly friendly photographer from Argentina whom I talked to for a while. All in all, it wasn’t too bad but I was relieved after arriving back home after the two days.

As there isn’t much more to say, I will end this entry right here in anticipation of a way more interesting time – 10 days in Córdoba/Argentina visiting a friend I got to know in Israel. Crazy, but definitely something to look forward to!

~ Jenny

Cheese of Cajamarca

Edamer, Tilsiter, Cheddar, Parmesan, Gouda – sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? A cheese heaven, located only 6h from my hometown Trujillo and called Cajamarca, famous for its diversity of dairy products. You won’t believe me how much I’ve missed milk, yogurt, butter and cheese for the past few months; it’s rare here on the coast and therefore expensive as hell. But let’s start at the beginning.

After New Year’s, I got to spend another four days in Cajamarca, the next „must-see“ Andean city in the northern part of Peru. I travelled there with my 4 flatmates and can honestly say that this is the most beautiful place here in Peru I’ve seen so far. It’s a calm city with few people walking the tiny little one-way streets in the middle of an impressive valley, surrounded by green mountains.

We decided to take different tours, exploring the nature around it and although it objectively was lots of driving around, we never felt stressed or uncomfortable because of that. The landscape is green, hilly and free of traffic.

The first day we went up Cumbe Mayo to 3500m to appreciate the natural parc with its plants, aqueducts and stone forest (I’m serious) where we observed different formations that might even symbolise something.

Give your phantasy a go and tell me you can see the rabbit and the Pope in the following picture. You definitely do.

Later we went to Collpa, visiting a lagoon that looked as if it was taken out of a Disney movie and after that got to witness the famous „llamado de vacas“.

In this event, the cows of the farm are called back in by their names and go the way to their personal box in the stalls, all by themselves. It actually worked out and we were all pretty impressed by that although it is probably only the result of classical conditioning.

Collpa definitely has a very special atmosphere due to its colourful houses and decorations and trying some of the freshly prepared manjar blanco made the day just perfect.

To end it, we relaxed for one hour in the thermal baths of Baño de los Incas where I could have stayed forever.

The next day was nearly as perfect as we spent most of the morning in a little zoo in Granja Porcón. It wasn’t so much the animals but, again, rather the nature around it that made it so special.

It all seemed so peaceful, the people working on the surrounding fields or weaving clothes the old-fashioned way and a stunning red flower (still haven’t figured out its name) made this place really magical.

After a typical lunch (trouch, obviously) we proceeded to Otuzco, a village famous for its so-called ventanillas, small holes in a huge stone wall upon a hill. We were told human bodies were buried there a long time ago but only of important people in the village and after the process of decay.

We also got to see a nice hanging bridge and another milk factory, including some more product tasting and, of course, buying. The highlight definitely was the garden of hortensias, an extraordinarily aesthetic place.

It’s filled with flowers in colors varying from all possible shades of pink and rosé to purple and blue and we felt like we were stuck in a fairytale. If it hadn’t gotten dark, we’d never have left.
Our last day consisted mostly of visiting a lagoon near Namora that we also crossed by boat. It was the only place with mosquitos so far and, as we didn’t expect it, we got bitten a lot.

But more importantly, we visited another stone formation on our way there where we had a lot of fun climbing the rocks, taking photos and just enjoying the stunning view.

Too soon we had to leave again and got a little city tour to end our stay. It was interesting to hear the story of how the inca empire, ruled by Atahualpa, was conquered right on the plaza de armas and the starting rain just perfectly added a dramatic touch to the guide’s tellings. We also finally climbed up Santa Apolonia to visit the sacred place and to have a more than breathtaking view over the whole city.

After some more photos, dinner and a hot chocolate, it was time to get into the bus back to Trujillo and say goodbye. Goodbye to Cajamarca, the Peruvian city I really lost my heart to.

~ Jenny

Travelling Pt. 2

Arequipa la blanca – Arequipa the white city, our next destination after a 9h-drive by bus. Known as a very non-Peruvian city, we were curious to explore the small streets of the second largest city of Peru. Very soon we could literally see the origin of its nickname: As all the houses are built out of volcanic stone, their walls are entirely white. Even most of the cathedrals and the Main Square (Plaza de Armas) show the same characteristic architecture and design creating this special atmosphere everyone is talking about.

