The content of this webpage, and everything associated with this webpage, is independent of the Peace Corps and the United States Government, though I think they should read it too. This blog solely reflects the experiences and observations of Jake DeBerry.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

My new place - address, phone number, etc

I’ve set up shop in my town and I’m open for business. Currently, I’m renting a small room in a house with 3 older people (around 50, one brother/one sister, and one teacher). The sister is starting to teach me Quechua - the native language of the Andes - which sounds like complete jibberish to me. I think my 1 1/2 year old nephew would be able to speak it well though.

My room is small, painted purple with a yellow ceiling but I am lucky…in my house I have a toilet, with a toilet seat, running water, electricity (sporadically), something called a shower with freeeezing water, and cell phone service. The internet has yet to come to my town though – I have to travel about 30 minutes for internet (so my apologies for delayed responses).

All in all, I have it good. Regardless of your house though, your body is pretty much a science fair project. For example, one state is Piura and I’m living in Ancash. Piura is dessert, Ancash is mountains. Volunteers in Piura are known for getting Round Worm (worms that live in your intestines and you don’t know you have them until one ventures out) and in Ancash, the bacteria and parasites’ mission is to make volunteers poop their pants – and they have a high success rate. For the past week, let’s just say I haven’t ventured far from a “safe haven”. Choose your poison. Both suck, but our scenery is better while drinking that poison.

We also experiment with how long you can go without a shower. Many of the houses here don’t have showers and if you do, the water is freezing. The only way to do it is during the day when it’s the warmest – a shower is then somewhat bearable for 3 minutes. I usually take a shower once, maaaaybe twice a week and that is frequent compared to others.

For the mail: If you’d like to send a care package, or a hate package, or a fun package, or an old fashioned letter, I’d like to receive it. There are some do’s and don’ts though:
Do Nots:
- Do Not send anything expensive
- Do Not put the real contents on the package – put “stuff” or “gifts” or “papers”. Volunteers who receive a package with the word “chocolate” don’t usually find chocolate in their package (yeah, the mail people steal it – I am currently making friends with the mail people though for protection).
- Do Not put the real worth of the package – always underestimate.
- Do Not send boxes – those will get stuck in customs. The padded envelopes are the best.

Do’s:
- send stuff
- be sacrilegious for my sake (read below)
- junk food is nice, anything is good though. Pictures are always nice. Recent magazines (not celeb-crap, good ones, nat'l geographic, economist, time, etc). Anything really.

Mailing address (write it exactly like this):
Hermano Jacobo de Berry
Correo Central
Huaraz – Ancash
Peru
Apartado Postal 279

Explanation: Due to the high number of people getting stuff stolen from their packages, a friend told me a good idea is to pretend like I’m associated with the church (even though I couldn’t be farther from it). Jacob is a biblical name (thanks mom and dad), so it’s all the more believable. Feel free to put a couple crosses on it also. (hermano means brother) If it's just a letter, you can leave off the "hermano".

Cell Phone: I think this is how you would need to dial it. Get an international phone card though – dialing regularly is expensive.
011-51-(43-985-1918) - the first 5 numbers are country codes – the last 9 is my actual number. I have cell phone coverage in my site, so I should be able to receive your call at any time - unless I’m in a “safe haven”.

I miss everyone! Hope all is well. Go Skins (this is definitely their year)!

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