Combi Music vs 2.0 – Madonna’s Material Girl from the album Like a Virgin

I’ve finally updated my playlist “Combi Music”.  It now has even more of your favorite hits from the 80s, that I hear while listening to the radio on the bus or in a taxi here in Lima, Peru. The queen of 80s music Madonna definitely on the radio waves more frequently than any other artist. So I have to give this update to her and one of my favorite songs in 1985  “Material Girl”.  My favorite song in 1985 was “The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston. For some reason I remember singing both of these songs while in the cafeteria at Highland Oaks Elementary School.

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is also on this list, but that song scared me to death when my parents took me to see the Jackson 5 World tour. lol   One of the most popular songs out right now in Peru is “Ai Se Eu Te Pego” a very catchy song by a Brazilian artist Michel Teló. The lyrics are below in Portuguse and English via . So join me and sing along

Ai Se Eu Te Pego

Nossa, nossa
Assim você me mata
Ai, se eu te pego,
Ai, ai, se eu te pego

Delícia, delícia
Assim você me mata
Ai, se eu te pego
Ai, ai, se eu te pego

Sábado na balada
A galera começou a dançar
E passou a menina mais linda
Tomei coragem e comecei a falar

Nossa, nossa
Assim você me mata
Ai, se eu te pego
Ai, ai se eu te pego

Delícia, delicia
Assim você me mata
Ai, se eu te pego
Ai, ai, se eu te pego

Ah when I get my hands on you…

Wow, wow
You’re gonna kill me that way
Ah when I get my hands on you, (poor you)
Ah when I get my hands on you, (poor you)

Delicious, delicious
You’re gonna kill me that way
Ah when I get my hands on you, (poor you)
Ah when I get my hands on you, (poor you)

Saturday party night
Everyone began to dance
The hottest girl of the place passed me by
So I got the guts up and began to say to her

Wow, wow
You’re gonna kill me that way
Ah when I get my hands on you, (poor you)
Ah when I get my hands on you, (poor you)

Delicious, delicious
You’re gonna kill me that way
Ah when I get my hands on you, (poor you)
Ah when I get my hands on you, (poor you)

What Every Dad Should Know About Their Daughter via Faith Promise Blog

For some reason that whole a dad’s goal in his life is to “keep your daughter off the pole” disturbs me. As if that’s what a girl’s automatically going to do if you don’t have this goal in mind. Girls are much more than that.

This blog post I just read seems like much better advice. And will also accomplish the goal of “keeping your daughter of the pole”.

Affirm Her”

Set the Standard”

Talk About the Standard”

Read the blog by clicking here: Faith Promise Blog.

I must say that this of course is not all of it. What would you add-on? Please leave a comment.

Where are your ancestors from?

I went to an Internations event last night, which is a great cocktail party where expats from various countries and Peruvians who have lived abroad (there are actually events around the world). It takes place once a month on a Friday. I happened to arrive before Matthew, so I got the occasional guy that would come up to me to see if I was single or not. I saw this one guy staring at me from across the room and about 5 minutes later the following conversation began:

European guy: But what county is your family from?

Me: I’m African-American – so some country in Africa

European guy: But which country?

Me: (really) So, they brought African’s over in ships and they didn’t keep records of where people were from. (Stank face)

European guy: I’m not trying to be I just, I lived in Africa for a while and you look like you are from Angola.

Me: Where are you from?

European guy: Portugal

Me: #WhyAmIHavingThisConversation – oh really I actually have Portuguese ancestors as well.

European guy: Oh so we’re brothers (the direct Spanish translation of siblings is brothers)

This conversation continued for another 5 minutes are so and my thoughts were “why is he acting like he didn’t know about slavery. He’s from Portugal-your Portuguese ancestors were the ones who started the slave trade to the Americas- #BRAZIL hello”

The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade
The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade began around the mid-fifteenth century when Portuguese interests in Africa moved away from the fabled deposits of gold to a much more readily available commodity — slaves. By the seventeenth century the trade was in full swing, reaching a peak towards the end of the eighteenth century. It was a trade which was especially fruitful, since every stage of the journey could be profitable for merchants — the infamous triangular trade.

