so the trip winds down here, in the suburbs of lima, in a non-descript 4 story house where alex lives with his extended family.
the solo stay in arequipa was fabulously indulgent, shopping, eating, shopping and eating...not to mention extended reading and thinking about my life and its direction....and lots of fun conversations with local shop keepers. i was actually writing a detailed account of it 2 days ago when the power went out, so that was the end of that.
anyway, it´s fun to stay with a peruvian family and get the real experience. yesterday, a friend of alex's drove he & i out to a very shabby, unbelievably poor neighborhood perched in the sand dunes on the coast north of lima. we met, among others, a single mom whose husband brought her there and abandoned her. her only source of income for she and her 2 teenage sons is selling candy on buses. her knees are very arthritic and climbing up and down is very painful. when i looked at her legs i saw a lot of varicose veins as well, which i believe are quite painful too.
her teenage sons have the typical preoccupation with being cool. it is likely that they don´t appreciate the struggle their mother has to support them.
alex´s project wants to bring basic meals to 50 of the poorest kids in the community 2 days a week. well, they actually signed of 80 of them. yesterday i brought my camera and took pictures of a lot of kids so that they could get sponsors. apparently alex has some connections in spain that want to sponsor.
today i am hoping we get out and go buy oatmeal for the meal project. i actually wanted to buy books for the kids so that they can do their homework. maybe that can happen too. apparently the teacher assigns homework but the kids don´t have textbooks and so unless they can borrow them from a library (non-existent) or purchase photocopies (at 50 cents per page) they are stuck. it would be great to buy a few of each book so they could have that resource.
the cool thing about alex's project is that it is a tiny organization so very little money gets wasted on bureaucratic stuff. alex has a job and supports himself.
well, more on that later.