After having explored the important places of the rather small city centre, we decided to realise the famous Colca Canyon Trek, a two days hiking tour including condor watching and lots of walking. It basically consisted of hiking down the canyon the first and getting back up the next day. You won’t believe me but the way down was way worse than up – it was hot, dusty and after some hours your knees won’t stop shaking. At least we passed by dozens of fruit trees crossing the gardens of the village that fueled up our energy.Having spent the night in a rather basic hut, we were happy to be back in our hostel in Arequipa. Our last day we spent walking around a bit more, taking photos on top of the mirador, eating some more traditional arequipeño food and of course buying a typical llama pullover.
Back in Trujillo, I tried to set up some activities for my parents which was more difficult than expected. Trujillo isn’t a touristic city so we had to stick to a little city tour, the site of Chan Chan, Huanchaco and some nice restaurants.
I was happy to spend Christmas with them at a student’s house who invitied us on 24th. It was totally new to us to start late at 9pm celebrating, to start with the feast at 11pm and watching fireworks at midnight. We were told this was even earlier than average so it was definitely an interesting experience, although it already felt a bit like New Year. The day after, officially Christmas, was even more of a special experience as everything was closed and calm. Something I’ve never seen before in Trujillo as even on Sundays supermarkets are open and people are on the streets just like on weekdays.
Our last trip led us to Huaraz, a small city in the Andes where we spent some more time in the Peruvian nature. Turns out we’d spent most of the time in the bus driving to different destinations of our tours, but this wasn’t too bad in the end as it all was pretty high again (between 2500 and 5000m) and the beautiful landscape with its flora and fauna could be observed anyway.
The first day was packed with the Chavin culture, pre-inca and over 3000 years ago in Huaraz. We visited their main temple, feeling the ancient spirits that attracted so many pilgrims in former times. Their strong belief in higher states of consciousness (often provoked by the San Pedro Cactus), their gods and traditions formed the center of their lives and are still part of the modern Andean culture.The next two days rather consisted of pure nature; the Llanganuco Lagoon and the Pastoruri Glacier. The pictures speak for themselves concerning the beauty of these places and we enjoyed spending some time in these areas a lot. The woods of the „Puya Raymondi“, a typical Andean tree,and the natural source of mineral water were just as exciting as the snow storm accompanying us down the way from Pastoruri.

But I want to say a word about something you can’t easily derive from the photos. The Pastoruri glacier looks impressive on them, but did you know that in the last 60 years more than 2,5km of it have melted away? This certainly is one of the saddest consequences of climate change and even more so of human interaction in native regions. Other glaciers here in Peru, inaccessible to us, lose substantially less ice every year – definitely something that leaves you in an uncomfortable inner conflict as a tourist and visitor of these places.

Enough travelling? For now! My parents are back home in Germany but after a rather disappointing and calm New Year’s Eve at the beach, I spent some more days with my flatmates in Cajamara, so stay tuned for more stunning activities and pictures, I promise!

~ Jenny

Travelling Pt. 1

„To shut your eyes is to travel.“ – Emily Dickinson
This quote of one of my favourite poets might be true as long as you stay at home, laying in your bed and thinking about all the great things to see in this enormous world. But as soon as you actually start your travel, you can experience the places with all your senses in a totally different and authentic way. I spent my last weeks of this year together with my parents exploring the wonderful Peruvian cities of Cusco, Arequipa and Huaraz and there’s no way I could have used my time better.Cusco, formerly called Qosco, offers you endless information and archeological sites of the inca culture which only existed for a few decades (but still counts) with surprisingly advanced technology and traditions. As it was the dominating culture when the Spanish conquered Peru, it’s also the culture we know most about today although the Spanish did a great job destroying most of it. We started our stay on 3500m altitude with a City Tour exploring the most important inca centres such as the sacred temples of Qenqo, Qoricancha and Sacsaywaman or Puca Pucara, the red fortress. All these names represent a Spanish modification of the original quechua names.

The second day led us to the Valle Sagrado, the sacred valley of the incas. There we visited several different cities within the area (Pisaq, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo) and other inca sites. As the inca strongly believed in their natural gods, their temples were oriented according to the main sun events of the year, the two solstices and the two equinoxes, all of them celebrated in a special way. The architecture of the buildings was extremely accurate and full of their mysterious beliefs in the concepts of dualism and the three worlds represented by three characteristic animals. Dualism was omnipresent in the inca culture; black and white, man and woman, day and night. Also, the world is divided into the past or the underworld of the dead (snake), the present or the land (puma) and the future or the sky (condor). 

These concepts accompanied us also during our trip to the most famous tourist attraction in Peru, Machu Picchu. Going there by the ridiculously expensive train, we had some free time in Aguas Calientes, the village of Machu Picchu, we spent walking around and bathing in the thermal springs. The next day we got up early to start our walk up Machu Picchu at 4.30am which was tough but worth it. We were extremely lucky with the weather and had an amazing view the whole day. Climbing up Wayanapicchu in the sun some hours later was even tougher but the view was more than rewarding.

