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Nourish International


June 17, 2011 | Posted in 2011, Peru, Yale | By

Real World: Huanchaco (Days 5-7)

June 15, 2011 | Posted in 2011, Peru, Yale | By

Hey y’all! Today was our third day of work and we want to give you a little background of the town we’ve been working in and the work we have been doing in the past three days. Bello Horizonte is a small rural village of about 1,500 people in the foothills of the Andes. Anywhere you look you can see mountains jutting up from the horizon. It is mostly comprised of children and women during the day because the men go to work in the nearby city of Trujillo. While there is a nearby medical clinic in Menechuco (about 15 minutes away), Bello Horizonte does not have any way to treat basic medical emergencies so we are helping them build a clinic. The medical clinic will have one doctor and one nurse which are being provided by the state government–but those stages are a long way off and we are still digging for the foundation.
Yesterday, we spent the day moving large rocks at an archaeological site called Serra Leon to fill the trenches at the site. A few people went with Esther to visit a health promoter and get to know the local health professionals in a nearby town. We spent the entire day filling two truck loads of rocks and then rode back to Bello Horizonte with the local Peruvian workers. Although the day was grueling, we did realize that we started to solidify a relationship between our group and the group of Peruvian workers. We learned a little bit about how the Peruvian community works: only one man, the maestro, is paid, and the rest are volunteers who switch their shifts everyday. One of these volunteers happens to be the mayor of Bello Horizonte who we’ve seen nearly every day!
Today was quite a chest hair/character building day and several characters were discovered in the midst of all this intensive labor. We have Rachel, our resident rock slayer, a.k.a. Xena, the warrior princess, with her sidekick, Megan, a.k.a. Gabrielle. Rachel destroyed several large rocks by herself with the help of just a crowbar and a shovel. Today’s work would not have been possible without Simon from Sweden (Moche Staff), reminiscent of the Norse gods with his long flowing hair and angular European features. He wielded his staff/crowbar over the indestructible boulders, like Thor with his hammer over his cowering mortal enemies, and shattered them into pieces. Patrick is now known as “He-Man” for valiantly obliterating several trenches with his manly sword/pickaxe.
Step two in our relationship building with the locals… drugs. (Disclaimer: Parents, please don’t worry. The drugs we consumed are all-natural coca leaves that have been used for thousands of years by the Incas and are still prevalent in Peruvian culture). Coca leaves were discovered by the Incas and serve primarily to sate hunger, decrease thirst, and increase energy. As we learned from our Peruvian friends, the process involves chewing a handful of dried coca leaves and then “charging it” with calcium carbonate. You let it sit in your mouth as you suck on the juices until it numbs your mouth and stomach and lets you continue working throughout the day without fatigue. We ended the day very much in pain and with very sore muscles, but it was very good to see so much progress.

Dried Coca Leaves

To end on a more insightful note, as you might have imagined Peruvian culture is different from the U.S. culture and it is difficult to know if you’re making a connection with the local community. Such a big part of what we hope to do is build a mutual understanding of each other’s culture in spite of the language and cultural barrier. A big concern for us is if our presence is truly helpful for the community, but yesterday some of these fears were abated. Murat, a native Spanish speaker, had a conversation with a local women who told him that she was very happy that we were setting an example for the youth of Bello Horizonte with our hard work on the medical clinic. Although we won’t get to see the culmination of our work here after 6 weeks, it is nice to know that our presence will have a positive impact on the community.
Until next time!
Cora, Gabrielle, and Superman.

Real World: Huanchaco (Days 3-5)

June 13, 2011 | Posted in 2011, Peru, Yale | By

Hola amigos!

Saturday night we went back to Sunkella to give the Peruvian party scene another try.  I guess the mass of Americans made enough of a statement- they played the American music we had been craving- Toads in Peru!

Sunday most woke up early to go running and play volleyball but a few of us smarter ones decided to sleep in.  After finally trying some delicious Peruvian breads at the panaderia, we took the bus to Trujillo to check out the market.  The mercado had everything from black-market movies to wedding dresses.  Ulises bought a pair of terminator-looking glasses while the rest of us purchased two scary movies to terrify us (even more than the books some of us are reading) along with 127 Hours (for those who felt like disloyal Franco fans for not having seen it).

We then had lunch at a place on the large pedestrian street that starts at the Plaza de Armas and ends at a park with glass-encased ruins.  Check out the attached photo to see Dakota’s (D-kotes) inner light exuding at maximum strength!

After arriving back in Huanchaco, we all pretended to read a for a little outside on the terrace of our hostel- but instead passed out on the extremely uncomfortable bamboo chairs, only to wake up with intense back pains and the horrible post-nap feeling of lethargy.

And that’s when Real World: Huanchaco exposed itself.  Hearing yells just bellow on the street, Sammy, Camy, Breanna, and Murat looked over the ledge to see a number of local women in a state of anger.  While one woman was pulling another back, the others were throwing water at them.  While trying to listen closely to figure out what was going on, the most we could make out was something along the lines of “Why don’t you go back to your own bed!?”  When a few of the women started to run away as the scene became increasingly tense, what seemed to be half the city of Huanchaco went running after them.  Even a little boy ran over to his mother to hand her a stick (presumably so she’d be able to attack the young girl more effectively).  We ran up to the roof to catch more of the drama but were unfortunately blocked by a number of buildings.  Still, we’re not even sure what happened, but if we ever do find out we’ll be sure to let you know!

The group then headed for dinner to what was probably the best chicken many of us have ever had.  It was served on top of a massive serving of fries, lettuce, and tomatoes (the latter two we unfortunately cannot eat because we’ll probably get sick from the water). We then went back to the house to fight each other to the death in card games (Camy is a star and should never ever ever be challenged in Egyptian Rat Screw, trust us).  Bed time it was for our early morning!

Today (Monday) was our first day of work.  While we carried rocks and did some shoveling from about 9am to 12pm, we were assisted by a number of young local children who talked to us and told us the reason they weren’t in school today was because their director just decided to not show up.  After lunch time finally came, four of us went to a neighboring town to speak with the mayor who also worked in their medical clinic.  While sitting in the lobby, we spoke to the locals for a while about what we were doing in the area and why.  The mayor of the town was so amazing and wishes to bring Wifi to the entire Moche valley because he feels we live in a globalized world and for that reason everyone should have access to the internet.  Esther (our Moche leader) told us about a school whose principal is so discriminatory against people from the highlands that when Esther spoke to her about us teaching in her school, which mostly consists of students from the highlands, she told her absolutely not and the group should not waste their time teaching those people.  We were all completely taken aback by the story of a discrimination that needs to be countered.  How can a group of rural people ever improve their situation if they are never given the resources to do so because of discrimination?

On a lighter note, now we’re back in Huanchaco and most of the group went into the ocean to wash away a day’s worth of construction dirt before dinner.  So far it’s been an incredible journey and we can’t explain how much fun we’re having and how much the country has already impacted our lives.  What has made our experience so special so far is how easy it has been for us to relate to each other and find comfort in our group.  A number of beautiful friendships are forming, not just among one another, but between the group as a whole and the space we occupy.  Hopefully our footsteps will leave an unforgettably positive trace.

Bulldogs Being All Quaker by Camy Anderson

June 13, 2011 | Posted in 2011, Peru, Yale | By

Yesterday Real World: Huanchaco had its first official Quaker Meeting for Worship (MFW)! MFW is the form of worship for Quakers (which I am) and it involves collective silence and reflection. Our group sat in a circle on the roof of our hostel for about 25 minutes and just reflected on the prompt that I wrote that day. Usually the service has a candle (and a camel) in the middle, but we made due without. When anyone was “moved by the Inner Light” (the fancy Quaker way of saying they wanted to share something) they said their thoughts on the topic of discussion. The particular prompt I wrote was centered on the question of why we do service, give aid freely, and help people we don’t know. People had some really interesting responses. Sammy talked about the importance of connections with the people you do service for, how making connections to people you didn’t know before is just as important a part of the experience as the service itself, and is what makes you want to do service. Rachel talked about how even though people may perceive service as selfish (because it makes you feel good) the positive impact is what truly matters. ODDLY ENOUGH, service and religion have been a major topic of discussion in our little Real World. At one point Sammy mentioned this section of the Talmud:

R. Yosef taught: “If you lend money to any of my people that are poor with you” (Exodus 22:24): [This teaches, that if the choice lies between] a Jew and a non-Jew, the Jew has preference; the poor or the rich the poor takes precedence; your poor [i.e. your relatives] and the [general] poor of your town, your poor come first; the poor of your city and the poor of another town the poor of your own town have prior rights

This passage basically says that it better to first help people who are close to you before helping those far away. And while this kind of doesn’t really fly with the spirit of our service trip, something a woman in Bello Horizonte told Murat made the necessity of projects like ours really evident. She told him that she didn’t see the youth around Bello work, and seeing us out there moving all those crazy big rocks was an example for all the young people in town. Murat was very touched by this and told the group to reassure us that even though service at home is important, helping abroad serves an important function as well.

So there you have it. It’s not all drama in Huanchaco. It gets real up in here.

