Playtime, ponchitos and parasites

So it’s day 10 of my peruvian adventure and I’ve already begun to see the effects of every travellers worst nightmare: illness. Everyone in the volunteer house is sick… except for me. Despite the fact that I eat the street food, bite my nails AND brush my teeth with the tap water I remain unaffected. Now, that either means that my mixed-race super genes are doing a damn good job of protecting me or just that my time is yet to come. Let’s hope it’s the former, shall we?

My travel companion, Vicki, has also been pretty badly affected. So of course she spent the day in bed whilst I went to work in the morning and attempted to tackle 60 children alone at playtime…

Despite being a bit tiring when all the kids run towards you and want to plait your hair and poke your face and ask you insightful questions ‘Do you have a moon on your necklace because you live on the moon?’ it’s so rewarding to see them smile and gradually learn little bits of english. The owners are super nice too, greeting us with a hug and a kiss and giving us constant compliments about the work we do.


Working with the kids

I definitely noticed the icrease in workload without Vicki there, but I still managed to cut out and decorate 26 hats, 26 faces and 26 ponchitos (small ponchos) ready for their father’s day task tomorrow as well as play outside with them and teach them about circles… go me! We must have cut atleast 300 things over these last 3 days and if I ever see another ‘ponchito’ I may go insane!

The children also love to sing. They sing us a song in spanish or quechua and then we’re expected to sing one back in english. However, there’s only so many times you can use Twinkle Twinkle little star and we’re slowly running out of nursery rhymes so if anyone knows any good ones then please do let us know!

There’s one kid called Jean Jesus, who may have stolen my heart a little bit. He is a nightmare in class and just can’t focus on a task but you have to remember that some of the kids might have difficult home lives and it reflects onto their behaviour at school. Anyway, I know he’s a sweetheart deep down and constantly wants hugs and stories although I’m not sure how many more times I can accept his saliva/mud covered biscuits as a friendship gesture before I become just as ill as the rest of my friends…

Anyway, although I’d much rather Vicki be up and well to keep me company and assist with the mass cutting of ponchitos, it was nice to have a morning to myself. I love travelling with friends but there’s something a little more exciting about being alone. It pushes you out of your comfort zone, for example, I spoke way more spanish this morning and was 10x more observant of what was going on around me. I also got off the bus a few stops early on the way home to have a wander around the streets I’d never been to before and even had some free time to explore San Pedro market!

I always think if you can’t learn to enjoy your own company then how can you ever expect anyone else to want to spend time with you? I like having time to think and be silent and peaceful too, surprise surprise… I can be quiet!

When I arrived back at the house for lunch, people were dropping like flies. Illness is EVERYWHERE. The people that were well, however, were of course gathered around our brand new flat screen TV to watch the world cup. I tried to be interested but the opening ceremony was so bizzare that I ended up just reading my book on the balcony instead. People get bored just chilling here at the volunteer house but I think it’s nice to have some downtime to read, watch a film or get to know people better. I’ve managed to meet my ‘music soulmate’ here and so I thank our relaxing afternoons for that opportunity!


Volunteer house chills

After checking up on Vicki she decided that she wanted to go out for some food to see if she could eat anything, so we strolled down to the Plaza de Armas and found an american style restaurant called Papacho’s. Of course I ordered the biggest thing on the menu… 4 huge sandwiches filled with EVERYTHING you can imagine plus a side of sweet potato fries. We’ve been told not to eat meat or raw vegetables or salad etc etc because of the risk of getting ill but I can’t help but think that the more you worry about stuff the more likely you are to get sick? I’m just gonna stay chilled but if for some reason I do get ill, I signed up for a medical study that means I get 24 hour free healthcare at the volunteer house (and free chocolate WAFFLES!) so I should be safe and sound.

Anyway, this restaurant was cool and I think Vicki’s illness was marginally cured by the fact that we were given a huge sheet of paper and colouring crayons: the best kind of medication.

Before I go, I feel like I should fill you in on one of our adventures from a few days ago. We were bored one afternoon and decided to head up to Cristo Blanco. None of us fancied the hike so we decided to get a taxi. We were told that a taxi there should cost 7 soles for the 3 of us (about £1.50) and so we were determined not to settle for anything less. Sadly this meant spending about 1 hour haggling with various taxis; the time in which we could probably have hiked there and back… oh well! Eventually we found a 7 soles taxi, drove up the winding mountain roads and were greeted with gorgeous views on arrival!


Cristo Blanco



Although it’s nothing compared to Cristo Redentor in Rio, it’s as good as we can get here in Peru so we made the most of it. I even saw my first peruvian alpaca! I have been waiting for this day for a LONG time.


Hey, Mr. Alpaca

I’m still really enjoying my time here. I haven’t managed to feel tired, ill, down or homesick yet but there’s still plenty of time for bad luck… eek fingers crossed for smooth sailing the whole way, that would be just perfect 😊

A lot of people are leaving early because they can’t face the illness or the noisy/bright sleeping conditions or even just because they miss home. Personally, I wouldn’t want to give up on an experience like this; you never know what is in store, who you might meet or the things you might learn. But at the same time I’m all for doing what makes you happy and if people are happier at home then home is where they should be.

I miss my family and friends… of course I do! But I love life here, in fact I love life anywhere that I can explore, discover, meet new people, try new food, learn, play, challenge myself… so basically, anywhere in the entire world – just gotta make the most of every day! I’m in Cusco with views to die for and a HUGE festival coming up (24th June, I’ll keep you guys posted with our celebrations). Not many people can say they’ve spent two months here and so I’m just gonna keep good spirits and fight off all the negativity (and bad bacteria!) and every little thing’s gonna be just fine ✌️❤️


Parades in the Plaza

4 thoughts on “Playtime, ponchitos and parasites

  1. Glad you are enjoying your work and the adventures connected with it. But to reach your goal you must be healthy. So take care of your health. Good luck.

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