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.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Gringos Saludables

Well, it’s oscar time…and the awards go to…the 11 gringos that live up in the Cordillera Blanca in Peru! Who’d have thought?

In Ancash, we are a humble 11 volunteers. Ancash is a state within Peru, bigger than Massachusetts. About 2 or 3 times a year though, we put together a play about an important topic, always ending with a silly dance. Then, we go on a ‘tour’ and do the play at the schools in our towns. Luckily, although Ancash is relatively big, we live around the mountain range, the Cordillera Blanca and can travel to other's sites within the same day...and during this traveling we're surrounded by beautiful landscapes.

This time we did a ‘sociadrama’ about gender equality. You might hear the word, machismo, from time to time in Latin American culture, which refers to overt and unnecessary masculinity, and with men believing in the superiority of their sex. An example is what every female volunteer has to deal with, which is men whistling and saying inappropriate things to her as she walks by on the street. In our area, it also takes the form that women can’t work on the farms or help with the responsibility of money, they can’t study in school or look after themselves. Men don't cook or care after the children. (that's me making my mountain...and a glimpse of my room)

Hence, our sociadrama was about the topic that women and men are equal. Men are able to cook and help raise the children, while women are just as adept at working on the farm, studying, and helping with the family money.

I was a mountain in the play, full of wisdom and advice…quite appropriate, no? I was a female mountain with a baritone voice, Doña Huandy, which is one of the bigger mountains in this area. The play began with a family discussing which job is more difficult, the men’s or women’s. The brother and sister argue about it, then overnight they change gender to experience the job of the other. After a day of messing up each other’s job, they change back and have a new appreciation for the other’s job and teach their parents that men and women are equal. (in the picture above, we're sleeping in this picture and Puck, the fairy, is trying awaken us to ask if he can switch the genders)
During the play, Frank and I (the mountains) give advice and provide the magic to switch their genders. Our play is made for kids between 8 and 14...though it is appropriate for everyone. Hope you enjoy the pictures.


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