Nearly one week into my fellowship and I am feeling overwhelmed by the city of Lima where car alarms and constant honking wake me up to never-ending gray skies and humid air. A place where I had to wait in four separate lines to buy a cell phone that I am still figuring out how to use, and where I’ve already had to rethink my work plan after learning the grant proposal I thought I had two months to prepare is due in less than a month.
But in this environment of chaos, I am finding energy in the kind people of Peru and quiet spaces in the nature surrounding the city.
I spent my first three days at the office becoming familiar with the work and the staff of EPAF. Everyone at the office has been extremely welcoming and patient; from showing me the bus routes and translating the restaurant menus, to introducing me to all of EPAF’s different areas of work and responding to my requests for contact lists, program schedules, previous proposals and budgets.
In my conversations with EPAF staff and other Peruvians I am also realizing how much I have yet to learn. The history of the armed conflict is a complicated one, and one I hope to better understand by the end of my ten weeks here. The aftermath of the conflict involves issues of justice on the one hand, and reconciliation on the other hand, as some parties have chosen to forget and move on from a painful episode in Peruvian history while others still seek to hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes. Thus, I’m learning to approach the conflict with sensitivity in my discussions and interactions, becoming aware of how it continues to affect the lives and relationships of Peruvians today.
Posted By Mariel Sanchez
Posted Jun 8th, 2015