Peruvian Cuisine by Murat Dagli

June 11, 2011 | Posted in 2011, Peru, Yale | By

Peru has surpassed everyone’s expectations. The food, though, has been out of this world.

Arriving to Lima at 6 am in the morning, exhausted, and having eaten nothing but bland and tasteless airplane food, the first thing that I asked the tour guide was to take me somewhere where I could have breakfast. On our way there, I was amazed by the cultural mix that Peruvian restaurants exhibited. Chinese and Japanese restaurants were prevalent, reminding bystanders of the mix of races that make Peru a unique cultural mosaic in the midst of a typically mestizo and homogeneous Latin America. The place where I had breakfast was no exception. We drove to a “sandwicheria” called El Chino (The Chinese Man) where they served turkey and pork (in its multiple varieties) sandwiches. Having been raised part Muslim at home, my only choice was the turkey sandwich. The owner of the restaurant, a man who was ethnically Chinese but who talked Spanish, prepared the sandwich himself: a simple piece of bread with huge chunks of roasted turkey inside of it. Looking at it, I was a bit disappointed and could not understand why there was a such a long wait at the door. I am not a big fan of turkey, for I find it to be dry and bland. Biting into it, though, was a completely different turkey experience. The meat itself was moist and extremely savory, and the taste was clean and pure. With no extra condiments or spices, the sandwich made beautiful justice to how delicious turkey can be.

For lunch, I went to Punto Azul, a sea-food restaurant which a fellow Mexican friend, Paul Lagunes, recommended. The 20 minute wait was worth every millisecond. I ordered the classic fish cebiche (also spelled ceviche). The waitress struggled as she carried a large dish with a mountain of large boneless fish chunks, marinated in lime juice and spices, onions, and chilli peppers. The fish was mounted on top of baked camote and large corn kernels.  The cebiche was the best cebiche that I have ever had in my entire life. The saltiness of the fish was perfectly balanced by the sour and spicy lime juice and the sweetness of the camote and the corn. Accompanied by a cold Cusquena malt beer, which is the sweetest (but one of the best) dark beers I’ve ever had, this was a meal worth for an Inca emperor. At least I felt like one. For those of you readers, if you ever come to Lima, Punto Azul is a must.

Here in Huanchaco, our culinary experience hasn’t been any different. The staff at the house has prepared a variety of typical Peruvian foods that always leave us craving for more: a soft and spicy beef stew in a curry-like sauce, vegetable lasagna and beef rice cake, and local fresh fish in a delicious, creamy sauce, all accompanied by a spicy chilli sauce that accentuates all the flavors and fires up our palates. All meals come with super savory rice cooked to perfection. To drink, we’ve been given maracuya (passion fruit)  and pineapple aguas frescas (fruit water), all 100% fresh and natural.

While I knew that Peruvian food is one of the most important rising cuisines in the world, I never knew it would be one of the best parts of the trip. It is currently catalogued as the best cuisine in South America, and has been designated as cultural culinary heritage of the world. The best part of it, though, is that all the tastes are supremely clean: the spices that are used only accentuate, but never take over, the tastes of the meat, fish, and vegetables, all as fresh as can be. From the simple turkey sandwich at El Chino, to the delicious food at the house, Peruvian food has been surprisingly varied and good. And accompanying my meals with 9 hysterically funny and awesome Yalies…it cannot get any better than this.

Besos, abrazos y un monton de bendiciones.

Murat (Diva)

Real World: Huanchaco (Days 1-3)

June 11, 2011 | Posted in 2011, Peru, Yale | By

So much drama just on the first day- we missed our flight, Carol lost her luggage, were nearly scalped by pigeons, and stole bones from the catacombs of the St. Francisco monastery in Lima. Despite all advice from our parents and friends, we immediately went to the nearest Ceviche restraunt in Lima and explored the local cuisine- don’t worry we’re all still alive.

Hey everyone!
This is our first blog from Peru. We would’ve posted earlier, but we missed our morning flight from Lima to Trujillo so we had to switch to the night flight.

So we arrived in Trujillo late Thursday night and met Esther and Professor Billman. They took us by bus from the airport to the lovely seaside resort town of Huanchaco. We we’re too tired to do anything except go to sleep! The next morning we had breakfast and then a highly entertaining orientation with Professor Billman and the rest of the Moche staff.

After orientation they took us into Trujillo while Carol (Cora) went to pick up her luggage at the airport. Trujillo is a beautiful city and we’re really excited to explore it further and spend time there. Back in Huanchaco we headed to the soccer court and challenged some locals to a game. We combined players to make things a little more fair. Our star player, Ulises, helped us win our first soccer game in Peru against some local school children. Cora was a fantastic goalkeeper! After dinner we had a mixer with EWB and the archaeologists. PISCO SOUR!!!!! Then we headed over to the bar while Camy and Cora formed a protection alliance for life and then Camy proceeded to slaughter Sammy in 10 games of Connect Four. Half the group went to the reggae dance club, Sunkella, and was exposed to a different Huanchaco setting. Cora saved the day by climbing onto the terrace of the house to let everyone in. Somehow, she avoided the glass shards.

Today we went to the beach and played volleyball. During one play a bus even participated and passed us the ball on it’s way past the beach. The lucky stone helped guide The Stones to a 100-20 win. Victory!

Later, we’ll drive to one of the top five archaeological sites in South America…so you’ll hear from us soon!

Cora, Megan, Sammy, and Rachel

Ps. While this was written, Rachel managed to win 4 games of set in a row.

Meet the Group!

May 25, 2011 | Posted in 2011, Peru, Yale | By

Dakota Meyers

To introduce myself, my name is Dakota Meyers and I decided to go to Peru this summer so that I can help people, learn about a new culture and way of life, and make a personal connection with the community. According to my Spanish teacher, I can speak Spanish well enough to get by.  I’m not so sure, but I’d like to improve. I was born in the real Manhattan (Manhattan, KS, the Little Apple; Go State!) and was raised in Hoisington, KS. As a rising junior at Yale, I have decided to major in Economics. My favorite colors are blue and royal purple.  My favorite Latin American food is enchiladas, but I’m sure that I’ll develop a new favorite dish of Peruvian origin over the summer.  In my spare time, I like to watch sports (any game with a Kansas City, Kansas State, or Yale team in it) and play video games. I’ve also been picking-up disc golf lately.

Breanna Lujan

Hi Everyone!  My name is Breanna Lujan and I wanted to partake in a program that would enable me to refine my Spanish. When I came across Nourish International’s Public Health Project in Peru, I realized that this opportunity would allow me to not only improve my Spanish but also use my language speaking abilities to help others. That I will be able to speak Spanish constantly and work towards improving the standards of living in the Moche Valley in Peru will undoubtedly make for an awesome summer!  I am a native speaker of Spanish but am from the lovely Los Angeles, California.  As a rising sophomore at Yale, I’m considering pursuing a major in Environmental Studies with a focus in either the environment and development or in biodiversity conservation.  At the moment my two favorite colors are Mauve and Seafoam Green.  If I absolutely had to choose a favorite Latin American dish I would have to say that Floutas de Pollo would be my favorite (although Enchiladas Rojas would be a close second).  In my spare time I enjoy watching Law and Order: SVU, Sex and the City, Friends, That 70s Show, and movies in general. I also like to read (anything and everything), bake, and spend time with family and friends.  As I haven’t ever visited South America before, I am very excited to be able to do so this summer and for such a great cause!

Ulises Ceja

My name is Ulises Ceja and I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. I am currently a junior at Yale University majoring in Political Science. I am a native Spanish speaker and my parents were born in Mexico.  My favorite Latin American food is chicken in a brown mole sauce, a traditional dish from Mexico. In my spare time, I enjoy playing soccer and dancing. I also enjoy reading Latin American literature and poetry. I am involved in several organizations on campus some of which include Teatro, a Latin American theater group; Urban Improvement Corp, a tutoring program for elementary, middle and high school students; AIESEC, an international student organization that focuses on international experience; and Advocate for Latin America at Yale (ALAY), an organization that focuses on social and political issues in Latin America. I love traveling and my favorite color is blue!

Murat Dagli

Hello! My name is Murat Dagli and I am a rising sophomore from Guadalajara, Mexico. I wanted to go to Peru because I am fascinated by the plurality of indigenous and non-indigenous cultures in Latin America and their cultural mix. I want to see how different racial composition reflects in social, political, economic, and health opportunities for the population. I want to major in Religious Studies or History of Science. Spanish is my first language and my favorite color is blue. My favorite Latin American food? Tough. I would say Albóndigas (Meat-balls) or tortas ahogadas (drowned sandwich). In my spare time, I love to read, eat, travel, and tease Breanna Lujan.

Rachel Looff

My name is Rachel Looff and I was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky. I’m a junior History of Science/History of Medicine major and I’m also fulfilling the pre med requirements.  I took Spanish all through high school but for the past two years have studied Russian. I’m excited to work more on my Spanish skills while we are in Peru. I’ve not had much construction experience, but I’m also looking forward to learning some completely new skills!  I’m pretty indecisive about picking favorites, but right now I would say my favorite color is blue and my favorite Latin American food is arroz con pollo. Besides my involvement with Nourish International, I play on the club volleyball team at Yale and this past year I worked as a research assistant at Yale-New Haven Hospital.  In my spare time I love to be outside (particularly road biking and hiking/backpacking).

