Tagged with classes

Bucks? What is bucks? You mentioned this on the first day we met. I went home, and I was confused. I thought, 'What is bucks?'

— Our teacher Sanjay, regarding our request to find a Hindi book.
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I don't remember the last time I saw red ink!

(Namaste. Mai Anjali hoon.) We finished our second Hindi class on Friday with our professor, Sanjay, who's family owns a nearby school. While we were aiming for conversational, he's assured us it's important to master the letters. So far we've memorized the main letters (he taught a core 36), vowels, learned how to pronounce them, and then learned ways of joining them together. So while we didn't expect to memorize the syllabary in four days, you never can tell with language, can ya? In our mind, it's been helpful, as reliance on romanized characters would have been confusing when we learning the pronunciation. More on all of this Hindi stuff later.


We are now officially SSI-certified SCUBA divers! Woohoo! Thanks to our awesome instructor Charles. When he comes back from a trip next week we'll do our Advanced Open Water certification, which will teach us more procedures and will allow us to dive to 30m (right now we can only dive to 18m). In the meantime we will chill on the beach, away from the touristy side of the island.

Will there be a curve?

We're expecting the SSI test tomorrow to be pretty easy. An example question of what we're envisioning follows…

How much faster does water absorb heat than air?

A. The speed of light
B. Pink panda bears
C. 25x
D. Blueberry pancakes
E. All of the above

Sound good to you?

Are you for SCUBA?

So far so good with our SSI instruction at Big Blue. Our instructor, Charles, is from Quebec and looks to be mid 20s. He's very friendly, clear, and knows the coursework well. He's certified around 300 people over the last 2 years he's been working at BB.

As for SSI, it's the newer, more flexible (teaching-wise) instruction from some of the guys at PADI (the most popular diving certification). It was suggested to us that SSI was a little less hardcore on the product purchasing and overall sales guide. But fuck, the majority of the SSI book we've seen so far (lent by the school; for PADI you buy for 800 baht) has read like a sales catalog that we will later be graded on.

What it makes you realize, tho, is that humans were not engineered to dive, see, or breathe underwater. It is ... View Post »

Charla 3: Agricultura

Yesterday we had our third and final charla. Most of the women here have a garden or a small farm (chakra) and most use pretty basic, conventional ag methods to grow corn and fava and soy. Some raise chickens, some use guano from their cuy or cows, etc, but mostly it's tractors and bulls simultaneously ripping through and compacting the soil, commercial pesticides, fertilizers, dug irrigation, and monocultures.

So we focused on sustainable agriculture and again used Jeavons' GROW BIOINTENSIVE. Matt double dug a few rows, I drew a couple illustrations to show how to make compost, how to plant intensively (close together and hexagonally instead of in rows), and how roots really want to travel down more than 6" intro the ground. During the charla Matt demonstrated double digging and ... View Post »


Another day at Q'ewar…

6am - Meditate

6:30am - Shower in a bathroom stall

7am - Cook breakfast of cereal de arroz integral y manzanas for us and Los dueños

7:30am - Eat breakfast

8am - Translate email about holistic medicine

9am - Take photos of 25 3-5 year-olds

10am - Kill, pluck, gut, rinse and refrigerate una gallina para caldo de pollo mañana para mostrar y compartir con las mujeres

11am - Take photos of Jesusa, Paulina y Eulogia en la tienda en la plaza en el pueblo

12pm - Coordinate with other women on the schedule for their photos and tell them to bring in Tupperware tomorrow to share the caldo

1pm - Eat lunch of sopa de chuño y mote and try to explain things like "White Lightning" in Spanish

2pm - Grab tools, water, etc and get ... View Post »

Charla 2: Can you hear the sound of those onions?

Yesterday we gave our second charla, elaborating on the cooking preparations that we had mentioned in the first one. Everyone assembled down in an open area next to the school. 

We shook milk into butter, showed the two different ways to make whey (1 - from making butter and 2 - from cutting milk with lime and making cheese), showed them quinoa and wheat sprouts, spoke about the importance of drinking water (and not cola), and also touched a bit on the mystery that is como bajas tu peso.

We also wheeled out a portable stove and had everyone listen to the sounds that food makes while it's cooking. We had one burner going with apples in a bit of water and the other with onions in oil in a frying pan. We turned up and down the heat to demonstrate what over-boiling looks and sounds ... View Post »

Charla de Nutrición


Yesterday Matt and I led a charla (chat) about nutrition with 40 (of the 45 women) at Q'ewar. Many of the women have their own chakras (small fields) where they grow corn, but today with pesticides. They cook a lot of their own food but cut corners by over boiling, using an olla a preción (pressure cooker) and eating all refined white bread, rice and corn. The little meat that they do eat is usually from farms that treat the animals with antibiotics, hormones and the like. There hasn't been any severe breakouts of mad cow in Peru, but there are mysterious stories amongst the women and volunteers about husbands with strange bacteria eating their brains. Lovely stories. Matt was actually sick 24 hours before the talk with a 101F fever and a bad case of Delhi belly. We don't know what from. ... View Post »