“Somos aquello que hacemos por cambiar lo que somos.” – E. Galeano // “We are what we do to change what we are.” This is a quote that was written on the board that I noticed my first day at FAO.
Hola a todos!
Well, this was my first week of the internship at FAO. I had a lot of introductions with folks at the office and received many reading materials. Many reading materials. The woman who I will be working with was actually out of the office this week on some personal matters, so I am still not 100% positive of what my duties will be at this time. I suppose it is proper to have adequate training and knowledge before going out into the field anyway, but I guess you could say this week was a little slow for me.
Among all the readings, however, I did have the opportunity to attend a lecture about childhood malnutrition presented by the Organización Panamericana de la Salud [PanAmerican Health Organization] and the Organización Mundial de la Salud [World Health Organization] at the Ministerio de Desarrollo e Inclusión Social (MIDIS) [Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion]. The lecture was titled: “Estado de salud y nutrición de los niños menores de 5 anos pertenecientes a las poblaciones indígenas y no indígenas del datem del marañón en la región Loreto 2014′ (Study of health and nutrition of children under 5 years belonging to indigenous and non-indigenous populations in the region Loreto [a region of northern Peru] 2014).
The figures for childhood and infant malnutrition are obscene and staggering in some countries. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon in Peru outside of the big cities. The takeaway from this presentation is the takeaway with almost all environmental, societal, and human rights violation injustices: more education. More conversations about the issue/s and more activism in righting the wrongs. I enjoyed the presentation and was thankful for the opportunity to attend.
The presentation was Thursday (11 June 2015) and I would say Thursday was the highlight of my week. (Well, I also had lunch with the Peru FAO Representative [the boss of the office] on Wednesday, and that was pretty exciting, too. We ate at this little shop next to a large fruit and vegetable market and talked about FAO projects that are in my field of interest.) But back to Thursday, I got to attend the lecture and we had a going away lunch outing for one of the girls in the office who is leaving next week. I sat next to two of the other interns at lunch and had the opportunity to get to know them a little better, as well as practice my Spanish. I have to practice my Spanish everyday, and have been doing so and making small progress. I mostly practice with the ladies in the office, which is really excellent. A handful of ladies would like to improve their English and I need to improve my Spanish so we sit for an hour after work and speak in one language for half the time and switch. It’s only happened twice so far, but I look forward to these language lessons and I do believe they will become a weekly thing. Poco a poco, se ande lejos. (Little by little, he walks far). These are words of encouragement and wisdom from the gentleman who helps maintain the office.
As for life in Lima… I’ve done more walking around to continue to familiarize myself with this city. I went to a lovely and colorful organic market Saturday morning (with lots of local cheeses!) and so many great looking fruits! Finding this market is the highlight of my weekend and a place I will frequent. I also explored the next neighborhood over, Barranco, a little. I hear there’s a great artisan market there that I must check out. Unfortunately, the market was closed when I got there so I walked around and had lunch instead. Barranco is regarded as the more bohemian neighborhood with lots of artists, musicians, and many trinkets.
I am also enjoying the life at home. I’m renting a room in an apartment that I found on airbnb.com (for those unfamiliar, it’s a wonderful website for travelers domestic and abroad). My gracious and humble host, Sandra, is originally from a northern Andean region of Peru. She went to university in Lima and has since been here for almost 10 years now. It’s very nice living with her; and as she is a local, she has some great advice and details. She has a second room for rent on airbnb in the apartment, as well, which is the room more common for guests of shorter stays, and it has been quite lovely and interesting meet some fellow travelers. This week, we had a woman from Malaysia for three days (who had many excellent stories to tell and is aspiring to be a travel writer and you can check her out at redbohemia.) Then we had another woman for three days from Austria, also with excellent stories and similar interests of farming, gardening, and working with children. Her homemade jams and canned goods are available at Love in the Jar.
I think next week at FAO should be a bit more interesting and I shall venture to the historic district next weekend. I heard there were catacombs in the old cathedral there. Until then…