Who Started the Triangular Trade?

For two hundred years, 1440-1640, Portugal had a monopoly on the export of slaves from Africa. It is notable that they were also the last European country to abolish the institution – although, like France, it still continued to work former slaves as contract laborers, which they called libertos or engagés à temps. It is estimated that during the 4 1/2 centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Portugal was responsible for transporting over 4.5 million Africans (roughly 40% of the total).


I was wondering what your thoughts are about this. Please leave a comment about the conversation and how you would have responded.

Also please send out a quick PSA to your European friends about the African slave trade to the Americas. Thank you. FYI this is the second time I’ve had a conversation like this at an Internations event.

*** I have met really great people at the Internations Events and will continue to go =)

Don’t go chasing waterfalls- Las Cataratas de Palacala

Don’t go chasing waterfalls. Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to. I know that you’re gonna have it your way or nothing at all, but I think you’re moving too fast. ~ TLC 

So this is the song that I chorus singing in my head for a few seconds yesterday morning at 5:30am as I got ready to go see a waterfall. Did I listen NO.

Last Monday when I visited the Hogar San Francisco de Asis one of the volunteers Ivet invited me to go with her friends to see a waterfall. Sounds cool – why not. I spoke to Matthew about it and he was ready to go too. Ivet mentioned bringing water, a few snacks, wearing sneakers, and that we would have to meet her then take a colectivo to Chosico and take a bus to the waterfall in Surco (Surco is a district in the province of Huarochirí, in the region of Lima, Peru). Doesn’t sound to bad about 2-3 hours from our apartment. I also invited a few other friends and my friend Catherine from Texas decided to come along for the ride.

The day came we were up by 5:30am out the door by 6am, met Catherine, took a bus to meet Ivet in La Molina, met her friends at the ovalo, got in a colectivo to the park in Chosico, met the rest of the group, and finally we were all on the bus (and all got seats) on the way to Surco. We arrived at a tienda (store) used the restroom and got some crackers.  We then bought the 2 soles ticket to see the waterfall. At this point I’m thinking ok maybe we’ll have about a 30 minute walk to the waterfall. But then the guy at the ticket booth says that are two options, either walk to the waterfall that was 45 minutes away or walk to the one that was 4 hours away. I say “45 minutes”, because I have had one to many so-called “easy” bad “hiking” experiences. A few other people agreed, but the majority wanted to see the waterfall that was 4 hours away. And the guy said that the walk was flat mostly – oh haven’t I heard that before. Don’t go chasing waterfalls….

And we were off to our 4 hour journey. Then someone announces there’s a short cut. I’ve done one of these “short cuts” up a mountain before short cut is aka for steeper climb and not using the wide easy path. SMH. OK we go along and see what we think is the top and ok this short cut really worked EHH wrong.

We moved passed the sandy rocky part and were finally seeing beautiful green pastures, and the donkeys and horses that the pounds of manure that we’d passed belonged too. Have you ever seen a beetle roll dung into a perfect little ball – almost reminds you of a truffle. (The delirious thoughts you have) My ears began hurting as I adjusted to the altitude but overall I was fine. Within about an hour-and-a-half I started to feel exhausted and Matthew begins to say “I thought we came here to see a waterfall I would have stayed home for hiking”. But then we stop for some fruit that we are able to clean off in a natural stream that is coming from the waterfall we are chasing. The fruit was pretty tasty.  A nice little break until we had to climb what I like to call “Rocky/Boulder Road”.  Now I started to hear Chanima, Kameela, and the rest of the youth choirs’ voices directed by Ms. Donna singing Move Mountain. I really wished and prayed this mountain would move because every muscle beyond my waist was in pain, hips, thighs, calves, shins, ankles, feet, and toes.

