V.28 No.16 | 4/18/2019
The color of the food is as vivid as the array of tastes.
Eric Williams Photography

Restaurant Review

Peruvian Excellence

Pollito Con Papas II nails the mark with quality

Pollito Con Papas II offers something unique and different for Albuquerque, with a love of food and every dish being a standout option that won't let you down.

V.25 No.36 | 09/08/2016

The Daily Word in Renewable Energy, Sex For the Elderly and the End of Days

The Daily Word

A Michigan State University scholar has found that having sex when you're a senior is good for the ladies, but not so much for the men.

Archaeologists found some disturbing shit: Footless children buried at an ancient temple site in Peru.

Want to protect your brain from the effects of aging? Take some B12, dummy.

So, Costa Rica has gone over two months running completely on renewable energy. That's the sound of the game changing.

Rather than plead guilty to an assault charge (a move that would have let him walk away free with time served), a Texas man decided to fight his accusers (including a handful of police officers who were at the scene) and prove his innocence. He got a 40 year sentence.

A Russian river has turned blood red. It's the End of Days! The drooling idiot God, poised for all of history at the Gate of Time (where seven padlocks on seven chains have held him for a millennia) is loosed upon the earth. Goodbye, all my stuff.

V.19 No.25 | 6/24/2010
Villa el Salvador, Lima’s largest shantytown, was built on a giant sand dune.
Ilene Style


Diary of Villa el Salvador

An Alibi staffer’s journey through impoverished Peru

What follows are excerpts from a complete travel journal originally posted at Click here to read extra and extended posts.

My first reaction at seeing Villa el Salvador during my volunteer orientation was the same as everyone else's in my program. As we entered the neighborhood for the first time, we all fell silent, our eyes scanning the streets for something, anything, that would make us think, This isn't so bad after all.

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V.19 No.20 | 5/20/2010


Adios Peru

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

I somehow managed to become deathly ill on my very last night in Peru. It was the dreaded "stomach thing" again. Everyone traveling here gets it at one point or another. I've had it twice in six weeks, as have all my voluntario housemates and people I've traveled with. Milt, who flew here to visit Machu Picchu with me, and to make sure I actually came home from Peru, got it a few days after he arrived, despite brushing his teeth with bottled water and following all the suggested food precautions. Generally this is nothing that a little imodium won't cure. But what hit me on this last night was the "stomach thing" with a vengeance. It came on swiftly, relentlessly and violently, con mucha fuerza. I spent my last night in Peru camped out on the bathroom floor in a hotel room in Cusco, memorizing every floor tile. By the next morning, I was so sick I could not stand up. The problem was, I had not one, but two flights to take that day, one from Cusco (the airport closest to Machu Picchu) to Lima, then later from Lima to the United States.

I crawled out of the bathroom, which I had locked myself in six hours earlier, and knew there was no way I was getting on a plane in this condition. I just couldn't imagine camping out in an airplane lavatory for eight hours, and certainly couldn't fathom what the turbulence would do to my stomach. I told Milt to go without me, that I would fly home sometime in the future when my stomach stopped hurting. When Milt realized I was totally serious about spending the rest of my life on that bathroom floor, he sprang into action. After all, part of his mission here in Peru was getting me home. He dressed me, packed my suitcase and ran to the nearest store to buy me the Peruvian facsimile of Gatorade. Meanwhile, the hotel sent someone up to my room to administer oxygen, which they made me breathe for 10 minutes. Then they tried to make me drink something, anything—coca tea, Gatorade, water—to help revive me, as at that point I was completely dehydrated. But to no avail. I could not even keep an imodium pill down.

All I wanted to do was to lay down on the cool bathroom floor again, next to my new best friend the toilet, but no one was having any of that. Milt practically carried me downstairs, and handed me three or four plastic bolsas, which he had thoughtfully confiscated from our hotel, for me to use as barf bags. Upon our arrival at the Cusco airport, no Spanish translations were necessary. The staff from LAN Peru Airlines took one look at me, promptly put me in a wheelchair and rushed over an oxygen tank for me. Then they wheeled me to the plane. OMG, was this really happening? Aren't I still too young to be pushed through a busy airport in a wheelchair with an oxygen mask over my face?

Despite their efficiency at keeping paying customers like me alive, LAN Airlines does have a track record of removing really sick people from flights before takeoff. Milt, having heard horror stories about this, kept propping up my limp-as-a-ragdoll body in my airplane seat after we pre-boarded (being in a wheelchair has its perks), and lifting up my lolling head, begging me to smile and look happy every time the flight attendants walked by my seat. I tried to tell him that if anything were to give away my true condition, it would be the unattractive pale green color of my skin, not whether I was smiling. But at that point, my words were coming out slurred, so I'm not sure if he understood. I made it through the 1 hour flight, clutching my barf bags for dear life. I spent my last afternoon in Lima sleeping in a dark hotel room until it was time to catch the next plane, not having enough energy to even go outside to give my beloved city of Lima a last look, or a proper goodbye.

I was still feeling shaky as we headed to the airport for our flight to the U.S. I slept for the entire eight hours home, something I have never done before. Milt kept checking to see if I was still breathing. I still couldn't look at food, even though I hadn't eaten in almost 36 hours. This isn't the method I would recommend for losing a quick 10 pounds overnight.

This was NOT, needless to say, how I wanted my last memory of Peru, the country I had fallen in love with, to be. No one wants to remember leaving anywhere in a wheelchair, with an oxygen mask on, in extreme pain, convinced she is going to die. I cannot allow myself to remember my goodbye to Peru like that. So, I will remember my farewell in a different way. Perhaps whatever brought on this illness the day I was to fly out of the country was telling me that it wasn’t time for me to leave Peru yet. Perhaps I was meant to stay longer. Perhaps I still had unfinished work to do here. I don't know. It's a nice thought. Whatever it was, I have made peace with it, and the less-than-perfect ending to my mission will in no way tarnish my feelings for this wonderful country, or my feelings of happiness and pride in making a small contribution to the community of Villa el Salvador during my short stay here. In the words of my seatmate who got sick in our tiny plane in Nasca, "It's all part of the experience."


A Word About Cocaine in Peru

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

I received an amusingly large number of responses from many of you after I mentioned in one of my first emails that Peru is the world's second largest producer of cocaine. Here are more facts on that subject.

Peru is one of only two countries where it is legal to cultivate coca. The country grows about 56,000 hectares of coca, and can produce about 400 metric tons of cocaine.

Cocaine is the second most popular illegal recreational drug in the U.S., behind marijuana. The U.S. is the world's largest consumer of cocaine, accounting for 50 percent of the world's annual consumption.

The U.S. has spent roughly $1 billion in Peru since the year 2000 on anti-drug efforts. The result? A net increase of 18% in land here used for drug crops. Back to the drawing board, Washington.

According to Peruvian sources, 1 gram of cocaine that would cost between $80 and $120 in the U.S. would cost between $5 and $10 here in Peru. And, it is pure, not cut, like it is by the time it arrives in the U.S. There is a test, involving plain household bleach, that can determine how pure your cocaine is. Most drug dealers or addicts are familiar with this test. Sorry, amigos, but I was sworn to secrecy on the method.

Drinking coca tea (mate de coca), an infusion made from the leaves of the coca plant, is a popular remedy for alleviating altitude sickness, which many tourists get when traveling to Machu Picchu, Peru's most popular tourist destination. Chewing on the actual coca leaves themselves is also a well-known remedy. This method of consumption has been practiced for many centuries by the indigenous people of Peru. I have attached a photo of a coca leaf.

Drinking coca tea or chewing on coca leaves does NOT give you the same high as cocaine, although it will give you a mild stimulation and mood lift. However, you should be aware that you WILL test positive for cocaine if you are subject to a drug test after using these remedies. It is best to refrain if you will be looking for a job after your vacation to Machu Picchu!

V.19 No.18 | 5/6/2010
Machu Picchu


More Fun Facts About Peru

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

Peru has the highest navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca in Puno. It sits 12,500 ft. above sea level.

Peru has the two deepest canyons in the world, Colca Canyon and Cotahuasi Canyon. They dip down 10,600 ft. and 11,000 ft. respectively.

Peru has the second highest peak in the Americas, the mighty Huascaran, which rises to 22,200 ft.

Lima, Peru, is the second largest city in the world that is located in a desert, after Cairo.

Annual rainfall in Lima is 0 inches. It NEVER rains there. And I thought Albuquerque, with its mere 8 inches a year, was dry.

The world's longest river, the Amazon, starts in Iquitos, Peru. Iquitos is the gateway to the world's largest and most diverse natural reserve, the Amazon rainforest.

With a population of 400,000, Iquitos, in the Amazon rainforest, is the world's largest city that cannot be reached by road, only by water or air.

Sixty percent of Peru is jungle, or selva. Most of Peru's Amazon remains unexplored, and hence has some of the best untouched rain forests anywhere in the world.

Should you decide to explore the unexplored Peruvian selva, make sure you get vaccinated for typhoid, yellow fever and malaria. And be sure to bring LOTS of bug repellent, with at least 30 percent DEET. I can always spot tourists who have recently been to the jungle by the huge red welts all over their arms and legs!

Machu Picchu, the most famous archaeological site in South America, is the iconic symbol of Peru. It is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, rubbing elbows with India's Taj Mahal, Rome's Colosseum and the Great Wall of China. It was discovered in 1911 by Yale University historian Hiram Bingham, who, incidentally, was the role model for the Indiana Jones’ character in films like Raiders of the Lost Ark"


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.

Hermana Jacci explained to me that there are two reasons for the success of these numerous hostals. There are sometimes so many people living in a home in Villa el Salvador, often in only one or two rooms, that married (or unmarried) couples have no private place to go to be together. The hostal serves as their private place. The other reason for the hostals is they provide a place for married men to take their amante, or lover. Peruvian men, she noted, are not known for their fidelity, much to the chagrin of their wives. Unfortunately, unfaithfulness among married men here men is so common that wives have practically come to expect it. Peruvian men themselves have confirmed that this is true, but have assured me that the “chauvinistic” society here is improving. I'm glad to hear that, although I'm sure it will take a while to change social mores that have been around for so long.

But that's not to say that married men with a wandering eye have cornered the market on amorousness in Peru. ¡Al contrario! Peruvians are the most affectionate people I've ever met. Public displays of affection are readily exhibited and highly encouraged here. Even the statues love a little PDA (see photo). Couples walk hand in hand, arm in arm, down the street, nuzzling each other on street corners, on buses, in movie theaters, and at the supermercado, oblivious to their surroundings. (At least now we know there's a hostal available for them in Villa el Salvador, should they need a room.) Even friends display more affection toward each other than I am used to.

Which brings me to one of my favorite things about Peru. When Peruvians greet each other, it is always with a kiss on the cheek, a hug and a greeting of "Buenos dias,” “Buenas tardes,” or “Buenas noches,” depending on the time of day. This ritual applies not only to good friends, but also to people who have never met before. When I first arrived here, this custom surprised me, as I was not used to kissing, or being kissed by, people I didn't even know. What happened to the polite all-purpose handshake? But in about no time flat my surprise turned into delight, as that sort of affection makes you feel immediately welcome, especially when you are clearly an outsider like myself. I have kissed and hugged more people than I can count since I've been here. (Kissing 100 abuelos hello and goodbye three days a week is practically a full time job in and of itself!)

This tradition is yet another thing that makes Peru so special. As far as I'm concerned, every country should adopt it.

V.19 No.19 | 5/13/2010


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:

"Two years ago, my daughter and I traveled to Peru to perform service work with my aunt, Sister Jacqueline Glessner, a Catholic nun, who lives in Villa el Salvador, a shanty town of some 500,000 residents outside of Lima. I returned from that trip feeling like I wanted to help "her people" in any way possible. After all, it was nice to travel to the area and assist personally, but what these people really needed was money to purchase life's necessities: food and medicines, shelter and clothing."

The website address is If you'd like to get in touch with Marianne directly, you can e-mail her at She can also receive checks at her address in NJ, which she then deposits into a joint bank account she shares with Sister Jacci, who is able to access the funds in Peru and use for the program. All money donated goes directly to Los Martincitos; there are no administrative costs, or middle men. Her address is:

Mrs Marianne Boyle 18

Cummington Lane

Flemington, NJ 08822

There is also a link on the website to a program called Adopt a Grandparent, or "Adopta un Abuelo", another website that helps the Los Martincitos program. That website address is

V.19 No.18 | 5/6/2010


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.

Although Francisco was still able to attend the program at Los Martincitos after his first and second strokes, he is no longer able to attend because of his deteriorated condition. We now go to visit Francisco on a regular basis, since he cannot come to us. We talk to him and even try to joke with him, but it is difficult for him to respond. We believe he is comprehending because he squeezes Hermana Jacci's hand, and gesticulates wildly with his good arm when he doesn't agree with something, or wants to make a point.

Perhaps Francisco will improve, and will be able to attend the program again someday. If not, I pray that God intervenes and grants him his wish. No one should have to suffer, through no fault of their own, a life they cannot bear. Vaya con Dios, Francisco.


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.

While Hermana Jacci discusses the situation with Petrona and her daughter, I catch a glimpse of a little girl peeking out from behind a door. It is Petrona's granddaughter. I go over and try to talk to her in my broken Spanish. She is wary of me, and won't talk to me or even smile, but she agrees to have her picture taken. She begins warming up to the camera, and proudly shows me her prized possession, a Barbie backpack, which she insists be in the photo with her. She finally manages a slight smile after I have taken several shots.

This niña bonita was a bright spot in my day. Perhaps I (but more likely my camera) was a bright spot in her day too.

My camera serves an amazing function here in Peru, allowing me to communicate with people with whom I otherwise I would not be able, due to language or cultural barriers. It has become my most valued possession, and I keep it with me at all times. Thank you, Dad, for the best birthday present you've ever given me.


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.)

My fellow voluntario Quinn and I decided one day that we simply could not go on any longer sticking our right arm in, and then out, and shaking it all about, so we decided to choreograph our own exercise routine for the abuelos. Quinn thought that “YMCA” would be the perfect song for the abuelos to get down to. However, since we had no means by which to obtain the song and play it on the ancient boom box they use at the senior center, we had to settle for one of the three songs they already had. So, one morning, after practicing our routine the night before (we took this very seriously up until we actually had to do it), we asked permission to lead morning exercises.

Upon hearing the first few notes of the Macarena, we promptly forgot everything we had prepared for our big debut. We managed to fake it, though, with each of us taking turns leading dance moves that incorporated various body parts. Our rendition of the “twist” was extremely well received, and it was hard for us to keep straight faces while watching the elderly abuelos try to gyrate their hips, something that most of them were clearly doing for the first time in their lives. Apparently, our “non-routine” was a hit, based on the applause we got after the song was over. I always knew that those aerobics classes I took last century would come in handy someday!

V.19 No.17 | 4/29/2010
Angelica in her room


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.

The walls of her house are made of a medley of strange materials that look as if they are about to collapse at any moment, and part of the house has no roof. The squalor inside is eye-opening. Hermana Jacci warned me about this the first time we visited her, saying discreetly before we entered, "Angelica is not the best housekeeper." There were piles of trash? ... knick knacks? ... worldly possessions? strewn everywhere. Apparently Angelica's neighbors had to come over and help her clean up the mess before her son's wake (which is always held in the home of the deceased, with the casket in full view. Burials happen quickly afterward, as there is no embalming available.)

Angelica has stopped attending the Los Martincitos program because she has been in a depression since the death of her beloved son. The second time we visited her, she cried because she misses him so much. Hermana Jacci tried to reason with her that she would be less depressed at the program, surrounded by her amigas, than sitting at home every day in the room that she shared with her son—the same room in which he was laid out after his death. She gave this some thought, but didn't seem convinced.

Her remaining son Pedro is supposed to be taking care of her, although that is difficult because he is blind. He is very domineering, and Angelica fears that because the deed of her house is in his name, he will eventually put her out. Recently he has acquired a new girlfriend, so has been spending much more time away from home ... and away from his mother, leaving her alone much more than she is used to.

We will continue to encourage Angelica to return to Los Martincitos, because if she misses too many days, she will be dropped from the program, as there is a waiting list of other needy abuelos in Villa el Salvador who would be grateful to have her spot.


A Word About Toilet Etiquette in Peru

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

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

Many of you have asked me about the "toilet etiquette" in Peru that I mentioned in a recent e-mail. I wrote about the toilet etiquette here when I first arrived: "Because of the unsophisticated plumbing in Peru, used toilet paper is NOT flushed down the toilet, but is placed in a separate bin NEXT to the toilet. This was a hard concept for me to grasp. Like, gross!"

When I tell new voluntarios about this unusual custom, they are as grossed out as I was weeks ago when I arrived. Of course, now it's old hat, although still somewhat weird. You will never find a toilet in Peru without one of these next to it. They come in all different sizes, depending on how many people use one toilet, but always look the same. There are exceptions to this particular toilet ritual, of course. It does not apply in big fancy hotels. Perhaps these hotels have their own plumbing systems.

While we're on the subject of el baño, another thing you must always do in Peru is carry toilet paper with you at all times (especially if you are a girl.) Toilet paper is not a priority in public restrooms here, nor are paper towels, soap or sometimes even toilet seats (I'm not talking about lid covers, but the actual seats themselves). Luckily, with or without paper, the public restrooms here are still a step above many of the the public restrooms in France, some of which consist of a drain in the ground surrounded by a privacy screen.

If you happen to be in a public restroom in Peru that requires you to pay to use the facilities, women pay more to use the ladies room than men pay to use the mens room. Why? Because the ladies room has toilet paper. What if men need paper? Lo siento, yo no se!

Aniseta y Olionia, Spa de Elena


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.

At work last week, I hung out a shingle and opened my very own nail salon, Spa de Elena, and gave manicures to the abuelas. My lack of experience was not a problem; after all, what self-respecting girl from the Big Apple doesn't know everything there is to know about mani/pedis? Apparently, receiving manicures is quite a special treat for the abuelas, as I had a large number of them crowding around me when they saw me bringing a shoebox full of nail paraphernalia to a small table that Hermana Jacci and I had set up. The nail polish and accoutrements are all donations from former voluntarias.

Some of the polishes were dried out to the point of being almost unusable, but that didn't bother the abuelas. I had to dispense with niceties such as nail soaking, cuticle trimming and clipping/filing early on, as the abuelas were interested only in having their nails painted the brightest and most garish colors that were still usable. They awaited their turns patiently, and despite my warnings of "¡No toca nada!" (don't touch anything!) when their manicures were finished, they immediately went off and touched everything in sight, effectively ruining their manicures within minutes. They then lined up again for me to fix the smears. My frustration eventually gave way to laughter, as it is hard to be cross with someone who is so excited, even for just a few minutes, about her newfound beauty.

Check out the "after" photos of some of my new spa clients.

V.19 No.16 | 4/22/2010
Me and Margaret


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.)

I love my new home in Villa el Salvador, the home of Antonio (Tonny) and Silvia and their three children. It is the first time in 4 weeks I have been able to sit straight up on my bed without bumping my head against the top bunk. Margaret, another voluntaria who I met at Los Martincitos and who is now my NEW new best friend, is also staying here. She is from Dublin, Ireland, and has been living here in Villa el Salvador for 4 weeks.

Margaret and I, without a doubt the two whitest people in Villa el Salvador, walk to work every morning. We try to stick to the main roads and travel over an interesting mix of terrain, including sand, rocks, dirt and several unfinished sidewalks. We've visited together an internet cafe here to check email and a locutoria, which is a store with public pay phones that are very cheap to use. These locutorias come in very handy for residents of Villa el Salvador who don't have phones, like me.

After work at Los Martincitos yesterday, Margaret and I went to help teach English to children at an elementary school just outside of Villa el Salvador. We took a bus there with Lady, the student teacher who invited us to help her. It was the first public bus I have taken in Lima. Buses are a little scary here. There are thousands of different ones, and I have no idea how anyone knows where they all go, as they all look the same—terribly old, run down and always overcrowded. Strangely, the buses in Lima are all privately owned, so anyone can buy a bus, make up their own route, and hire anybody to drive it. The government does, however, set the fare. All buses in Lima cost 1 sol, or about 30 cents. There was a man selling bread on our bus, a little girl selling candy, and a little boy playing a guitar who solicited money from passengers after his concert. I felt like I was back in NYC!

At the school, we taught English to 3- and 4-year-olds in the form of songs and nursery rhymes. We practiced singing "Mr. Golden Sun" and "Good Morning Teacher" and then Margaret taught the class "Itsy Bitsy Spider." When we got off at the bus stop on the way home, we took a taximoto (the 3-wheeled, completely unsafe motorized vehicles that we were warned never to take) the rest of the way home, because it was almost dark and it was safer to take the taximoto than to walk home from the bus stop. The taximoto was fun, but I discovered quickly that you must hold on to the bar on front, as there are no doors, windows or seat belts to hold you in.

That evening, Carmen, a 22-year-old student who also lives with the family and speaks no English, asked me shyly if I would help her with a writing assignment for her beginning English class. After we worked together for awhile, I realized why I had never heard Carmen utter a word of English. She cannot pronounce the words. At first I thought it was odd that she was struggling so much with the word "the," one of the simplest words in the English language. As I watched her frustration, it suddenly dawned on me that there is no sound in the Spanish language that equates to "th" sound in English. We spent 20 minutes alone on the word "the," as I tried to teach her how to position her tongue so the "th" sound would come out correctly. I now have a profound new appreciation for speech therapists. We practiced English together for the next two nights, and I wished her luck on her presentation, which is today. Before she left for class, she said to me, “Me gustaria que te quedaras mas tiempo aqui" ("I wish you could stay here longer"), a compliment I will never forget.