Monday, February 20, 2012

Fashion Fantastico!

This weekend has been so incredible, I know I keep saying this every week but really there are never-ending surprises. Marshall and I got to go to the Indian and Inca Markets to find treasures for everyone. We hopped a ride in one of the bigger buses but to both Marshall and I's dismay we almost crashed because a car in front of us stomped on his brakes too. Luckily there was a sweet relief of squealing brakes to calm my nerves and we didn't hit the car. Another thing I still have not gotten used to is how the people are here in the city. On the bus we had a "clown" who sang and played a piece of paper for money. He was fairly dorky and with a few off notes, he serenaded us through a few stops. I felt bad though because he was trying to get everybody involved with clapping but nobody went along with it; you see this a lot in Lima. And it isn't just people older than me, it's young kids preforming in the street as well. Some of the kids do tricks or dance, but a majority of them try to sell caramelos (candies) to you to get money. This is something I have definitely not had to deal with in my life and I feel a little distraught about it. I realize in a city the size of Lima there will be problems like this because jobs would be hard to come by; however, it's still hard for me to justify since they are only little kids. But what can I do about it? It seems some people will give them money or food for their "talent", but I've also seen a good deal of annoyance from the surrounding crowd. I've seen some little kids get pushed around for trying to sell their things. It reminds me of the book we just finished for out political science class with Dr. Aviles; it's called I, Rigoberta Menchu. In her life, both her and her community suffered many things in Guatemala; it's been a recent struggle too that has gone on for decades. Her book goes through the details, sometimes quite vividly of how her life went. But I do remember there was almost always a chance for work, although exploited repeatedly they always did find a job. These jobs also meant that she couldn't go to school either, which I think the children here on the streets are in the same position. Her time spent as a maid was probably some of the worst ridicule I've heard of, however she never had to beg on the streets. Now whether that was because she didn't let herself because of her pride (in my opinion this is the reason) or because she was an indigenous person and society wouldn't have helped her in any way is debeatable. But this book really showed me that the world is still very occupied with exploiting every possible avenue just to get money. The ladinos stole and cheated the Guatemalan people for a long time before they started to rebel back. Nowadays though there are different problems; instead of using their labor for all its worth, the conflict is over the rich resources that are on indigenous ground. For example, in Cajamarca where my host sister is from they want to mine, but the community has some consensus that a mining company would destroy their water supply with contamination. The company has said they will give them water, however what does that mean for their crops? You cannot possibly supply enough clean water to also support their crops which go up into the mountain. They also are worried because the company needs more land and the farmers there feel as though they must sell it. I'm not sure where a compromise can be made, but I feel like the community is on the losing side. I wish there was something more they could do than just do protests. Dr. Aviles and James got to see the march first hand last week. But it still bothers me that all of these situations cannot be controlled. I don't know what we could do to help them though.
Anyway a very long point from such a tiny encounter on a bus lol. Once we got to the Mercado Indio it was fantastic!! Literally I had no idea it was that big- we almost got lost haha. But I found so many awesome gifts! And I got to practice my bargaining skills with the natives, the best one was the poncho I got for half off the orginial price! Once we found the things we wanted we decided to take an adventure and try to make it to the coast to see the ocean before we left Miraflores. So it took a while, but we did make it before sunset. And then we just walked (in the direction we thought we'd find Larcomar, which is the big beach mall); all the parks we walked through we so beautiful! We stopped at one where we found a bench, which is a miracle in itself because there were so many people out and about enjoying the park. But we stayed and took pictures of the sunset, so breathtaking, even though we come from the awesome ones of Nebraska lol. Then we made our way back through Miraflores to find a combi that would take us back to Surco (our district), definitely got my workout for the day.
Then!! Yesterday starting at 10:30 I became the guinea pig for Melissa and her friends for their fashion show. I cannot describe how amazing of an experience it was. The show didn't start until 6, but up until that moment they were fixing things and tweaking things to make it perfect, it was so much fun to be their model. The theme was super heroes and this was their final project for graduation. They had to make the costume (she said it only took her two days!) and do my hair, makeup, and nails. I felt like a movie star getting ready for a preformance it was spectacular! lol. She said we were suppose to be at the show at 4pm Saturday, however as is Peruvian fashion, we left Surco at about 5:15pm. Like I said the show didn't start until 6, but I felt we were pushing my luck. And it did not help my nerves!! Neither did the 5 inch nails they put on me either- I couldn't do a thing for myself- except of course use my knuckles to type on facebook =). But as I was saying once we got there there were many girls outside in a small parking lot that were still fixing things too so I didn't feel as bad. But once we stepped into the building, I was thrown to the wolves. They took their seats and I got directed backstage. I got my number, 64, and then waited for the show to begin. At first they put the girls in numerical order, but after while they just went by the theme of their costume and what was similar. And after about half of the girls went they stopped letting us on stage and to my utter dismay I thought I had missed my turn! I was slightly going CRAZY because I had no idea why I hadn't been called to go. But they an angel came to me and said there were two groups and that the swimsuit portion was going to start and then the rest of us would walk. I still don't get WHY, but I was relieved I hadn't totally messed up. I was so anxious to walk though. They let four girls on stage at once but only one would walk at a time. Melissa also gave me a mask that I held, which was hard with my nails, but when it was my turn she said just throw it and I did! haha Jose said it was fantastic lol. But I got my moment to have fun and walk, on an actual catwalk! I can't believe it!! And even though I didn't win the competition the girls that did were amazing. Their costumes were awesome and I definitely believe they had had some experience before. But like I said it was AMAZING! I'm so thankful I could help her out and have fun with them. And these guys didn't know English hardly at all, so I was in Spanish mode a lot of the day.

But all in all it was a pretty great weekend, ended with church with Kathy, Jose, and James and it was a good time. Even though I might not understand the father's jokes, I do enjoy his messages every Sunday. P.S. I think I might like not being able to sleep, the morning is actually peaceful with the birds chirping away and hardly any cars drive by. And last night was the second "rain" we've gotten, which is saying quite a bit because they usually get less than 10mm a summer!

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