Move mountain!

Chorus 1
Let me tell you how to move a mountain,
(that’s too hard for you to climb).
Let me tell you how to move a mountain,
(one that hides the bright sunshine).

(When you hands are bleeding and torn),
(and your feet and weary and worn);
(when you try to climb up),
(but the rocks and reels makes the going tough),
just say move mountain, move mountain,
mountain get out of my way.

Chorus 2
Let me tell you how to move a mountain,
(when the climbing gets you down).
Let me tell you how to move a mountain,
(when you’ve traveled your last round).

(When you friends have left you behind),
(and your way, you cannot find);
(when your prayer is for help,)
(but you stand alone feeling by yourself),
just say move mountain, move mountain,
mountain get out of my way.

If you have the faith the size of a mustard seed,
just say move mountain, move mountain,
move mountain, mountain get out of my way.

wanted to jump in and swim but the water was too cold

And then we saw the  reservoir and had to take a break to take a few fun photos. We had an amazing view. Unfortunately the water was cold so we couldn’t go swimming. Of course at this point we thought that we were almost there (this thought is wrong about 99% of the time).

1 more km smh

And finally we get to a sign that says < Surco 4 km and Palacala > 1 km.

So we were 4/5th of the way there. We climb the last km and at this point we no longer are looking at the clouds that circle the tops of mountains we are in them. So we are now cold and wet – I of course am wearing a halter top and shorts, without a jacket or sweater in sight. But then we finally see it a beautiful water fall as we look across to the other side of the mountain. That must be it, and guess what I don’t need to walk there because I don’t see a path to it. I came I saw I conquered. Wrong there’s a lovely red arrow on the ground directing us to move forward. Let me tell you how to move a mountain…

Well after going around a narrow curve, ducking under a few tree limbs, and balancing on top of wet rocks on a muddy path we made it to Las Cataratas de Palacala.  It wasn’t huge but it was beautiful. The whole journey as arduous as it was a beautiful one. And who would have known that I could hike 5km up hill mountain.  God makes glorious places and sometimes you have to chase waterfalls to see them.

(But lesson learned (again) get more details, and do not trust non westerners when they say a walk is easy, flat, or short)
Want to see more photos click here!

Villa la Paz – Home of Peace

Last month I did another one of my “let’s do something more” internet searches for volunteer opportunities. I ran across the website of the Villa La Paz Foundation which runs Hogar San Francisco de Asis, a home that cares for children that cannot afford medical care and more importantly also pays for their medical care.

Then he took a little child, stood him in the midst, and putting his arms around him, said to them, “Whoever welcomes a child such as this for my sake welcomes me. And whoever welcomes me welcomes, not me, but Him who sent me”. –  Mark 9:36-37 (via the Villa la Paz website)

I found their volunteers facebook group and found out more information about Hogar – they typically have 40 – 50 kids at a time, they are looking for in-kind donations, and they provided updates on kids that were there and ones that had gone home.  I procrastinated but I finally reached out to them sending in a volunteer application last week. I received an email back the following day from Dr. Lazzara who runs Hogar asking me to visit on Monday for their 17th Anniversary Party.  Of course I accepted the invitation.

Monday, January 16th, was ironically Martin Luther King Day. “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

That day I woke up and got on a combi to the colectivo (a taxi that picks up multiple people). Surprisingly the taxi is a really nice new Honda, and I got a window seat =). I told the man who ushered me quickly into to the car that I was going to Chaclacayo (they also ride to Chosica). The ride went smoothly, I rode through a few small towns and had a not so scenic mountain view. About an hour later the taxi driver asks where everyone is going, I give him the address – we’ve passed it already.  Oh well no problem I get out get in a combi going the opposite direction, and in broken Spanish I asked the cobrador to let me know when I needed to get out. I was extremely lucky (they are all over the place in the little vans) he told me when to get off and the direction to head in. I walked to the Hogar with no idea what to expect as I have never volunteered with sick children before.

