Monday, December 28, 2009

The year is almost over...

So, this is the blog that I recount all that has happened this past year and I must say I don't think i deserved it at all.

January-July: I was still in Detroit working at Alternatives for Girls (AFG). Detroit defianetly stle my heart and it remains there til this day. All the people I met and worked with are still dear to me. I miss hanging out with my community there and riding a bike everywhere. I miss going to the Boll YMCA and taking spinning classes. I miss eating Veggies straight from the garden with mi amiga Gwennie. I miss my roommates: Derek, Gwen, Hno. Vince, y Hno. Bob. I miss St. Charles and everything about it. I miss my outside Amigos: Leor, Shannon, Mike, Nikki, Alan, Kristen, Sarah R y B, Marta, and Gisella (just to name a few). I miss the access to marathons.

I learned so much about myself and about life. I learned to love unconditionally and to listen without interruption. I learned to read the needs of others. I learned that living is complete when you can live within anothers life and that we are here to share our stories in turn to learn others stories.

After leaving Detroit, I spent two weeks in Chicago for orientation. I meet some really great people who heard the call and answered "Yes". After, I spent 2 weeks in Hawaii to spend time with friends and family. It was hard but necessary. It's good to know that you are being loved. Then, in August I headed to Milwaukee for the final orientation before we (Michael, Alyssa, y yo) headed out to Peru. Life in Peru of course has been great so far. The boys here are funny, fun, and just plain silly. Coming here with no background in Spanish was hard but now I am at the point where I can actually have a conversation with people. It is a slow converstation, but a converstation none the less. We are presently, on our vacation which means pretty much all the boys are gone.

Some of the boys will not be returning like Elias. Elias was a great kid. In the week and a half, we would go running around la ciudad and I would teach him english while he helps me with my spanish. It was nice to have that help.

What will the new year hold? I don't know. But, when it happens I will make sure to let you all know.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I feel like I just got here....

This has been a tough month physically and mentally. The parasite seems to win all the time.

There has been a lot that has been going on. I am taking yoga classes on Fridays which help with seeing clearly again. I haven't been out of 'Ciudad de los ninos' and that may have to be with the fact that I don't trust myself. Which in turn has been putting a barrier on my language learning. Comfort seems to be the only driving force that is helping me. But, then jealousy rears it's ugly head.

On the brightside of things, we had a wonderful thanksgiving dinner here in Peru. Found a whole turkey, made mashed potato, gravy, salad, fruit salad, and a squash pie. Had 4 0f 5 brothers over. It was quit nice to be in a normal setting with them and just sharing a meal. Then hno. Hugo showed us Achmed (LOL).

We had a wonderful global volunteer by the name of Paula, who really did a great job. Global Volunteers is an organization that is located in different countries all over the world. You can apply to do 1-2 weeks of service. You pay a set price and everything is set for you. All you have to bring is money for extra things you would want.

In the past week, we learned that there is a terrorist group that is killing people for their fat. This past weekend Michael went to Huanco with Hno. Pollo and a few of the boys for a song competition. This city is one of the cities that the killing was done in.

I hope in my next blog, I can just type in spanish. For this one, I needed a small break. Thank you to all for your support and prayers for us.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Because someone asked me too :)

1 de Octubre hasta 17 de Octubre:
Everything has been the same during this period. I would meet my house for breakfast at 6:30am, leave for school at 8am, come back at about 1:45pm for lunch and work til 8:30p or 9pm. I did take a day each week though to have lunch with my classmates. We at a restaurant called "Rustica". During lunch time at certain ones they have a buffet for S./29.99. That is pretty cheap when you convert it to dolares. I also ate at a restaurant called "La Favorita", there I had 'Salchipapa'. It is hotdog, fries, a fried egg, and salad on the side. It was pretty good. On our weekend off we went to Barranco for dinner. Life has been pretty calm here. Though my profesora did mention that Octubre is teremoto month. They range from 2-7. In 2007, one of them wiped out a whole city.

18 de Octubre:

Baptismal Day...Alyssa, Michael, and I became Madrinas/Padrino. Michael and I have the same child (though Michael also has one more). Our child's name is Bradish, he is about 13/14 years old and super cute. His family is super nice. There was a bit of a concern about being Madrina and Padrino here. Alyssa found out that in Peru the concept has gotten so obscurred that they have become the Material givers. It should be an interesting rest of our time here with that.

