Monday, September 6, 2010

Hello Friends and Family,

Apparently August is the coldest month of the year here. So I have made it through the worst of it and there is nothing but summer weather to come. In reality I don’t think that it has dropped below 60 degree Fahrenheit even on the coldest night.

We are on our way to installing improved kitchens in individual homes in the village as I described in my last post. We have begun building our first improved kitchen as a pilot project. It is being used to train local contractors and as a model in which other people in the community can come a view it to observe to benefits that will hopefully encourage them to want one in their homes.

We are also nearly finished with a making two different videos one about nutrition and one about basic first aid.

The other night at about 11:00pm I awoke to a bit of a rumble. Not quite sure what was going on I turned on my light and noticed the clothes that I had hanging on a hook were swaying back and forth. Then the entire tin roof started rattling loudly then small chunks of dirt from my adobe room started falling from the walls. Never having experienced this before it took me a few seconds to realize it was an earthquake. After a few more seconds of the movement growing even stronger I figured it would be a good idea to go outside. In the street there were a number of people outside there homes (normally at that hour the streets are completely quiet). Throughout the night there were a number of other small quakes. I learned that earthquakes are common here but that one was unusually strong, to my knowledge there was no major damage in the village.

I have planted a small garden in the back yard of the house I am staying with. It needs to be fenced on all sides due to the variety of chickens, pigs, donkeys, ducks, turkeys, and rats that freely roam the villages. Many of the seeds are starting to sprout already. Fresh vegetables are pretty hard to come by around here, so I am excited about the possibility of having some home growns.

Back in April of this year I was in Mexico surfing with my friend Jon Begin. I stepped on a sea urchin that lodged 14 spines into my toes and foot. I spent the better part of an afternoon digging them out. There was one spine that I could feel but it was too deep to see and I wasn’t able to remove it. I tried unsuccessfully on a number of occasions over the following couple of months to dig out the remaining spine. Eventually I just tried to forget about it and a thick callous formed around the spine. A couple weeks ago I felt like the callous was growing so I decided to dig into the callous again. I found a blister pocket beneath the callous. I was able to stick a needle literally ¼ deep into the pocket in my toe before hitting flesh. I think the pussy pocket formed around the sea urchin spine deep in my toe. Anyway after hosting a sea urchin spine from Mexico in my toe for nearly 5 months I successfully extricated it and my toe is healing up nicely.

I got invited to a 15th birthday party which is a big deal in which parents present their daughters to society, often times ready for marriage. Everyone here is pretty concerned that I am 26 years old and single. Some have taken it upon themselves to find me a Peruvian wife. Unfortunately it’s not uncommon for men my age to show interest in teenage girls, which sometimes makes things awkward working with the youth here in the village. In a more extreme case I had a man encourage me quite bluntly to spend time one on one with his 12-year-old daughter. I usually counteract this kind of unwanted attention by saying I am only interested in much older women, then I flirt with the widows in the village.

Yesica is one of the girls in our youth team. She often acts like she hates my guts. I thought it might help if we had the same hairstyle. I’m not sure if it helped?

The other day a truck came into town and there was an announcement for a political meeting in the community house. Later that night after the meeting was over I went down to the town plaza and met and a group of men that invited me over to drink with them. One man took particular interest in me and wanted to make sure and talk with me. His name was Fidel, he was fairly drunk and a bit cocky. It was until the this next morning that I realized Fidel is the same guy that has his name painted on many buildings and boards in this area. He is the current mayor of this district.

Thanks very much for checking out the post,

Brent James


  1. Thanks for the update. Keep up the good work and have fun.

  2. I don't know if I could honestly say I wish I was there with you...but there is definitely a part of me that does. I miss ya bro...shoot me a facebook message if you get a chance. Did you get the one about Gavin thinking your a rockstar??

    Love Ya Bro,

  3. Those stoves are amazing! I know you;re getting alot of satisfaction doing this work. KEEP IT UP!!!

  4. Hey Brent! I loved the pictures and seeing what you are doing and where you are. I have been thinking about you and remembering when you came to see me and how wonderful it was to hug you. Thank you again for making the trip to come to Texas. It was great how many people you got to see when you were here. I love you and enjoy seeing the Peruvian people. Love, Aunt Bonny