David Kellner

My name is David Kellner; I’m originally from Charleston, South Carolina, but have lived for the past six years in New York City. I am a rising sophomore at Yale, most likely majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology. I chose to go on this trip because I wanted to improve my Spanish, see a totally new culture, and learn some construction skills while seeing amazing archaeological sites! (I also like to surf…). I’m excited to try some interesting foods, like guinea pig, alpaca, and Pisco sour, as well as meet people who are enthused about soccer. In my spare time, I play club ultimate frisbee, play trumpet in the Saybrook Orchestra, and lead Freshmen Outdoor Orientation Programs. I’d really like to get involved in more global health projects at Yale, and can’t wait to see how this trip impacts my perspective on the topic.

Camy Anderson

Hi!  My name is Camy Anderson and I want to go to Peru this summer because I’ve always wanted to go abroad, but only if it were in some useful capacity. Building a medical clinic is definitely defined as useful, and I intend to help out as much as I can. I’m currently a sophomore majoring in Political Science. I was born and raised in the suburbs of Philly. While I’m not completely fluent in Spanish, I intend to be at the end of the summer. My favorite color is blue, and my favorite Latin American food is my mom’s enchiladas. In my spare time, I like to hang out with friends and play sports, especially soccer and softball.

Sammy Greissman

My name is Sammy Greissman and I decided to go to Peru this summer because I also spent the summer there three years ago and couldn’t wait to go back.  I fell in love with the people, culture, language, archaeology, and beauty of the land.  I’ve wanted to be fluent in Spanish for some time now (I’ve been learning the language since 7th grade) and really hope this summer will solidify my conversational skills.  As a rising sophomore, I’m unsure what I’ll be majoring in but am interested in  global health and medicine.  I am originally from New York but spent most of my life in South Florida.  Currently, my favorite color is green but it often switches among green, purple, and turquoise/teal.  Although I love most Latin American foods, my favorites are definitely empenadas de pollo y queso and alfajores!  In my spare time, I love to read, watch tv and movies, or be adventurous.

Carol Crouch

Hello everyone! I’m Carol Crouch and I’m from a small city in Danbury, Connecticut. I am a rising sophomore at Yale University and I am not sure what I want to study yet, but I’m thinking of majoring in Women’s/Gender/Sexuality Studies. I came on this trip to Peru because I wanted to improve my Spanish speaking skills and do community service abroad. I’ve always loved volunteering and public service as well as traveling, so this Nourish trip was a perfect combination of those things. My favorite color is blue, although I am quite partial to purple, yellow, certain bright greens and multi-colored situations. My favorite Latin American food is my aunt’s homemade tortilla chips with salsa, but I also really love a good bowl of rice and beans. In my very small amount of free time, I love to read, sing/perform, watch good movies, be with family and friends, and play sports (ie: rugby and fútbol!!).

Megan Looff

Hey everybody! I’m Megan Looff and I’m a rising junior at George Washington University. I heard about Nourish through my sister, Rachel, and decided to tag along on this trip with the Yale chapter. I’m currently majoring in International Affairs and concentrating in Global Public Health, so this trip and its mission is right up my alley. I’m especially interested in women’s health, so i’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the  local women in some of the small, rural villages we get to work in. I am from Lexington, KY and outside of school, I like to hike, play volleyball, and bake.

Welcome to Real World: Huanchaco!

April 19, 2011 | Posted in 2011, Peru, Yale | By

Welcome to the official blog for Nourish International at Yale’s summer project in Peru 2011, also known as Real World: Huanchaco!  Over the next few months, you will be exposed to a number of perspectives on the project, which primarily involves the construction of a medical clinic in Bello Horizonte.  Each one of us is an undergraduate student at Yale University interested in global health issues such as the one we’ll be tackling this summer.  Before we arrive in Peru on June 8th, we will continue to update you with our project’s progress and further developments in plans.  While there, we will post pictures, videos, thoughts, and anything else we find interesting about the construction, interactions with people in Bello Horizonte, and places we visit.  We will be working with a local group called MOCHE, inc. which seeks to improve living standards in the region while protecting archaeological sites and promoting research.  As of right now, the group continues to prepare for the departure by getting to know one another, building our Spanish vocabulary, and deciding on techniques for evaluating our project’s success.  We hope you enjoy the blog and please comment at any time because we’d love your feedback!
-Your Bulldogs