22 de Octubre:

Holy Communion Day...We decided to get Bradish a camisa (buttoned shirt), Biblia, candle, and bookmark. Mass was nice, but what was weird was what happened afterward. They took the kids the comedor for a celebration meal. But, just the children. The parents (who decided too) stood outside watching the kids eat. We had a volleyball game and our waiting was cutting into that. Volleyball game was intense. A few of the women we played with were super competitive and I don't think I helped at all. It was very intimidating. Especially, when all the children were watching us play.

23 de Octubre:

Confirmation Day... Michael's child got confirmed, so did Bradish's brother. Alyssa and I went to support them and in the process of being there. Alyssa got asked to sit in for the sponsor of sobrino de su ahijado (cousin of her god child).

24/25 de Octubre:

The 24th was a set-up day for the anniversario. A lot of food preparation and working with the kids.
On the 25th, we had our 54th Anniversay celebration. It was great. There was tons of food from Pachamanca to Anticuchos. My house made Panchamanca which I ate. It is made of Chicken/pork, potatoe, soybean, and corn. I also tried Anticucho (Cow heart). The muscle part was yummy, but the tissue can be quit chew. You can just bite right through it. For dessert, I had rice with milk. We also had a performance section. All of the 9 houses performed plus a special one. My kids did a dance from Huancaya. They were super cute even though they didn't really know the dance. 6 of the house did traditional dances and they were all great. The last number was done by some volunteers from the U.S. They did a mix of 3 songs: hula, line dancing, and "Beat it". They were pretty good. LOL, it was actually a bit scary, but everybody loved it. This was the first time they had a hula performed. Plus, we got bombarded about Michael Jackson afterwards and some of the boys wanted to try out the poi ball. All in all, it was a great day.

That is all for now, I will try to update more frequently... Hasta Luego!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Por que no escuches?

A month and a half has passed and I am still here.

Today (10/1/09), I am drained. I have 6 weeks of spanish under my belt and I feel as if i only have 2 weeks. yo se, yo se... we always put ourselves down. For some reason, my kids have a tendency to not listen to me and tease me. At first, it was funny now it is irritating.
I have 22 boys and 1 girl to take care of. Yes, I know all by name. Tonight, I broke a kid down. This boy has tendency to play instead of doing his homework. Well, he wanted my help (ayudame, hermana x10). I refused because he was very disrespectul to me earlier in the day. I asked him why is disrespectful to me? Why doesn't he listen to me? I finally told him that for me to help him I need him to listen to me. I asked him if he can do that. He didn't answer me. I asked 2 more times, then I asked him if it was difficult. By then, he was in tears and answered yes. We got down to the root of the problem. I have decided to work more closely with him to help him.
Language school is going well. I am speaking a lot more and learning alot. i have decided that I don't like the past tense. I wish everything was in present. There is just to much past tense to remember. I was happy to learn 'por' and 'para'. my classmates and I have decided to have lunch once a week together. This past week we ate at 'Rustica', a peruvian restaurant. Michael and Alyssa joined us. A few people had anticucho (cow heart). I had the chicken, lol.
That's all for now... But I will right more if you just ask me.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's been 10 days wince my last post then again who is counting.

Learning spanish makes me tired and working with kids everday easily makes you sick.

The one thing I should have brought with me to Peru is a medicine kit. Gracias, Jesus por Alyssa :)

It has been a week and two days of spanish lessons with the regular work each day and well the first few days were pretty tough. So, our schedule goes as follows:

5:00-5:45am Wake-up and get ready for the day.
6:30am-7am Breakfast
7:am-8am Cleaning the house (Bathrooms and both homework areas)
8am-1:40 or 2pm Spanish Lessons at El Sol
1:40 or 2pm- 2:15pm Lunch
2:15pm-5:00pm play or homework time
5:pm-5:30pm The kids change clothes and take a shower
5:30pm-6:15pm TV/Movie time
6:30p-6:45pm Dinner
7pm-7:45pm Praise and worship
8pm-bedtime Left over homework/ get ready for bed
Note: This schedule is only for Alyssa and I... Michael has a completely different schedule. Within two weeks this is our week day schedule.

