Thursday, August 25, 2011

Huanchaco, Peru- the Sleepy Surfing Town

So, about a 30 minute taxi ride north of Trujillo, Peru lies a sleepy little surfing town called Huanchaco. Parts of it were lovely! Parts were a dusty desert/ beach. Overall, I loved it!

A garden below the cathedral.

The Catholic cathedral- love the cobblestone!

The pier! Looking towards the town. I totally had to pay like 2 soles to get on! Crazy!

View of the town from the beach.

The pier! Looking towards the ocean. See the huge waves in the background?!!

The little boats that the Peruvians use for fishing! They're made out of reeds, and according to Wikipedia, they are called "Caballitos de totora."

I found a gazebo on the beach! So pretty!

More of the desert like beach.

Why yes, it Huanchaco is a tsunami zone! And yes, the waves really were huge!

And the highlight of Huanchaco- surfing!! The day before my birthday, I totally treated myself to surfing lessons! I was super nervous, but I knew I would regret it if I didn't take advantage of cheep lessons in Peru! It was amazing! Thanks to my super helpful instructor, I stood up on the board almost every time! There were only 2 times that I couldn't stand up. So awesome! It was one of the most amazing experiences! It also help me remember one of the most important lessons I learned on my mission- that usually the things I'm most afraid of are the most worth while. Yay for taking chances!

That night I went to a party with the volunteers- at midnight, they sang to me and toasted me (with their crazy mixed drinks and my 7-up). They also lit a bunch of tea candles for me to blow out and gave me a cute bouquet of wildflowers. Overall, it was a pretty nice birthday eve.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Peru- Service!

I had the amazing opportunity to visit Peru for a month! For a couple of weeks, I did service at a blind school with children with multiple disabilities.

Here are some of my girls with their moms! On the left, Elizabeth with her mother. On the right, Jennifer with her mom and her sister Belin. Both of the little ladies have cerebral palsy. (The school also said they had autism, but I'm not too sure...)

Trying to take a picture of Alejandro! This kiddo has autism and cerebral palsy as well as being blind. He was super challenging to work with, but oh so sweet! As it is with all challenging kiddos, he was totally one of my favorites!

Sister picture! Belin and Jennifer!

Alejandro with Eliu. This was SO cute! Eliu is blind and has autism, which means he has a hard time reaching our world. But this day, he found Alejandro! He loved walking around while helping Alejandro walk with his nanny. Eliu wouldn't let him go for at least 20 minutes, but insisted on walking around with Alejandro! It was SO amazing to see that connection!

Me and Eliu! It was hard taking a picture of him...

The other volunteers from Germany. Sabrina (left) also worked in the classroom I was in.

The teacher of my classroom and me! She was just amazing!

This was a challenging experience due to a lot of things. The language barrier, complicated and multiple disorders, minimal technology resources, to just name a few! But it was SO amazing! I am so grateful for the experience and all I learned about myself during it!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

El Salvador- the fun times!

So, after lots of good times taking care of the kiddos, it was time to play!

We went to the beach! It was black sand!

It was SO pretty!

Me saying hi to the ocean- "Hello El Salvador beach and pacific ocean!"

Elizabeth, my recovery partner in crime, wanted to say hi to the geese.

The resort we went to was SO beautiful!

There even was a swim-up bar that was much enjoyed by my drinking friends.

The military guys that guarded us while we played.

The San Salvador temple! I missed the open house by a month... so sad! But I'm SO excited that the members of El Salvador have a temple now!

We also tried to go salsa dancing, but ended up finding a live band instead. They were really good!

Melody with her 5th dessert of the evening. Not even exaggerating at all! She loved those sweets!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

El Salvador- The Last of the Kiddos!

And the last of the kiddos in El Salvador!

This little guy was SO excited to have his surgery! He has a clef palate which makes it hard to understand his speech, and he really, really wanted to have the surgery to help it. Unfortunately, after the doctors put him under during surgery, they discovered that he couldn't safely be intubated with the equipment they brought from the States. He and his mom were pretty upset that the surgery couldn't be done. And they traveled SO far! I believe it was an 8 hour bus ride for the poor little family...

This little guy was SO cute feeding himself with the syringe!

The baby! Before the surgery, he let all of us hold him!

Some of the mom's like to make hammocks for their little ones- so sweet!

This little lady came last year on the last day, but we couldn't do anything. This year, we had a dentist come who made mouth appliances to plug up the secondary holes or fistulas (that sometimes result later after a clef palate surgery). Yay!

Oh, how I loved going to El Salvador! I can't wait to go next year!