My first week in Peru is now over and it has already gotten to the weird stage where it feels like I just got here but also like I have been here forever. I finally got over the jetlag, I am slowly getting over the altitude and I am starting to have a daily routine. Arequipa makes it easy though to start to feel at home. While some things are certainly very different, Arequipa’s European routes are inside and it is overall a really modern city. Arequipa is after Altima the second biggest city in Peru and I is in the middle of the Amdes at about 2,500m above sea level.
In to picture you can see the Plaza de Armas which is like the main square of Arequipa at least when it comes to tourist attractions and the old part of the city. There are many restaurant, shops, sights and tourist agencies areound it and of course the basilica that you can see in the picture. It is impressive from the outside and absolutely gorgeous from the inside. I went there for a service as it is a huge part of the Peruvian culture and it was definitely worth it!
Overall I have already discovered that there are many churches all across Arequipa as it seems to be a huge part of the life here.
Another thing that there is a lot of at the Plaza de Armas and all over the city and which can seems to be a huge part of the culture are the stray dog so! Honestly there are so many and I just want to take all of them home and make sure that they are all okay!
More animals that I was already excited about before coming here were the llama and alpacas and when I found out that there is a far, for them really close with no entry it was no question that I would show up there. It was a maxing we got to feed them, but sadly they didn’t like to be petted. However, my mission while being here is to visit them often enough to make them trust me and let me pet them. I mean look at them they are so cute and gorgeous and amazing!!!
However, due to my jetlag that is about the exploring I have done in week one. Though I am hoping to do more this weekend here in Arequipa.
But now onto the reason I am actually here for, which is the volunteering. I am working in a girls home and my main task is to play with them, help the with their homework, and to be there for them. the girls in the house are between 3 and 18 years old though everyone over 14 is in school while we are there. Which leaves us more time for the little ones who need the support more.
The other volunteer and I were both surprised, both by the good condition of the house and how loving and trusting the girls were. As most of them have some history of being mistreated we assumed it would take them time to warm up to us, yet we were greeted with hugs and were pulled around the place by our hands three kids on one arm, as they all wanted to show it to us.
They call us ‘hermana’ sister, which is very cute. The favorite thing of the young ones to do is to use me as a climbing frame or me to spin them around. they love playing with my hair because it is so different to what they are used to.
I also brought a frisbee and some of the girls are super keen to play with it and even the little ones are trying to get involved although the frisbee is about a third of their height. But it is amazing to see that they are that interested in it and want to learn.
As my Spanish sadly currently still is horrible it is quite overwhelming at times to try to talk to all the girls and my brain is starting to develop the habit of mixing all languages I know together which makes it hard to communicate. but I can already see slight improved ties and being around the girls A lot of the vocabulary I learned is coming back and I am hoping for my Spanish to really improve over the next couple of weeks.
Hopefully going got a frisbee training here will help too! One of the girls, who is about my age and works at the home full time, asked me if I want to join her team on Sunday and while I am extremely nervous about the language, Iam excited to meet Peruvians hopefully my age and to have some fun!
I’ll update you on my journey next week!
Lots of love, Katie
Instagram: @katfeyer for more pictures