Day 9 – Official End of Week 1!

9 Jun

Well I think it´s pretty safe to say I´m loving my life right now. I´ve tried to update all the pictures I was slow putting up, and if you don´t feel like scrolling through all the posts again this post can be your little catch-up. Except it probably won´t be that little… you´ve been warned.

Right now I´m sitting across from some  woman at the hotel checking her email while singing a very interesting song to herself… something like “are you the only one who´s close enough to drive me crazy… everything is so right some of the time… am I just a friend to make mistakes, I want to keep you warm…” I´m not really sure if this is a real song or she´s just making it up as she goes, but it´s both hilarious and mildly alarming. These people have no notion of personal space or boundaries.

CLASE: We have class from about 9am-5:30pm every day at the Instituto de Investigado Nutricional. I am in the Research Module for 2 weeks, and listened to a lot of lectures on research studies and methods, ethics, and conducted/evaluated a research study with my group! On Friday we went to an elementary school to weigh and measure 30 5-year-olds and then have them try different kinds of Chicha Morado and tell us which they liked best. We then evaluated all this data to see if there was a correlation between their BMI and how much sugar they preferred (in theory, the more sugar they prefer the higher their BMI would be, ie more overweight). We are conducting the same study with a different group at a different school on Monday morning and then comparing all the results. So far there doesn´t seem to be a huge correlation, but there is an interesting relationship between sexes. The first study showed that for the most part the girls preferred the medium-sugary drink (of 3 options), and for the most part the boys preferred the most-sugary drink (of same 3 options).

Girls in my module but not in my group conducted studies as well, one group looking at how much a 4-year-old would eat if given a really large serving of animal crackers versus how much a different group of 4-year-olds would eat if given animal crackers and a juice box. Another group was measuring and weighing babies and then evaluating how much sugar they put in their babies´tea. I don´t know the details of these studies, but we are all presenting our finished papers and presentations on Thursday so I´m sure I´ll know more about them and the results after that.

The girls in the other module are doing Water Sanitation, and one of my favorite parts of each day is hearing all of them after class! They´ve seen a man nonchalantly peeing on the side of the road… while talking to another woman. They´ve seen people pooping on the side of the road without caring if anyone saw. They toured an underground water drainage system where someone jokingly asked if they ever found dead bodies down here, and the answer was a serious “yes”. They took samples at different parts of the river to see how contaminated it got the more downstream you travelled, and will examine those samples in the lab more this week. They toured a few farms where some farmers were hooking their irrigation systems up to the sewage lines and using the dirty leftovers to water their crops. They also toured a few worksites where produce was washed in large basins, the water was refilled only after each truckload so became filthy very quickly, and because the workers had to stand in waist-high water to wash the vegetables they often just took their pants off and worked half naked.

We are finishing up our research this week, presenting results, then heading into the moutains of Huaraz for 4 days on Thursday to stay with host families and see nutrition in rural Peru. Very excited!!!

FOOD: Typical Peruvian dishes are pretty tasty! I´ve tried Ceviche (raw fish that is denatured with lemon juice instead of being cooked), beef heart, guinea pig, cheesecakes, truffles, so much bread I don´t know what to do with myself, rice at every meal, 10 different kinds of potatoes (it´s the year of the potato here), 5 different kinds of beans, oranges, bananas, mango, Peruvian corn (soooooo yummy!), super strong coffee, beer, wine, and pisco! There are still a lot of things I haven´t tried yet, but I´m sure I´ll cross a lot more off the list by the time I´m done here!

The food definitely took some getting used to, especially because back home I mostly ate fruits, veggies, and protein with limited carbs, whereas here they serve carbs ALL THE TIME with limited protein and we can´t eat many of the fruits and veggies. There were a few days where I felt pretty lightheaded and feverish while my body adjusted to the new energy sources.

FRIENDS: I can honestly say that all 15 of the girls on this trip are wonderful! We are all Dietetics majors, some with backgrounds in exercise as well. Everyone is very nice, smart, hardworking, and love to have fun! Some are a bit more crazy, and some are a bit more reserved, so it makes a nice balance in our little group 😉

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I think we drive all the hotel workers crazy by being here though! They have a jug of safe drinking water and we are all constantly refilling our water bottles, which means the hotel has to refill their jug constantly too! They´ve figured out what time we leave everyday and are now not refilling it as much until after we leave for class. They serve bread and coffee/tea every morning for us too (worst free breakfast ever), and we keep stealing all of their bread, jams, and butter to make sandwiches for ourselves later so I´m sure they´re getting annoyed with restocking that so much too. Dang Americans!

As for my friends back home, of course I miss you all! I haven´t had a chance to Skype with anyone yet, but would love to!! My Skype is karlee.golightly if you ever want to chat 🙂

FAMILIA: Miss you guys! I´ll have time later tonight to hopefully Skype with Momma and Padre 🙂  I hope this blog is keeping ya´ll fairly updated on what´s going on and you aren´t worrying about me too much.

NOVIO: Ahhhh I miss my best friend! Robert and I have never been very patient people so this whole limited-communication thing has been interesting. I´m really happy with how well we are both handling it 🙂  The Peruvians are such an affectionate culture, and it makes me kinda sad watching all the PDA and knowing that we are so far apart.

TOURISM: This week I´ve visited Miraflores, La Molina, Manchay, and Ica. I´ve tried a bajillion new foods, taken probably not nearly enough photos, laughed a lot, sandboarded, toured a vineyard, tried Peruvian beer/wine/pisco, learned some Peruvian history, visited a food market, made a fool of myself with my sub-par spanish skills every single day, watched an important Peruvian futbol game, and toured a fountain/light show festival.

The Struggle: I miss sleeping in a full-size bed with a fan going (it´s really hard for me to sleep in silence).

The Silver Lining: Hotel staff changes my sheets and makes my bed every morning!

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