The weekends look like this:
7am Breakfast
7:45am Deep Clean of the house (everybody helps out)
9am play time/ homework
12:30pm Lunch
1:30pm More play
5:45pm Dinner
6:15pm Movie/TV (my house watches two movies at this time)
9:30am Bedtime
Everything is the same in the morning minus the deep clean...
6:30pm Mass
7:45pm Dinner
8:45pm Bedtime
Saturday2 (the kids leave)
Everything is the same in the morning as the other Saturday
4pm-5pm The boys are picked up by the parents
5pm Cap Corps is off work for the rest of the day until 3pm of Sunday

It is a pretty packed schedule. Right now we haven't done much sight seeing, but as the year goes on we will do more. My kids are pretty good for the most part. Today, though they were being disrespectful to all the hermanas. Some of them are treated better than others. There is a level system going on, but I treat them all the same. Even the birthday boy today, got scolded by me. I find it interesting that I help the kids with their Tarea, but I don't really know the language. I do use it brokenly, but for the most part they understand what I am trying to tell them.
That's all for now, thanks for the response Trazy and Rich. January/February looks like the best time to visit by the way. Miss you all...

Monday, August 24, 2009

one week down... many more to go!

Finding your foot print in a see of many can be difficult and fun at the same time....

Well, one week has finally finished and the 3 of us have survived. I think I am going to go against the grain with this one and go backwards.

Today, we had our first day of spanish school. It was fun. We are attending for 4 hours which are split into first session and second session with a snack break in between. We took a taxi there and was a few minutes late. Our driver actually attend Ciudad De Los Ninos for 3 years. My first session teacher is Edison and my second teacher is Esla "Blue" (She wishes that her last name was blue because it is favorite color ^_^) During my first session we worked on pronunciation and syllabuls. We played hangman for the Abecederio and scrabble for the syllabuls.

For the second session, we worked on introductions. There was a lot of laughs that were had. This is my presente:
Me llamo Tania Brown. Soy estadounidense. Soy voluntaria.

For our ride back it was the same driver. He took us on the scenic route of the coast. It was our first time seeing it in the day light. It was beautiful. We passed a place that translated out to 'jump of the friars' which is a cliff rock on the coast where supposedly friars jumped off to their deaths. The ironic thing about that are is that they have a restaurant named after it.

For 4 days before today, we worked at Ciudad De Los Ninos. It has been quit the experience to work and not know what they are all saying. It has been nice to have bro. Hugo speak english. The ninos are very helpful. In my house, one of the hermana has a daughter who is one year older then the oldest boys. Ella se llama Danna. She really knows how to keep the boys in line, lol. the schedule is the same from Monday to Thursday and then changes for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (Next blog I will post the actual schedule).

On Tuesday and Wednesday (the first two full days), we went shopping and to the down town area where the embassy was. We went to Saint Domingo church to see St. francis of de porres and saint Rosa's graves. We also saw a lot of other bodies at Saint Francis church. This church had a large catacumb. It was crazy to see it all and also exciting.

Next blog should be up in about 3 to 5 days or maybe a week later... we will see.
A Hui hou

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Changing rooms

When one door closes... another shall open!

It is time to go through that new door into a room called PERU. A room I never knew would exist in my life. It amazes me with how much God works in a persons life and he sure has done his share. It is time for me to show hime that his GIFTS will not go to waste.

Let me tell you are Peru:
I will be leaving on August 17 for Peru with two other volunteers (Alyssa and Michael). We will be working at Cuidad De Los Ninos which is a boys home and school. Our roles have not been defined yet. We are the first volunteers to serve in Cap Corps in Peru. So, we are sort of the test group. I will be going with very little spanish and a great will to learn the language. The length of service is 18 months. Within 6 months, I should be at a Spanish 102 level (I hope). I am truly excited about this challenge.

Looking back:
In the past two weeks, International Cap Corps serves have been attending a Ecumenical Orientation. We have meet other international volunteers from ECLA, RCA, PC-USA and one lucky one from Episcopal. We went through sessions on Racism, Sexism, Cross-Cultural conflicts and relationships, learned about Islam and went to visit a Mosque, safety and contingency planning, and other topics. Each one provided something to take with us on our mission.
Everybody had a great story to share and it was fun to get to know them personally. I hope we get to stay in touch through out our periods of service. The number one thing I learned was: Go without expectation and know that you will learn.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Half way through...

Spending half a year of your life in another state can break you down and build you back up. Will it keep you the same? I hope not.-- Tania Brown

Last year at around this time, I was working a routine. RAing in the dorm, making sure people are following the rules, recruiting/community serving/developing relationships for UCC (now Newman again), advocating for UMADD, interning at the YMCA, and just being me.

I had a lot to think about too and doubt set in me greatly. I made the decision to graduate (even though I was ready for a 7th year). In my mind the end was coming soon. What was I going to do next year?