If you think that we were tired by now, you’re certainly wrong. Hiking up the Rainbow Mountain (Vinicunca Montaña de 7 Colores) on 5000m the next day was a totally new experience to all of us. It’s not so much that the way required special skills, but the altitude often provokes sickness (soroche) with sypmtoms like headaches and nausea. You can rent horses to carry you up the mountain but I promise you’ll be prouder having walked on your own. The panorama on top was breathtaking and as it was sunny again, the fresh snow just had melted enough to perceive the seven different colours that form due to various minerals.

15 more minutes and we got to see the red valley which was even more impressive to me as the landscape consists of so many different shapes and colours.Before heading to Arequipa by bus overnight, we spent one more day visiting the site of Moray, an impressive agricultural centre that benefits from a terrace system and creates tropical climates on top of the mountains.

Besides agriculture, Maras counts over 4000 basins forming salines where families extract salt from the highland’s water under the name of the company ‚Marasal‘.Leaving Cusco after this adventurous week felt so wrong – the city itself is so beautiful and the view from our hostel something I really could have got used to!

~ Jenny

Casa Atinchik //Pachacámac, Lima, Perú

A quiet place, you can hear the birds singing and the wind blowing through the leaves of the trees. 20 volunteers laying in the green grass, covering their faces against the sun and chatting, painting or just taking a nap. Vacation vibes are in the air, but no, we’re all just having a break from our seminar at the Casa Atinchik in Pachacámac, a small village close to Lima. It means „Juntos podemos“ – „Together we can“ in quechua and serves as the main spirit of the house. The host family was incredibly cute, always worried about our well being. We all benefited from their ambition of a healthy and ecological lifestyle as they served only selfmade organic (and especially delicious) food and offered Qi Gong lessons and even a sauna. The perfect place to leave the daily business behind everyone of us has established over the past two months and take some time for profound reflection: Do I feel comfortable in my country? Does my work meet my expectations? What could be better and how can I take responsibility and change something?

It was immensely interesting to exchange experiences with the other volunteers that sometimes were completely different but mostly quite the same. I was honestly relieved to hear about similar struggles and inconveniences that allowed me to open up without feeling like I was only complaining for no reason.
Throughout the seminar, we focused on different topics such as our working place conditions, conflict management and projects we discussed in small groups first and then brought together. It was enriching to hear all the different perspectives in a way that we were able to also share problem solving strategies.

One day we left our little paradise for an excursion to an urban garden project in Virgen María del Triunfo, a rather poor part of Lima. We were shocked by the contrasts: on the one hand the green gardens with their plants and even fresh air and on the other hand the dirty streets, burning trash piles in the middle of it and over-populated areas. It made us sad at first but learning more about urban agriculture, we got more and more impressed. It all started small and even hopeless: The ground was sandy, there was neither water nor money. But with the support of a local electricity company and the strong belief of the people in the project, now there are 90 families on 2ha cultivating their own crops for their private consumption and the local markets. They keep it simple but effective at the same time, using guinea pig’s excrements as a natural fertilizer and trickle irrigation to water their plants.

After this unique experience, we ended the day on the beach of Lima, a bitter deception for us volunteers from Trujillo but something special for the Bolivians as they don’t have access to the sea themselves.

All in all, it was good to have the seminar, breaking our routine for one week although I was missing a little bit of input throughout the five days. While I struggled with the information overload during the preparation seminar in Berlin, now I sometimes felt like I was left alone for too long with my thoughts. I liked the idea of primarily calm self reflection and time spent apart from the group after well set impulses, but sometimes I would have wished for more of a guiding hand. Anyhow, I really enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere (amplified by the presence of two incredibly sweet babies) and one more free day afterwards in Lima I entirely spent in the beautiful quarters of Miraflores and Barranco.

Now I’m back in business again here in Trujillo and it already feels as if I’ve never been gone. Exams need to be written and I can’t wait to see my parents and travel with them soon!

– Jenny

Amnesty International: Write for Rights

„All human beings are born free and equal.“

This sentence is followed by 29 more articles, forming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, composed by the United Nations and signed by almost every country of the world in 1948. Like this, every government officially became responsible to guarantee the fulfillment of these human rights for every citizen in order to establish a society of peace and harmony.
Only few years later, in 1961, Amnesty International was founded, an NGO acting worldwide and aiming to control the accomplishment of the human rights. Amnesty works as an independent instance and organizes workshops, courses and offers writing and signing letters that will be sent to the governments or individuals whose rights have been violated.

