As I sit in my bathing suit writing this, I look down at my legs, and all I see is a carpet of ugly, red black fly bites. Not even treeplanting has been able to rival the amount of those buggers who have feasted on me. From the knees down, I am a bumpy, red sea of itchiness. Erika won a point today when she got bitten on the bottom lip.
That being said, not even the bugs could keep us away from visiting a superb waterfall in the jungle today. We all squeezed into a large van and drove up dusty, windy, rocky roads until we came to our hiking spot. So, here we were: hiking in the jungle! It was such a treat – we hiked through a narrow trail, tropical trees of all sorts on either side of us. Immense leaves, sporting shiny greens, mossy vines, just like those you see hanging around in jungle movies, and colourful insects made this hike one of the most colourful and spectacular I have ever done. Once we reached the waterfall, there was a plethora of shrieks, everyone ripping their clothes off, running (almost slipping) down the path and reaching the bottom of this gigantic, shining waterfall. Just like those countless paintings you see of thin, yet eternally long waterfalls that have been painted to sparkle just the right amount, this waterfall provided the most exotic entertainment. Standing under or just by the waterfall fuelled our adrenaline, giving us the most powerful urge to scream and yell exuberantly. It was like the heaviest rainstorm imaginable – and there we were, yelling our heads off, as water pounded all over and around us. It was extremely exhilarating and refreshing, and everyone was in a fantastic mood.
Last night, the group came over for our weekly meeting. We hold our weekly meetings in the place where Yannick, Catherine, Erika, and I live, which is the community centre of our Peruvian partners: La Casa Comunitaria de Salud. Erika and I share a room, and Catherine has her own room just across from us. Yannick was given a room, but he decided to drag his bed to the unfinished fourth floor, which is essentially just a dusty ground with walls and no roof. So, Yannick’s room is the roof and a great place to hang out. At the meeting yesterday, we had chocolate cake in honour of Erika’s birthday, and it was lucky enough to rival my very own moist chocolate cake recipe. Afterwards, Yannick, three students, and I went up to the roof to chat. It became dark as we were up there, and the stars were wonderfully bright, so we all lied back on Yannick’s bed to gaze at the stars, as classical music floated from his laptop. We talked about the solar system, the sun, the moon, and the noises of Quillabamba. It was amazingly serene. We were all a little disappointed when the laptop’s batteries died and the music stopped, but then – we discovered that Jean Philippe, one of the students, is a Jukebox himself. He is a musician (and misses the piano like I do), and he knows so many lyrics by heart. So, not only can he remember words, but he can sing entire songs, completely in tune. After another two hours of him singing, and us joining in when we could, the five of us headed out for a bite to eat. We had a great time eating omelettes and sharing funny stories. Jean Philippe told us about a party he had, where they were playing baseball and someone was throwing the baseball to his friend, and as his friend backed up, he rammed into a mailbox. We all laughed about laughing at someone else’s expense, and then Yannick exclaimed, “And it’s not even funny!” as he slammed his hand on the table and broke the table’s glass. We all gasped and looked around the restaurant dumbfounded, but of course, this made us laugh even harder. Jean Philippe proudly took a picture of us sitting around the table, making sure the corner with the broken glass was in the photo. We kept laughing and then walked the students home.
After returning from the waterfall escapade, Catherine, Erika, and I went on to the roof to work on the computer and read the students’ articles. Catherine’s pants kept falling off; it was hilarious. Erika took pictures of Catherine’s pants on their way down, and we laughed for hours. In fact, we are still laughing now.
In about twenty minutes, we are all going out for Guinea Pig (Cuy), which is a delicacy here. Let us see how the group handles that..!