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Amor en Peru

Alibi’s Ilene Style reports from her volunteer mission in South America

In Villa el Salvador, a shantytown which is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Lima, there are hostels, or hostals as they are called, everywhere. Naturally, there are hostels all over Peru for travelers and tourists, but it struck me odd that there were so many in Villa el Salvador. I mean, how many touristas would want to stay in one of the worst parts of a city, where it is dangerous to go out after dark? When I inquired about this, I was told that the ubiquitous hostals in Villa el Salvador are not actually hotels as we know them, but places where men and women go “to have a private moment." Ah ... comprendo. All of these hostals have signs in their windows advertising their prices, which I now understand are hourly, not nightly, rates.

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Travel

Help Los Martincitos in Villa el Salvador

Alibi’s Ilene Style reports from her volunteer mission in Peru

The question I received most frequently from all of you in response to my e-mails about the Los Martincitos program in Villa el Salvador was "How can I help?" I truly feel blessed to have friends who are so eager to help those who are not as fortunate as we are, even if they live 5,000 miles away.

I had mentioned previously that it is not recommended to send supplies or donations directly to Los Martincitos, because of the unreliable postal service in Peru. I have since learned that there is a website, which was started by Sister Jacci's niece Marianne Boyle, whose purpose is to raise money for Los Martincitos program. In Ms. Boyle's own words:

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Travel

Home visits in Villa el Salvador, Peru: Francisco

Alibi’s Ilene Style reports from her volunteer mission in South America

Francisco has just had his third stroke and is thought to be beyond rehabilitation. When we visited him, he clearly knew we were there, but was unable to communicate with us, as his speech and most of his movement had been affected by the stroke, except for movement in one arm. No communication was necessary for us to know that he was miserable. He so wanted to talk to us, and yet all that came out of his mouth was unintelligible sounds. His daughter (his wife was in the kitchen and didn't seem to want to talk to us) told us that the night before, he had made a hand signal across his throat indicating that he wanted to die. Hermana Jacci told him firmly it was God's decision when he would go, and he had no say in the matter. He cried when we left, and I did too.

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Travel

Home visits in Villa el Salvador, Peru: Petrona

Alibi’s Ilene Style reports from her volunteer mission in South America

Petrona, one of our abuelas, lives with her daughter and son-in-law. Her son-in-law is abusive to her, but her daughter is unable to do anything about the situation. One of Petrona's legs is very swollen, and she doesn't know why. My voluntaria friend Margaret from Ireland, who is a nurse, is on this visit with us. She thinks Petrona has some sort of infection, possibly cellulitis, and should see a doctor immediately. However, it is very painful for her to walk so she will need to figure out a way to get to the doctor.

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Travel

How to Exercise at a Peruvian Senior Center

Alibi’s Ilene Style reports from her volunteer mission in South America

In the mornings at Los Martincitos senior center, before desayuno (breakfast), and before the oraciones (prayers) that precede desayuno, the abuelos must do their exercises. It is important for the seniors in the program to loosen up their muscles and joints, and to get their blood flowing. They do this to dance music, and the exercises are led by an incredibly limber older staff member named Raul. After a week of working here, it became obvious to me that the only three songs they had in their warm-up repertoire were the Macarena, the Conga and the Hokey Pokey. I am astounded at the fact that I have done the Hokey Pokey more times in the past four weeks than I did during my entire childhood. (This is not something I had anticipated doing much of while in a foreign country.)

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Angelica in her room
Angelica in her room

Travel

Home Visits in Villa el Salvador, Peru: Angelica

Alibi’s Ilene Style reports from her volunteer mission in South America

Angelica lives with her grown son Pedro, who is blind. Her other son, who also lived with them, and with whom she was very close, died recently of tuberculosis, a disease that is rampant in Villa el Salvador. She has trouble getting around because her legs are very swollen, despite the special stockings she wears. Her condition is not helped by the fact that she is overweight, something one does not see often in Villa el Salvador.

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Travel

A Word About Toilet Etiquette in Peru

Alibi’s Ilene Style reports from her volunteer mission in South America

--- On Sun, 4/18/10, <******@verizon.net> wrote: OK… when do we find out more about the toilet etiquette??

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Aniseta y Olionia, Spa de Elena
Aniseta y Olionia, Spa de Elena

Travel

Spa de Elena

Alibi’s Ilene Style reports from her volunteer mission in South America

My new name in Peru is "Elena." The abuelos at Los Martincitos call me that because it is much easier for them to pronounce than "Ilene.” I soon realized that "Elena" it was much easier for ALL Peruvians to pronounce, so that is how I introduce myself now.

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Me and Margaret
Me and Margaret

Travel

English Lessons

Alibi’s Ilene Style reports from her volunteer mission in South America

The talk of the town has been the temblor or small earthquake, that we had last week in Lima at about 3 a.m. It was a 4.3 earthquake, whose center was about an hour and a half south of Lima. It was the second temblor we've had since I have been here, and I am mortified to say that I slept right through it. (I did feel the first temblor though, which was about a month ago.)

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Travel

Home in Peru

Alibi’s Ilene Style reports from her volunteer mission in South America

Today I will be leaving my comfortable home base in Lima and moving to Villa el Salvador for 4 days, where I will get to experience firsthand what it is like to live in the same hood as the people about whom I have been writing. I will be living in the home of Antonio, the director of the Los Martincitos program where I work, with his wife and three children. They have a large house (by Villa el Salvador standards), and for $15 a day, I will get 3 meals a day and a place to sleep. Tonny, as he is called, speaks no English at all, and his wife speaks only a few words, so it will force me to practice my abysmal Spanish.

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Tomorrow's Events

A reading and signing with writer Erika T. Wurth.

Corrales Growers' Market at Corrales Growers' Market

Jazz Brasileiro • bossa nova at Tony Hillerman Library

More Recommented Events ››
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