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, August 15, 2009

Profile Questions - Pasa La Voz

Pasa La Voz is the internal magazine of Peace Corps/Peru. Pasa la voz is a way to say, 'spread the word'. This article had the theme of "The Celebrity Issue". One of the first pages is pictures, with a "Who Wore It Best?" fake survey. Two of the pictures were me holding the sloth in the jungle, and my Dad's picture holding the teddy bear in the same manner. My Dad won…70% 'voted' for him and the caption read, "Seniority wins…at least we know what Jake will look like in thirty years."

Everyone also has a profile, about two pages of questions. Here are some of the ones I wrote as well as some funny or insightful ones from others. The pirate names happened one really drunk night when the entire group was together - the guys were discussing the possibilities of sailing after Peace Corps - all the guys got pirate names.

From me:
Pirate name: Captain A-Frame
What was the best compliment you received during your time here? One person thanked me and told me that I will never be able to understand how much I've helped them grow into becoming a better person. That was really nice to hear.

Longest you've gone without showering? Once you're past two weeks, you lose track. (In my defense, most of my time here there wasn't water during the days and no way in hell I'd take a shower at night here.)

What will you not be sad to leave behind? All of the animal poop in the streets. People coming drunk to work meetings – though I suppose it's not certain I'll be leaving that being, but they won't be so obviously intoxicated I hope.

Favorite part of Peruvian culture: They call you what you look like – I think Americans are too sensitive about the obvious. And the dancing. And people don't have a sense of entitlement here.

Biggest language blunder: I confused the word vagina and pig in Quechua during English class. I said in Spanish/Quechua, I am eating vagina.

Craziest thing that has happened to you on a combi? A woman was breastfeeding her baby standing right over me – when the combi swerved, I got bare breast in my face.

Any Peruvians chowing on your recipes? Not a recipe but hopefully people aren't afraid to eat fruit at night anymore.

What do you miss most about the States? Efficiency, family & friends, Indian and Mexican food…lots of other stuff.

What scares you the most about returning to the States? All the crappy tv and marketing everywhere. The waste. The trivial bullshit so many Americans concern themselves over and having to listen to it. Getting back into an economic model I don't like. After the honeymoon part of being home, I have a feeling I might feel like getting out again.

What English phrases will people in your community remember? The high five – not a phrase so much as a greeting and expression.

What kept you sane in site? Guitar & books

Best book you've read in Peru: A People's History of the United States – Howard Zinn. Not the "best", but the most enlightening.

What's the most terrifying creature that you found in your room? I woke up to a rat about a foot from my face…I may have screamed like a woman.

Nicknames in site: Kallapecta – Quechua for baldy.

Booze and your site. Go: So I was with my artisans on a Tuesday at 9a.m. There was a guy already drunk down the street and he went and bought three beers and was drinking them by himself – and the artisans were appalled that he was drinking alone…instead of the fact that it was Tuesday at 9a.m.


Wes:
-Pirate name: SS Wes, The Crusty Mussel
-Why do you love your site: 20,000 people, seven last names. It is so good, no one leaves; instead they stay and marry their cousin.
-Any bad habits that you've acquired? Pissing wherever and whenever the mood strikes.
-First meal you will have when you get back to the States? A steak the size of my head with a cold India Pale Ale.
-The thing that most surprised you about your Peace Corps experience: That this was as weird as everyone said it would be.

Frank:
-Pirate name: Pirate Frank, The Viking
-Craziest health problem: After a spout of dysentery, which lasted about a month, Vishal accompanied me to the hospital. After a few tests, and several missed IV attempts, the doctor returns to tell me that I have typhoid fever. Well the doctor was wrong…but that doesn't mean that PCVs don't face similar struggles to those of the Oregon Trail.
-What story will you find yourself telling in 2029? I will be telling the tall tales of the Ancash tripod. As unbelievable as they may seem…they actually happened.
-Huanyo. Love it or Hate it? I was told that it would grow on me…I'm still waiting for that to happen.
-What did you do to combat boredom in site? I have a guitar…it feels my pain.

