CLawrence's Travel Journals

CLawrence Caitlin Lawrence

What was the strangest food you ate while traveling?


  • 29 years old
  • From New York, United States
  • Currently in Urubamba, Peru

Some random experiences

A few thoughts from here and there..

How I continue to be amazed- tales from Media Luna, Peru

Peru Urubamba, Peru  |  Jun 23, 2011
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 "Be the change you want to see in the world" 

The other day I chose to travel with my roomate Emily to experience the work that she is doing while during her stay here in Urubamba. Although we discuss her day and how her work progresses. I've come to learn that you will never fully understand what someone says to you until you go and see there passion with your own eyes. So, with that being said, after lunch we walked about a mile to the nearest bust station and loaded into the local combis. This in itself was quite a scene. Aprroxamitely the size of a SUV in the states- sat about close to 20 peruvians. My program advisor, and her colleague new to Urubamba climbed into the combi with us. We were the only four gringas in the combi. Dealing with stares and looks of concern is something that will never get old, yet at the same time I have become completely accustomed to. As everyone is going to different destinations you have to pay close attention to where your location is the entire time. You must yell out esta Aqui! Finally after about a 10 minute ride we arrived at our destination called "Media Luna" which is a small community dedicated to women who live around the valley with there children. Many of them are single parents, and products of demestic abuse and poverty. Sadly there situation is mostly attributed to the effect of intense alchol consumption. Which is a very big isue here in Peru. Specially the beverage of choice which is called "chicha" which is usually made from different kinds of fermented corn. The process is very easy and takes little time to produce- so naturally it is everywhere. At a very low price. I apologize for getting off topic- this whole chicha situtaion still perplexes me daily. As we walked onto the grounds of the community- we were immidately welcomed by a woman named Emma who is a single parent with her son JuanCarlos attached to her back smiling. The women in the sacred valley carry there children in what is called a "kaypina". The women tend to carry there babies until they near the age of 2- which you can imagine is a lot of weight. After greeting Emma and her precious son she showed us the way up to a small building in which the women of the community sit- discuss life issues, and discover new ways of living. Living without having to make dangerous deciosons- and can keep there head held high at the end of the day that the money that they earned- was from hard- legitamate work. One by one the women started to file in the door. Being that I was new - the women proceeded to walk in double kiss my cheek, shake my hand and then exchanged there names. Rosa, Marlina, Esperanza- and sadly I am having a difficult time remembering the rest. They all looked fatigued- yet still managed to have a smile on- and ready to start there next round of work,After they entered there children piled in. Wherever momma goes so do the children. It's almost a momma duck and baby duckling affect. With a lack of seats due to a rather small space- two benches one small table and a petite bookshelf stocked with about 10 childrens books. The children observed the space and resorted to sitting on the floor. (Very typical peruvian seating)  The project at the time being has been learning how to knitt new patterns to make hats, scarves, pocket books and more. The goal is that hopefully we will be able to go around the local towns and ask hotels, shops and more if they would be interested in cosigning some of the womens products. As my spanish seemed to lack on this particular day- because I was tired- I felt frustrated that i couldn't communicate with the women as well as I wanted to. The words just seemed to keep slipping from my mind. As I looked around the room I saw a young girl looking at a book. I thought to myself that's great. But then I took a closer look. She was looking at the book upside down and rapidly turning the pages with an expression on her face of intense frustration. I knew it was going to be hard- but I made the split decision- I am going to teach her how to read- or at least to the best of my abbility. I found that working in a school in the past with special needs children was unbelievely helpful. I used some of the learning methods that I was taught in the school and got to work. I asked the girl her name and age and she responded that she was Gloria and she was eight years old. It took me a minute not to react with disgust that she was so old and didn't even know how to read. I took a deep breathe and asked her typical childrens questions. "what's your favorite animal" "what's your favorite color" and within minutes we were bonding- and she was sitting on my lap reading the book- the right way. We read line by line- I showed her how it is easier to follow the story if she used her finger and she read each word. After about ten minutes I looked up and realized I had about 5 children clinging on to me. One child on each knee- one child hovering over my left shoulder- and one who was just trying to wiggle her way in. Finding it difficult to spread the attention I realized- most of them just wanted a little bit of affection. Prior to this impossible endevor I would have never thought that only 3 hours of practicing reading would truely work. By the time I left- Gloria- her younger sister name sita and a small boy Jaun .. where Im not sure came from were reading the story about a frog and princess by themselves! These three hours were some of the most rewarding hours of my time here in Peru. I hope that one day these small peruvian children will remember the gringa with green eyes. I hope to return one day and see them all grown up with jobs and families of there very own. For even if they don't remember me- I sure will remeber them. Thats all for now.

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"Ciao Ciao"

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  • User Profile Photo
    maureen lawrence wrote: Fri Jun 24, 2011
    Wow Cait.
    You are doing great things in Peru! I love your stories. You were always great with the kids. Keep up your great work. I can't wait to hear more details once you arrive home. I hope you are taking lots of pictures so we can see your experiences even more once you get home.
    Keep on going, and doing wonderful things for others. We are proud of you and love you more than words can say. Have a good weekend and keep us updated . We miss you.
    We are giving Brody big hugs and dog treats every day. (He may be fat when you get home! LOL) Tim is running him around the yard- chasing lacrosse and soccer balls every day. (And he is just bothering Marley everyday to play with him.)
    Love you,
  • User Profile Photo
    Adam wrote: Fri Jun 24, 2011
    My favorite post yet!

    Love you
  • How I continue to be amazed- tales from Media Luna, Peru

    June 23, 2011
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