I was greeted at the door by a mother and her son with a colorful hand-made paper pen to commemorate their anniversary. I walked in and everyone was facing the window for the backyard which was filled with parents and kids and young man in a wheel chair that was singing a beautiful song with a great voice. What he was singing I have no idea. I walked up to someone who was obviously a fellow gringo and I assumed she was a volunteer. Sarah greeted me, she had volunteered at Hogar for 3 months last year and was back again for a month this year. There were also several other volunteers there- some staying for two days, some for two weeks, and other various scenarios. I found out that your volunteer job is pretty much to help the kids. In the mornings they help with breakfast, they play with the babies from 9am- 11am, help with lunch, some then take the younger kids to the park, play with the babies for two hours again, help with dinner, and that’s the schedule. In addition they help children that are not ambulatory get around and go to the bathroom.

After the first kid finishes one of  the volunteers and a few of the older kids do what’s called the Marinera -a coastal Peruvian dance, where the girl uses her long skirt to accentuate the dance, and both the girl and the boy have a handkerchief that they parade around with. From what I understand its very difficult to learn and it was quite a feat for the American volunteer to learn how to do this. Following that everyone started moving around and it was time for lunch.  I had the chance to meet Dr. Lazarra and he told me that he would give me a tour of the house once everything settled down.

At this point I finally get to see and meet the kids that live there. They are girls and boys of all ages, with various medical conditions, from burns,  to cerebal palsy, facial malformations, and a variety of other health issues that you wouldn’t wish on anyone especially a child. But you have all of 2 seconds to get over this and realize they are not their problem they are a child, a child that is full of joy and that just wants your attention and a hug. It was an eye-opening experience to see these kids laugh, play, and have fun together. So often we are exposed to children that have these various health problems in commercials asking for help or in documentaries that display children in such a sad state. Hogar gives these a place to be a kid and to be loved.

Lunch was being served and I came because I wanted to volunteer; I asked where I can help and found out that it’s pretty much a place where you get in where you fit in. So I went into the kitchen and grabbed a tray of food to pass out to the guest that were there. I gave a plate to a girl who was sitting in a chair her legs were sticking out in cast and she had a blanket over her. Walked around then came back to her and realized she needed my tray. Because her legs were actually in cast but also with a rod in-between them. She didn’t say any anything when I just gave her the plate, she tried to manage the situation without complaints. She said thank you flashing a sweetest smile so genuine – only for me giving her a tray and adjusting it on her lap. These children are so sweet, and so thankful.

Later on the doctor gave me a tour of the house. He showed me the girls room, the boy’s room, the nurses station, and the babies room. The babies room housed about 10 babies, all of them very adorable of course and each of  them with his/her own struggle. The babies had illnesses such as facial hemangioma of the face, cerebral palsy, autism, mental retardation, clef lip and palate, malnutrition, CLOVES syndrome, and seizures, among other things. Oh it absolutely breaks your heart, but again you are snapped out of it in about 2 seconds. Because how does that help? What helps is your time, your love, and your attention. The volunteers, the nurses, the teachers, the therapists, and of course Dr. Lazarra who founded and still runs this place are the people who provide it.

The rest of the day consisted of birthday cake for Hogar, dancing with the kids, volunteers, staff, and parents, speaking in Spanglish to the parents, and drinking shot glass sized cups of sangria. We danced and danced and danced. Made circles around each other whooing the main performer; danced in circles around to the left, around to the right, run to the middle and back again; and just dance and danced and danced. The parents talked to the me and the other volunteers wanting to know who we were, where we were from, how long we were going to be there, and a billion other questions – of course they needed to know who were the daily care takers of their babies. As I was speaking to one of the parents, her son Donte (that looked just like her), and one of Donte’s friends d I leaned over talking to the kids (8 & 11)  and one of them just decided that he needed to feel my hair. I just rolled with it lol, they tugged on it a little just trying to figure it out. Kids are so curious. I also spoke with a few of the volunteers all from different places – Eilis, came all the way from Ireland and this was her second time here. They were all very welcoming, and really took the time to help me understand what happens there at Hogar. Ivet, a volunteer even invited me to go with her and her friends to go to Cataratas de Surco (a waterfall) the next Sunday.