Vishal:
Pirate name: Ruddy Barnacles
-What was your greatest success? Probably teaching the older kids to use love gloves (condoms) and the younger kids to use a toothbrush.
-Favorite part of Peruvian culture? Passing the bottle. It was a good way to hang out in town. Most people probably don't like it because they remember doing it with Cristal, old dudes with four coca stained teeth, and the smell of stale urine in their nostrils. However, I'm gonna miss it.
- What's the most terrifying creature you've found in your room? Mildew… (Vishal explains…but in short, once mildew sets in during the rainy season here, you're screwed.)
- Guinea Pig. Pet or delicious? Delicious, but I only think I think it's delicious. Get what I mean? It's the only meat I get in site. However I think once I taste a dry aged rib-eye I will forget how delicious I thought the guinea pig was.

Rachel:
- What are you most proud of? Is it disturbing that two of my prouder moments had to do with slaughtering sheep and castrating pigs? But more seriously, I'm pretty proud of the extent to which I've integrated into my community. Whether or not people have any idea of what I do, I do think they enjoy that I'm here, that's what really counts for me.
- Favorite holiday in Peru? The ones that Peace Corps actually gives us time off for.

Danielle:
-How did you keep up with news? FOX News. Fair and balanced. (she was being sarcastic).
-Craziest health problem: Having to puke and diarrhea at the same time has caused logistical problems.
-What have you learned in Peru? Generosity is oftentimes inversely related to wealth.
-What do you miss most about the States? Pedestrian right-of-way.

Tom:
Pirate name: Swashbuckler
Favorite thing about Peruvian culture: Everyone has to dance.

Sarah:
- What scares you the most about returning to the States? The mean people will make me cry. I am so spoiled with everyone being so super nice!
- What will you miss most about Peru? The food, yogurt, the amazing hospitality, the sense of family, the music, the dancing, and the simplicity of life here.

Greg:
Pirate name: umm, it's a little obscene, so I'll leave it out.
Nicknames in site: Whenever I didn't come out to play soccer those bastards would call me SACOLARGO. I think it was because I was actually faithful to my wife and helped out in the house, how strange!!!

Angie:
-What will you miss most about Peru/your site? I will miss the flexibility of just about everything…

James:
-Pirate name: BaldBeard
-What scares you the most about returning to the States? That everything that bugged me before about the States will now be amplified.

Ali:
- Favorite part of Peruvian culture: Invitar-ing It is so beautiful how even the poorest of people share whatever it is they are eating or drinking.
- What is the one thing you would never get used to? Isolation.

Steve: (a 55 year old Volunteer)
- Pirate name: Old Cannonballs! Rusty for sure.
- What are you most proud of? Probably the fact that I am not going to be one of those people who say, "I always wanted to do Peace Corps."

Jeanette:
- What was the best compliment you received during your time here? "You must be Japanese because Chinese people are ugly." I guess he was trying to tell me he though I was pretty in the most offensive way possible. (She is Chinese)
- Scariest experience: Getting a gun pulled on me at the beach.

Bailey:
- Most amusing misconception you have heard about the United States? I was dancing with someone once and before telling me his name, he asked me if I wanted to get a hotel room. When I said absolutely not, he said he has seen TV from the States and knows how blonde girls are. We all just want to have sex right away. Needless to say, that pickup line did NOT work.

Jamar:
- Pirate name: Whatshesmelllike!
- One word that describes your Peace Corps experience: Damn!

Karrie:
- Did Peace Corps meet your expectations? Explain: Learned a foreign language – check. Experienced a new culture – check. Did some good in the world – check. Yep, I'm good!
- Advice to the other groups (of Peace Corps Volunteers)? Perspective is everything. You will find yourselves in all kinds of situations (awkward, hilarious, frustrating, calming, etc), and the attitude you approach them with makes all the difference.

John:
- Pirate name: Woody Hardmast
- First meal you will have when you get back to the States: A big friggin steak. Medium rare. An ice-cold American beer.
- Any advice to the other groups? Stick with it. When you finish you'll never believe the things you've done, the people you've met, and the experiences you've had. If you go home early you'll just end up in the same place you were before you came.

Jah:
- Pirate name: The Salty Biscuit
- What scares you the most about returning to the States? Economic recession and…winter.
- One word that describes your Peace Corps experience: Extraordinary.
- Did Peace Corps meet your expectations? Yes, because it's a life-changing experience. 'nuff said.

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