February 6, 2012
Thursday, January 26 was the huge inauguration in Soccma. I had received an official invitation earlier and I knew it was a big deal. I arrived in the early afternoon and I immediately saw how important it was. After waiting years for electricity, the town had achieved its goal and they were going to make sure everyone understood this fact.
As I walked into the soccer field the entire place was packed. There were several long tables towards the front where all the important guests were seated. Juan and Alan were there and called me over. I got to sit right in the middle. I didn’t exactly realize how big of a deal it was until they started making speeches. I mentioned last summer how speeches were such an important part of life down here, and most politician’s careers are based on how well they speak, not about anything else. So it turns out the mayor of Urubamba AND Ollantaytambo were there. This is huge. They both rattled off the typical inspiring speeches in Quechua ending with yelling repeat-after-me style, long live Soccma, long live Urubamba, long live Ollantaytambo, and long live Peru. Juan was next, and did a great job as well. Every speaker thanked various people, Alex getting a mention in each speech. I was only mentioned once, which I was glad it wasn’t more because I thought I would have to give a speech as well. After about seven speeches, it was time to go to the official plaque and break the chicha pot. Then it was back to the tables to eat. They killed two large bulls and the beer, Pisco, wine, and chicha were a flowin. After dinner the music started and the dancing went on late into the night. There were three volunteers from Mosqoy there, and it was good to get to know them. It is always encouraging to trade stories with other volunteers about trials and successes of being down here.
The three girls left early, but I stayed until the end. Yet again, it was another one of those moments where I had to do a double take. There I was, on a Thursday night in the middle of January, the only foreigner there, dancing to the traditional music of the Andean people with a tiny community celebrating having electricity. It was a great night.
UPDATE from mid-Feb: But, in actuality, they contracted a company to install the meters on credit. They showed them the receipt saying the electric company owed them money and that I was going to get it. However, I still don’t have the money. I have been very clear this entire (now 3 month) process that I am leaving March 1st. Yet somehow people are still dragging their feet. I now found out the final step is getting the money from someone who has taken the entire month of February off and now I might not be able to get the money. Ridiculous, but very Peruvian. They have electricity so if they have to wait to pay until I get back here in June, or Alex can get it in May, then that is not my fault. It is so frustrating to have zero communication over something that is such a big deal. So anyway, that entire celebration I was just thinking in my head how I knew that stuff had not been paid for but hey, let’s party anyway.
The following day was Juan’s birthday. Now this is the third birthday party I have had at the Loayza’s and every time it has been a blowout. I got there around noon and left at nine. So for nine hours it was eating, drinking, and dancing. Peruvians know how to celebrate. I’ve only said that about 10 times in these blogs.
Super Bowl Sunday was a great day as well. I really wanted to do my best to make it like one back home. So I went to the famous chicken chain Rico Pollo and bought 20 pounds of chicken wings. The girls marinated them all night in many different sauces and on Sunday morning we took them over to the public oven. While they were cooking Henry brought over his football, so he, Benji, and I played catch in the hot afternoon sun with no shirts on. Hot day outside on Super Bowl Sunday? Yes.
The wings turned out perfect! So the rest of the afternoon was spent eating the wings and a veggie spread while playing games and listening to music. We then watched the game at the pub with satellite TV. Unfortunately, the game was only available in Spanish with Latin American commercials. So I missed out on those this year, but still I would consider it a great day.