In Mancos, I am not, despite vicious gossip to the contrary, living in sin with a man. No sir, I live alone, in a room a bit smaller than my Musho one and infinitely more comfortable. As I might have written, my decision to move was based on drama and family problems in Musho and an impulse caused by a devious temptation a sign claiming Se Aquila Cuarto con Baño Privado (Room rented with private bathroom).
Now, 4 months later, I am delighted with my sanctuary, as I think of it. However, it did come with an add-on that I didn´t realize at first—a family. It isn´t a host family but rather a group of fascinating, friendly and kind people living their own lives and occasionally crossing paths with me. The more I know them, these landlords and fellow Mancosinos, the more I want to know them. Spending “family time” with this family has shown me a side of the sierra that I didn´t know—a well educated, well-informed, sophisticated group of people, despite cooking on a wood burning stove and loving guinea pig and beer as much as any self-respecting Mushino.
Nancy, the cook, head of business, and general of the entire operation, is a Quechua-speaking, village-born woman—and mother of six professionals (though one is a soon-to-be-graduate). She churns out lunch for 50 daily (your standard tasty Peruvian menu) yet always finds a moment to joke with me in Quechua even in the midst of the rush. Sometimes she astounds me. A couple of days ago, Kelly and I ran into her and I said, in my broken Quechua: Kelly shamun peliculata rikanapaq (Kelly comes to see a movie). Nancy responded something like “Calapicapaq?” Confused, I asked her to translated, and she translated to “naked man movie?” I´m unsure and worried where she got this idea of Kelly and I.
While I have no intention of replacing my compadres in Musho with a new family, it is wonderful to discover new friends and ideas. It brings balance to my chaotic life here.
In pictures we have: Sandra Guadalupe, one of my favorite early stimulation babies, Olga and Tatiana, probably the worst (translate, most delayed, most malnoursished) baby, two of my terrible English students (Lloshi, the boy, is about to start dropping all the crayons down the crack in the desk as Betsy tries to color), and an unwilling participant in a recent meeting of mine.
PS: Strike news? The teacher strike goes on, but it seems that no one in Musho is involved, thank goodness. On the other hand, there is a potential mining strike nearby that could get violent… things are never dull.