If you are wondering how you can help there are two ways:

Monetary donations on their website:

If you are in Peru these are a few in-kind items:

  1. An elevator (yes they need a lift for the kids that are immobile)
  2. Flip flops. For both the females and Males…remember…their feet are really small!!
  3. hair accessories for the girls, and maybe gels and thing for the older adolescents.
  4.  the plastic diapers for the babies. (They are like plastic pants to put over the cloth nappies/diapers they use in the Hogar)
  5. Shoes (mainly for female adolescents) are needed. Peruvians have pretty small feet!
  6.   little boys’ belts
  7.  cloth scarves not the winter kind! Some of the girls are asking for them to cover up burns and infections.  Cotton preferred! (as of 1/9/12)
  8. The home always needs infant formula, pediasure, and insure.

Of course your time:

Happy Anniversary Hogar San Francisco de Asis!

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Origami Dresses

Quick post- Just wanted to share what I ran across last night. Every once in a while you run across something really unique in Lima. Luckily I had my camera with me this time!  More dresses here

Origami Dress in Lacomar

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

As with the majority of holidays in Peru people travel for New Years Eve. Matthew and I were lucky enough to be invited by our friends Ursula and Miguel and their college friends to rent a beach house in Mancora. Mancora is in northern Peru and is known for having the best waves, great surfers, and buenisimo ceviche! Matthew was really happy that we went with a bunch of meat lovers who pre-packed that brought tons of steak and sausage along (if you don’t know he’s allergic to seafood and fish)  – we barbecued almost every night. Don’t have lighter fluid here’s another option.

Miguel taught Matthew the amazing technique of using a blow dryer to help increase the fire.
Matthew and Paula

We had a relaxing week on the beach with a group of Ursula and Miguel’s college friends and two of their adorable daughters. Matthew and baby Paulita had a connection – I have to watch out for this girl lol. We got to work on our Spanish since the whole crew was Peruvian.  Let me tell you I wish I would have paid more attention in Spanish class – “girl talk” in a foreign language is quite difficult lol. But they were great about it and threw in some English every once in a while. Everyone brought champagne so the champagne flowed every night. Riccadonna Asti was the brand of choice its pretty sweet – I like it! It doesn’t help with speaking Spanish though. We also celebrated Gonszalo’s birthday. His wife Rafaella brought all this party stuff down to celebrate it – how great! Besides that there were plenty of days relaxing on the beach and in the pool.

The guys!

New Years Eve was fun, the married folks stayed at the beach house, ate dinner and watched the fireworks, and the single girls and guy went out to party.  Dinner was great Lorena made a delicious homemade pizza, we had barbecued steak & chorizo, and I baked potatoes on the grill. New Year struck and there were fireworks launched from every beach house and hotel in town.

The girls
Man On Fire!

And of course we ran across the Peruvian tradition of burning a dummy that represents someone evil from your past was live and in living color.  What you do is you buy one of these lovely guys and post a note on him of why you want to burn him. Then you attach a few flammables to it like fireworks, and let it go!  Now that’s cathartic! Talk about closure.

The dummies
Yum Yum Yum

We went in to town a few times, I tried conchas negras ceviche YUMM, I could have eaten them every day! Thank you Celso for introducing me to them! The black shell fished can be found on the street that goes towards the beach from the main road (there’s only one street to the beach). You’ll spot it because it a place with a table with a bunch of black shell-fish on the table guys are opening them and serving it up in bowls by the masses.

The best part of the trip – me taking surfing classes and catching a few waves!

Me on the wave.
Catching waves! Love it!

More pics here: