Our littliest’s Home-Away-From-Home – Mama Hack’s Perspective

The one & only Mama Hack’s guest post: 

How do I put into words all the planning, anticipation, anxiety and love that went into this trip and then the discovery, the fun, the excitement, the adventure, and the love that we all experienced.

My first emotion was true comfort and relief in seeing your big smile with your “Welcome to Peru” sign, hugging you so close that I could feel your heart pounding finally knowing that you really are okay, both physical and mentally.  So many diverse feelings surfaced throughout our visit that I will forever cherish our visit to Chatito and try to relive and describe ….

Joy in meeting Glenn and feeling his ease with all of us and the support and love you have for each other.  Pride and awe as we watched you interact and converse so freely with confidence with all the locals using your Spanish fluently with a true Peruvian accent.   Pleasure and discovery as we explored Piura and the neighboring artsy town, sharing the best ceviche and sipping Peruvian beers and hauling the new guitar around that we brought from the US for your guitar teacher.

Apprehension and some discomfort in experiencing a travel day in the life of Jamie…taking the combi bus with all the locals hopping on and off with babies and packages squeezing people in like sardines.  More apprehension and uneasiness as we overloaded our bags and bodies in the crazy moto-taxii and began our next leg of the journey bumping along the dirt road and somewhat barren looking farmland to Chatito, your home away from home.

Distraction by the very barren, brown town of Chatito that consists of drab little adobe homes, some with thatch roofs or tin walls, all mismatched, stray dogs roaming the dirt roads with a few green trees here and there.  Immense warmth and love as your entire Peruvian family welcomed us with open arms and kisses as they demonstrated their love for you and treated us like family.  Unity and family pride as Marcella, your Peruvian Mom, Carla and Ariana, with Baby Bianca in arms, showed us your home and all the animals living in your backyard.  Caution and maybe a sort of uneasiness as we took in your primitive living quarters, the animals living so close to your bedroom window, the primitive bucket bath and outside potty, the outdoor makeshift washing station and clothes line, baby Bianca’s hammock hanging over the dirt floor and thatched roof kitchen, the many pots and pans boiling and cooking Chi Cha and other foods, the very simple one room homes that your family and most in the community live in.

Affection and pride as Juan offered to take us out to the chakra (farmland) to see how your family and the majority of families support their families and livelihood.  Adventure and fun as all 7 of us loaded onto a wooden platform with wheels that were harnessed to the family horse and this strong horse hauled us for miles as we toured the beautiful chakra, taking in rice fields, plantains, corn, the other farmers, the primitive but creative way they grow crops in this desert land nourished by water from a canal system.  Appreciation for all of their hard work, their self-sustaining way of living so simply without modern conveniences.  The affection and bond in family and community as they paraded us around town, waving at Aunts and Uncles and friends as we passed the square and the church.

Amazed by the gracious hospitality of your whole family, especially your mom and grandmas as they prepared so many delicious meals for us using fresh vegetables from the chakra and the freshest chicken, duck and turkey from the backyard with such meager kitchen tools and surroundings.    Pure satisfaction in devouring the fresh ceviche and then the delicious chicken soup after the long tour of the chakra.  Caution and again uneasiness as we all shared a bowl of ChiCha, the hand brewed corn alcohol. Curiousity as we watched Juan and Marcella fill the ceramic lining in the ground with potatoes, plantains, duck, turkey and chicken and cook for hours in preparation for our delicious dinner. Compassion and appreciation as we gave the gifts we brought to all the family… baby Bianca, Ariana, Christian, Carla, Marcella, Juan, and the grandparents.

Impressed by the tour of your health post and pleasure in meeting Magdalena, your health post Socio, and Doctor, that think so much of you.  Pride in understanding the many and diverse projects that you have initiated to make life better for your community.

Peacefulness in meeting Annie and Claudia your Peace Corps neighbors and friends, knowing that you are truly the backbone for each other and realizing how much you truly need and love each other.  Affection and acceptance in getting to know Glen watching how you are both so natural and loving with each other, and knowing that he needs you as much as you need him.

Playfulness, tenderness as we observed 8 year old Ariana play with baby Bianca most of the day with the new scooter you gave her for her birthday and the music lion that we gave her.  Connection, friendship as we sat on the front porch sharing a beer glass with your father Juan, grandfather, Glen, Annie and Claudia. Fascination and gratitude for the energy that you and Glen put into translating the many conversations throughout the day and night.  Just sharing the common bond and love for you, Jamie, as we all spent hours on the front porch, sharing space, sharing a common love of you.  Constantly feeling the love and support of your home-away-from-home family, reassured that you have a solid and loving Peruvian family to love and support you.

Celebration and happiness as we sang baby Bianca Happy Birthday in both English and Spanish as the sunset and the evening was upon us.   Togetherness as a family as we all gathered in the house, eating birthday cake and meeting all of your extended family, cousins, Tias uncles. Deep affection and emotion as we listened to both Juan and your grandfather as they took time to talk about you, and their feelings, not knowing whet they were saying since it was in Spanish, but their body language and emotions were so strongly felt that my eyes puddled with tears.  More heart strings and emotions as we listened to you translate what they said and seeing how touched you were by their words.  Closeness as we just spent time sharing space, sharing the common love of Jamie, brought us all together.

Spiritual connection as we attended church to celebrate the Festival of Saint Santa Rosa.  Pride and a warm welcome as we sang and clapped and felt the appreciation of your service as they honored you seven times during the mass.  Entertainment and liveliness as we watched the handmade wire firework structure spin and light up after mass.

Constant pride and awe of you and your service, knowing that you are making a difference poca a poca in your community and your community has embraced you. Amazement at your adaption to this daily life, living in such primitive and rustic surroundings.  But mostly, I felt and took away with me the common thread of love for Jamie that united us all and I left Chatito with a positive hope that things will get better for the children, the parents, the families, the community, all of them, poca a poca, with better awareness of good health, better diet, better hygiene, improved trash system, improved sports. Jamie I am so proud that you are a part of this, and truly you are making a difference.

My heart, love and appreciation goes out to your home-away-from-home family.

My darling Jamie, loving you deeply and missing you but now I can envision you in your life and feel a connection across the miles. It was such an amazing trip and I loved our visit to Machu Picchu and will cherish it all! You opened up this adventure for all of our family my littliest, thank you for being you!

Love to your home-away-from-home family and Glen, Annie and Claudia and Magdalena!




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Peace Corps Volunteer Peru

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