And the Winner Is…

Tacabamba, Chota, Cajamarca, PERU!

A view of the city of Tacabamba.

Welcome to my little town of 3,000 (definitely fewer than this in actuality) people! My official home for the next two years is a sierra site of around 8,000 feet of elevation in the department of Cajamarca. The weather is pretty nice year round, and people will make sure to bring this up in every conversation. It’s nestled in between beautiful green mountains on all sides. Tacabamba is also known as “branch of heaven” and “city of limes”. We have a town celebration every September that gets pretty big and even includes a running of the bulls. Who’s ready to visit??

The land on the edge of town.

The day of site assignments was probably one of the most dramatic and nerve-wracking days yet, but it was still so exciting! They announced our sites in batches depending on our region and after announcing the name of a site, they would call our which volunteer was assigned there. My little host sister in Chaclacayo had been praying I’d be sent to Cajamarca since some her family still lives here. So I was super excited when I actually did end up in Cajamarca!

Five WASH volunteers and four CED volunteers were assigned to Cajamarca (and that’s our regional director next to me, José). Caja Crew!

After site assignment, we are given three weeks to go off and actually visit our permanent sites before returning to training for our final month. So the nine of us assigned to Cajamarca took on the 15+ hour bus ride to the capital of Cajamarca…Cajamarca! Cajamarca city itself was awesome. We had a few days there before we went off to our sites to get to know our counterparts and families (who came to pick us up).

Enjoying the view in Cajamarca.

Five hours and a couple of bumpy and windy bus rides later, I made it to Tacabamba! I live with my mom, a totally stylish boss of a woman who owns her own restaurant, which seems to be a pretty significant fixture in town. Her mom also lives with us, her cousin is also around to help her out, and she also has a ton of staff, one of whom is like a member of the family and is the person who came to pick me up in Cajamarca city. My host mom has three adult host siblings (two are in Lima and one lives in Chiclayo) and nine grandchildren. Apparently, I look like one of her granddaughters, Nicole. My best friend so far in site is the son of one of our kitchen employees. He’s 6, his name is Andi, and someone in town may or may not have asked if he was my son since she saw us walking around together so much. Oh well!

My best friend Andi on one of our adventures.

Since I was so wrapped up in site assignment stuff I didn’t get a chance to share much about other events that happened back in Chaclacayo before coming here. I went on a beautiful green hike to a waterfall the weekend before site assignments in a little town named Surco. My friend’s host grandparents live there, and we were able to visit them. They were so cute and sweet!

A little snippet of the verdant hike.

The night of site assignments was also the birthday of a fellow volunteer’s host mom and since he lives a few doors down, I was invited over to celebrate. It was so fun because I went with my host parents, and my host dad is quite the dancer! We danced the whole night away which was a bit bittersweet because the whole time I was thinking about how much I would miss them in my new site. But I know we’ll visit each other, and there’s still another month when I get back to finally teach my dad how to Persian dance (he’s been asking!).

Dancing with my host dad!

I have a lot more updates on what I’ve actually done in site, but I’ll leave that for my next blog post. Stay tuned!

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Andrea Meagher says:

    Neeka I love reading these!! I can’t believe you have a little friend named Andi. So cute! Sounds like you are having a blast! We miss you!!

    Delta Love,
    Andi

    Like

    1. Won’t ever replace the original Andi! Miss you all too!

      Like

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