Every year, a marathon of writing letters called „Write for Rights“ takes place where you get to know 5 cases about violated human rights and then have the possibility to sign the demands for the corresponding countries and to write a letter to one of these victims.

I personally think that Amnesty’s work is highly important and therefore decided to bring the workshop to the school of my voluntary work here in Peru (Colegio Max Planck). With the children of the secondary, I developed a class starting with an introduction to the topic (What are human rights? Why do we need them and why is it worth fighting for them?) and ended with the writing of the letters.

The results were truly amazing. As I conceptualised the workshop in Spanish, the students participated actively and contributed their own ideas and questions. They showed strong interest in the different cases and were shocked by the incredible injustice in all the places that sometimes are closer to us than expected. Reading their letters left me very touched and a bit upset but proud – I literally could feel the frustration but also the solidarity of the students.

Further down on the page you can find some anonymous examples of the letters and photos of the signed texts. In total, there are 141 signatures on 26 completed sheets and more than 60 individual letters with lots of drawings and even a message in Portuguese among them.

I want to sincerely thank Director Arturo Pareces Javier and Mrs. Elsa Salinas for making this project possible and Mr. Moisès for letting me take his history lessons. And finally thank you students, because you are the ones whose voice can change the future!

I will post further links to more articles on other platforms here soon!


Bars, surfing and human rights

Three weeks, several visits at the local hospital and three penicilline injections worked their miracle: I’m finally back among the living and started my routine again as if nothing had happened. There were some nice surprises awaiting such as a more effective Taekwondo training incorporating more fitness elements or a new bus line working as a shortcut for me.

As I still don’t have too much work to do at school, I decided to organise an Amnesty International workshop for the students of the higher classes in order to spread the most basic values human rights stand for. Being part of the annual „Write for Rights“ movement seemed a good opportunity to me to both defend human rights in Peru and sensibilise children for this topic sporadically discussed in school. For further details and photos please visit the separate blog entry!

I also finally came to dedicate more free time to culturally enriching acitivities such as visiting the famous „Huaca del Sol y de la Luna“, another archaeological site of the Moche culture. Not only did I learn lots of new things, I also got to know an artisanal artist, descendent of the Moche, working on ceramics for a living. I even painted some pieces myself and listened to his stories which I enjoyed a lot due to the calm atmosphere in the small village.

Moreover, I went to the cinema for the first time here (Bohemian Rhapsody, what else) and assisted two little concerts in different bars here in Trujillo that were both amazing. The first one presented Criojazz, a fusion between classical Jazz and Peruvian music which was bizarre at first but included great rhythms and sounds in the end. The second one represented a tribute to the Arctic Monkeys, a band I already knew before. The band was incredible and almost everyone was able to sing along which created a very special atmosphere. Both bars seemed a little sketchy in the beginning but soon were full of curious, young and also international people.

Last sunday I finally got to visit the mysterious lagoon of Conache, a small lake in the middle of nowhere but a popular place for a relaxing day out of Trujillo. It was full of families and there were plenty of activities offered but most importantly I tried sandboarding for the first time and I can say it was insanely fun! Climbing up the sanddunes was intense but definitely worth it every time because you pick up speed rapidly and the technique isn’t too difficult. Of course we fell spectacularly the whole time but luckily the sand was soft so we had a lot to laugh. After that, we cleaned off the sand (which was basically everywhere) bathing in the lagoon and spent some more time on the small beach next to it. All in all we really had a good time and I’ll probably come back to that place again.

After the enthusiastic stories of my house mates, I decided to try out surfing here in Huanchaco. I personally was pretty sceptical because I remembered surfing in Spain to be pretty boring but my expectations have definitely been exceeded. A short theory session familiarised us with the correct techniques and soon we tried them out in the water. Swimming against the the waves was tough but surfing on them made it all worth it. Although it was my first lesson, I had lots of fun and I’m definitely going to continue this for the rest of my time here in Peru.

Two days ago, I was invited to the clausura of the olimpiadas maxplancistas 2018, the closing event of the Olympics of my school. Again in Buenos Aires, I watched the impressive dancing performances of each class, cheered with my students for their parents and chatted a little more with the teachers. It was another long day full of activities I appreciated very much.

In the evening, I went to a club for the first time with some friends and I can say it’s pretty different from what I know in Germany. I haven’t made up my mind yet whether I like it too much because as a European girl you’re kind of the center of attention but I haven’t made any bad experience.

This week I’m spending in Pachacámac, a village near Lima for a kulturweit seminar which I will comment on in my next blog entry!

~ Jenny