My homestay family in Ollantaytambo, Peru, with whom I’ll be staying with for a month is great. Sure lunch and dinner consists of more than half a heaping plate full of white rice, but everything added to it is very tasty. Plus, I actually almost always finish all the food and am hungry by the next meal. I’m hoping it’s the altitude an activity and not carbohydrate overloading, making me need to join Dr. Bernstein when I get back.
Enough of that, back to the family. Most homestays are taken like an additional child. This tradition may have been forgone when at the first dinner they asked me how old I am. Considering, Poncho, my homestay father is 40 and Bambina, the mother is 37. I am more like an aunt. They have 3 kids, Jake, 18 going to cooking school in Cusco. The running joke is that I will bring him to Canada to be my live in cook. Hopefully I can get him to stop making so much rice when he gets to Toronto. Jonathan,16 goes to school in Urubamba along with his sister, Hillary, 13. Incidentally, I also go to Urubamba in the mornings for my Spanish lessons. I take the mini-van for 1.20 soles about 40cents each way. The mini-van is packed with locals going to school and markets, with market baskets and packs on the roof, up to 20 people inside, with 2-5 standing.
When I am not running off to class in the morning or teaching the kids in the evening I am transporting the families wears to and from the market. Things like alpaca shawls, backpacks, purses and hats. With so little tourists around here now a days, it is a heck of a lot of work and I don’t know that they even sell anything. Although they all keep the old 1950’s style singer sewing machine very busy.
Afternoons and evenings are spent listening to telenovela (soap operas) and village gossip. Supplied by their nephew one of the local taxi drivers, that comes daily for his meals.
My homestay uncles own the newly opened English pub. Where us volunteers do a weekly quiz (my team almost own, lost in double jeopardy, my mistake), and where we all watched the Olympics with a huge Canadian flag hanging on the wall, and of course the Oscars Sunday night.