For being a town that prides itself on its “tranquilo” lifestyle, things sure do get pretty busy here in Arica. Ever second of this past week has been spent in classes and on tests, so I have neglected to post about the wonderful adventure that my classmates and I took to Tacna, Peru. It was a four day trip, but I wish that it had been a forty day trip! Tacna is situated in the desert, just like Arica, but somehow it manages to show much more green (the color). Trees and grass all throughout the center of town, giant flower sculptures of elephants and other animals, and if you look past the huge mountains of sand that border the town, you can see snow-capped mountains in the distance. In a word, beautiful. It was a bustling little city, but very easy to navigate because nearly all the good restaurants and stores were located on just two main streets. The food in Peru puts all Chilean dishes to shame. We spent the majority of our time studying how the primary health care system functions in Peru, and below I have posted a few pictures of our activities.
The difference in the state of these two houses that we visited was incredible. One was fairly nice, or at least comfortable, but the other was all concrete with one bed for the whole family to sleep in. The kitchen was a dirty disaster, and the children were covered in dirt. It saddened me at first, but I quickly learned that what I saw as dirty, these people saw as a gift. They were happy to have a home with a roof over there heads where they could all be together. Humbling.
At the end of our trip to Tacna, we spent an afternoon at a “viña” or vineyard, where the traditional alcoholic beverage Pisco is made. That was a great time, and it was followed appropriately by a nice long nap on the bus ride home.
A few days of class and now I’m off to Southern Chile (Temuco) tomorrow for a 12 day excursion. I will be learning about traditional medicine through the indigenous Mapuche tribe that lives in the region surrounding Temuco. Here it is actually improper to say indigenous, but instead, “original village.”
More to come!