Peru Part III – Bugs, Bunks and Bye-Byes

Posted by David Smerdon on Jul 25, 2011 in Non-chess |

A relatively short post today, and you may not hear from me for another week.  Tomorrow I’m off to Cusco and the famous ancient wonder Machu Picchu with Jessie, one of the other volunteers.  Jessie, the youngest in the house at twenty, is an up-front Floridian girl who shares my traits of blatant honestly and occasionally slipping into the mindset of a fifteen year old boy.  This, combined with her command of Spanish, makes her an ideal travel buddy, and it’s going to be nice to be a tourist again for a few days.

Having said that, she’s not 100 per cent at the moment, which is slightly concerning before we tackle arduous treks at high altitude.  Barely anyone in the house is – in fact, the house currently resembles some sort of makeshift hospital.

Last week, I woke up at 3 am apparently in the middle of a violent argument between my subconscious and my stomach, and less than a minute later, I was curled around the toilet in our one bathroom, hurling my guts up.  The next day I slept for around 18 hours (the other six hours divided between watching the first two Star Wars movies, and vomiting), without eating so much as a cracker.  The next day, I was fine.  The day after, I got a head cold.

This week, these two separate bugs have attacked the other members of the house, usually simultaneously.  Bathroom time has been scarce.  For us ‘healthies’, covering classes has been continuous.  Pharmacy trips have been regular.  For those still recovering from the desert diarrhoea of Huaca China, this has not been a fun week at all.

And combined with everything else, this week marks the end of semester for the school and, consequently, a mass departure for many of the volunteers in the house.  By August sixth, only Valentin and Kat will remain with me from the original household, and eight new volunteers will arrive.  For many of the soon-to-be departed, Huaycan has been their home for six or twelve months, and the farewell to LLI and to the kids is predictably emotional.  Poor Ellie said goodbye after a combined stay of over a year, with a vicious stomach bug her final farewell present.

As sad as it is, I guess the children here are used to the rotating schedule of their fair-haired teachers, and next week will be a new opportunity to experience new teaching styles and learn a little more about the world.  For me, though, it’s quite sad to already be saying goodbye to my housemates and new friends after such a short while.  And I’m a little apprehensive about being one of the house ‘veterans’ in a week,  charged with the responsibility of looking after the newbies.

Well, at least I have a week of snappy pictures and Pisco Sours first.  And it turns out that Jessie and I will be in Cusco on Independence Day for Peru, which should be highly entertaining.  Predict a bumper photo edition next post.

Oh, and the bunk reference?  Last night, one of the wooden slats on Valentin’s bunk (above me) literally cracked in half and fell on my head.  A small bump, but I’m more than a little concerned that the stability of the whole wooden bunk (combined with a ninety kilo Frenchman) may itself crash on me at some point in the future.

Surely not.  Nothing more could go wrong in the house at the moment, right?

...but it's all worth it.


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