Presently, I am faced with the same question. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO NEXT YEAR? and I really don't know what the answer is. A part of me wants to go international, but that is out of the list. A New York program captivated me in December of last year. Shelly spiked an interest in me for Montana. Lastly, this past Sunday I was projected the want of the people here in Detroit of me staying. I haven't allowed my heart to play a role in my decision yet because it went through a lot the last time I did that. Right now, I am using my head to decide what would be the best. I am looking at experience, skill training, status, and the need of the people.

There is so much to think about and so little time to do so.

Friday, February 27, 2009

This Lenten Season...

God has a sense of humor... what type depends on you as an individual. This past week I couldn't help but laugh at all the obstacles I am now faced with. I've been given the opportunity to reflect on me, instead of relfecting on others. Being without a personal computer has been pretty challenging. I have to wait till I get to work to have any time on it. I have to find other ways to pass my time which has become more essential to me achieving my goals.

I have lived a life filled with technology and it wasn't by choice. It is just that it is part of my generation. I have taken this obstacle as a challenge from God... he wants me to be without.

This Lenten season I will pray more (or be aware that I am praying). I will fast once a week (most likely on Friday). I will exclude Red meat, eat less chicken and eat more fish. I will beaware of my actions and eleviate as much negativeness as possible. But, if my spirit jars me then you are just gonna have to take it. I will try to keep my spirit at bay, but what peace is that for me. Gosh, no one can win.

Let this Lenten season be a reminder of ourselves. Let us be aware of what is going on outside and inside.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Thoughts

Coming from a background where keeping up to date with the government wasn't the Forte, you start to wonder what you missed.  Honestly, I feel as if I haven't missed anything.  Today, marked a big jump in history.  It is the fire and the gasoline that burns the negativeness that has happened in our past.  To bringing a new foundation in which we as a community can grow a better future.  
Obama knows what is expected of him and he knows he isn't superman.  People heed to his words:  It may not happen over night or month or a year from now, but I promise that it will happen.  I hope that we as citizens of America can take these words and internalize them for our own individual selves.  Maybe we would be able to get that degree or go on that trip that we wanted.  Nothing can happen unless we will ourselves to do something.  
Obama also said that to see change we need to work with him.  things won't get done faster if we just sit and watch a leader do it.  That is why they are leaders, they gather all those that have the will in order to lead them to the way.  

May all of you take heed to what Obama had to say, coming from a non-political personality it is serious.  If I had to talk politics, what is written here is what I would say.  God Bless everyone and God Speed America.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

2 Weeks Into The New Year

It has been exactly 14 days into the new year and I believe I am ready to achieve my goals.  Today (1/14/09), Gwen and I activated our YMCA account.  I am feeling pumped for this new year.  Life seems to have a funny way of showing you how to live and so does GOD.  On the way back home from working out at the YMCA, we passed by a young girl carrying a child.  I was like "SHE HAS A BABY!"  Gwen was like, "Should we go back?"  and I said "YES!"  
We went back and picked her up.  I was relieved that she took our offer because I couldn't allow her to walk with that child in below 10 degree weather.  We got to learn that her child was 3 months old and named Jeremiah.  
Living and working here in Detroit has built a guard and wealth of understanding of the world we live in.  It has helped me to maintain my seeing the beauty in ugly and getting to know God's people on a personal level.  I have gotten to hear many stories and want to hear more.  I hope to be the ear of listening for all those that have the need to share.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A New Year Equals New Routes

I believe I am starting this New Year off right… I got 7 hours of sleep and had money on me at the stroke of midnight (a family tradition). It feels great to be in this year of 2009. With all the negative things that is happening in our country, I can’t help but feel joyous and happy with where I am at. With every New Year comes what our society calls “Resolutions”. 

Ahhhh, that infamous list of taking away and barely gaining. “I want to lose weight”… “I want to stop smoking”… “I want to find love”. We focus so much on the things we hate/ dislike about our life at that moment that we don’t focus on the good that we are. Why get rid of all your nasty habits when you can focus on making the good ones BETTER

This year I choose to resolve the following:
  1. Walk for 30 min. 4 days a week (build up to a run)
  2. Go to the YMCA for strength and cardio on the weekdays (if I miss one make it up on the weekend)
  3. Call my family once a week (twice would be a miracle)
  4. Share my story with others (those who know me, knows that this is very hard for me)
  5. Commit to my community for 6 hours a week (and strive for more each week)
  6. Eat vegetables for all meals and meat for 2 meals a week.

I believe this will do for now, the one thing about resolutions is that they are meant to be revised and I know for sure I will be coming back to this list. May your journey to better yourself this year be successful. Let’s make the change we need happen. GODSPEED!!!