On Friday 11th March 2011, I woke up to news of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The footage was jaw dropping and the fact that Peru was on tsunami alert really didn’t help things. It was like deja vu, the earthquake in Chile last year had us on alert but we found some comfort in the fact that we were way up in the dusty hills of Pachacutec. Anyhoo, nothing happened then and given the distance I assumed nothing would happen now.
I was getting ready to head to the airport to meet my mum who was arriving from Brazil, when mis hermanitas returned early from school (9am). They said because of the tsunami warnings they had been sent home early. Err. Time to start worry then?
Anyway, I headed to the airport and met my mum. Zully and her niece Kio met us and we headed back to theirs. News alerts continued all day and projected times for the tsunami’s arrival kept changing. We didn’t know if to take them seriously or not, nevertheless there wasn’t much we could do but sit tight. I put off plans to take mum to see the Circuito Magico del Agua in Lima because roads were closed or inaccessible, areas along the coast were closed off and police were everywhere. We started discussing who should get dibs on Zully’s surf board should the wave arrive. The last predicted time for the arrival was 20:30 and by 21:00 thankfully there was nothing. Mum went to bed and Zully and I just chilled and had some beer and toasted to the fact that we were gona live to see another day.
On Sunday, we packed our bags, got in a cab and made our way up to Pachacutec. I was so excited for mum to meet my host family and to see where I lived, where I worked and the work we’d done. When we arrived I introduced her to my family and showed her to our room. Then we sat with my casa dad Macario and had little chat while Liz (casa mum) and Yaritza (hermanita) finished making lunch- papa rellena, one of my favsssss! Yum.
We had lunch together and it was perfect. By the way, look at me, big time translator yeayerrrr. Some of mum’s Spanish from her school days was coming back to her too. After lunch we sat outside and enjoyed the cool air, talking, laughing and soaking up an eventful yet relaxing Sunday afternoon.
Mum and I retired to our room and had a post sunday lunch nap. Perfection. Then we took a stroll up the hill to visit the family whose house I had worked on last year. The mother of the house Belen, whom we had worked closely with was in shock to see me at her door! I could really get used to surprising people.. hahaha it’s great 🙂 It was lovely seeing her and the kids and to see the work we completed was being developed even further to give them a home that they can all live comfortably in. On the way back to my house I made a few stops at some of the other host families. The welcoming and hospitable nature of Peruvian people will always amaze me.* We stayed for some time at each house and caught up on what’s happened over the last year. I was so glad my mum got to meet them and vice versa. We have about five lunches/dinners to attend now, mum won’t have time because she leaves here before I do, but I’ll see to it that any papa rellena, ceviche, rocoto rellena etc won’t go to waste.
(*They suck when it comes to queuing, but I’ll rant about that another day!)