Welcome to my blog! In this space I hope to share happenings and thoughts, and most importantly continue and deepen my relationships with those in the States and other parts of the world! With failed blog attempts in the past I purposely left little structure with this one, so I will blog when I feel called. Here are my first happenings and thoughts:
One of the first Peruvian jergas (slang) I learned was acogedor. I discovered the term after being asked multiple times how I’ve enjoyed my time here so far. I could easily say that the weather is beautiful, I like lomo saltado (a traditional steak meal), I love Chocapic cereal (think Cocoa Puffs), I am careful with the street dogs, I am eager to teach, and more. However, these likes and loves only scratched the surface of my week and a half in Tacna, Peru. I find more and more that I want to return, that I find it harder to leave, and that I want to venture to new places for the people. And why specifically have I felt such strong feelings about returning to South America? For this feeling: Acogedor, which means hospitality. And to me, I’ve experienced genuine hospitality between my ten-weeks in Ecuador to my short time here in Peru. I go because of people; And I am always sad to leave because of people. If you want to get to the root of why I am committing my two years to Jesuit Volunteer Corps it boils down to the fact that I want to love people, a community, endlessly.
“In the end it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything.”- Thomas Merton, from a letter written to Jim Forest dated February 21, 1966
Acogedor happens when the black street dog accompanies you on your two-block route from our current dormitory, the chapel, to our community house, Manzana D10.
Acogedor happens when your Jesuit Volunteer community greets you with an embarrassing welcome sign and smiling faces at the Tacna airport followed by a house-favorite, platano de isla (plantain) omelettes.
Acogedor happens when the Mercado Grau (our market) vendors greet you—the casera— like you’ve shopped for kilos of potatoes, cactus fruit, or plantains for your whole life right here in Tacna.
Acogedor happens when Sandra, a Fe y Alegria (my worksite) teacher, tells you she’s there to support you when you might have to teach 16-year-olds English starting March.
Acogedor happens when the Hermanas de San Jose (Sisters of St. Joseph) make a rare apple crumble while subtly hinting that you should join their order.
Acogedor happens when any Peruvian patiently listens to your not-so-quite fluent Spanish on your opinions of the United States’ newly elected president.
Acogedor happens when a current second year (shoutout Christie) shuffles you around to your new worksite then invites you to eat with her Peruvian family.
Acogedor happens when Christie’s host family offers you a Cusqueña (Peruvian beer) and an ice cream after lunch.
Acogedor happens when families and co-workers give you Inka Kola and empanadas–both a Peruvian staple.
Acogedor happens when the local Habitat for Humanity (where we reside) community blasts Zumba music in the plaza, which counts as our new nightly lullaby.
Acogedor happens when Edith and Martin, our neighbors in Habitat, invite us over to watch an hour-long documentary about Peru, but your eyes keep veering towards the pictures of all the former Jesuit Volunteers on their living room bookshelf.
Acogedor happens when I can one day return the favor to the people who have already given me so much!
We have been welcomed into a longstanding community of Volunteers, so I am grateful to past years’ and current Volunteers for the enormous love and acogedor we’ve been given for our first week. It is amazing to see how Peruvians welcome one another and foreigners into their homes. While I recognize the many privileges attached to us being Jesuit Volunteers and it no doubt affecting the provided hospitality, I feel immensely loved which is a darn good feeling in your first weeks in a whole new country and culture.
JVC- Hannah Petersen
Colegio Cristo Rey
A Southamerican PCH selfie of the soon-to-be community of five:
Jesuit retreat house from the inside:
The current community of seven:
Inside our community’s house, Casa Fred Green. I highly recommend my read: Citizen by Claudia Rankine:
Colegio Miguel Pro, where the JVs began in Tacna 20 years ago:
The neighborhood’s chapel that doubled as our dormitory for the first two weeks:
A neighborhood walk with my two first-year JVs:
The trio first-year JVs:
Our house, called Casa Fred Green, in the Habitat for Humanity community:
Plaza de Armas:
The first years in the center of Tacna, Plaza de Armas:
Inside Tacna’s Cathedral:
Alfajores, a delicious cookie filled with dulce de leche:
Hammock time on our patio:
Laundry line at Casa Fred Green:
Sunset during our new community retreat:
Our new community: