Challenges

Today is Tuesday, June 23. We are sitting at an internet cafe before heading to our afterschool program. We have had a rough couple of days of just feeling tired and having upset stomachs but nothing we can´t handle. Our goal for these posts are to be honest about our experiences, both good and bad. Thus far, most of all experiences have been overwhelmingly good with only a few glitches. I guess week 5 was in our cards to have some difficulties and feel the wear and tear of not being at home.

 

The food is taking a toll on us for sure. Everyone wondered how two vegetarians would fare in Peru, since most Peruvians have a hard time grasping the concept of no meat at a meal. Since we are living with a host family, it is very difficult to adjust to someone elses cooking and style without offending our awesome host family. In Peru, lunch is the biggest meal of the day and most people will come home from work for two hours in the middle of the day. One of those hours is to eat, the other is to nap. That may leave you wondering what we eat for breakfast and dinner. Typically, we eat rolls and butter with tea for breakfast and the same for dinner. Sometimes we have olives with that or jam but it is supposed to be very light. The first week was the toughest to adjust because in Costa Rica our host mom Sandra fed us three large meals a day. Combine not eating alot of protein or veggies with a long work day (7am-7pm) we aren´t surprised we are exhausted by 8pm. We do try to shop for ourselves but our family does not have a fridge so storing some foods is impossible. We polished off our jar of PB last week one desperate night so we are out of our staple food and they don´t sell it here. We treat ourselves to dinner at least once a week and that helps alot, especially since a good dinner can be as cheap as $9 (US).

 

We have taken to cooking for our host family so we can eat some familar foods and they can taste our favorites. So far, french toast and my homemade pasta sauce (lots of veggies!) is their favorite. It really makes us appreciate all of the amazing food choices back home. If you want Indian you can get it in probably less than 30 min, even if it is from a box. The choices here are few and far between so sometimes finding something good for you and tasty is hard to do. It´s also very hard to trust alot of the food sources. Even at the nicest places, you can´t be too careful about what you order. Fresh stuff usually is too risky to order so that narrows down most of the menu to fried food. They do have Chinese food places called Chifas that can either be really good or really bad that we have yet to try. I´m thinking we may be hungry enough by Thursday to break down and go.

 

Overall, it is amazing how much food can affect our moods and energy. I just think back to all the times in the states that I claimed to be ¨starving¨ and I really have never been. As hard as the food situation is, we are trying to get the full Peru experience. We could eat out everynight and buy tons of snacks but we almost feel like we are cheating, especially when we help with lunch at the special needs school and they get a government issued roll of bread and bag of milk for lunch, that´s all. So yes, we are hungry most of the time. Starving? No. We are fasting for the greater good of the experience.

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