A Journal Entry from Katie: “A collection of short stories about the first week in San Roque”

Katie in the kitchen with her host mother.
Katie in the kitchen with her host mother.

Day 1: We went to English classes with our brothers at 8 a.m.  Class started at 9:30.  Every student practiced greeting us in English.  Then we went to play futbolito (traumatic flashbacks to Caral).  Then we went to the river, where we all jumped in for the first time off a falling apart straw hut over a deck 20-30 feet above the water.  Welcome to San Roque time, English classes, and the river!

The running water is only on for a few hours in the a.m. and a few hours in the p.m.  This is totally fine until you have to go to the bathroom during the day.  Finally, after almost a week of holding it, I learned how to flush a toilet without running water by pouring water into it.  Welcome to how helpful my standardized school knowledge is when it comes to living life in San Roque! (Not at all).

Although I’ve yet to see a tarantula, there were 3 giant (to me) cockroaches above my bed one night.  My brother about died of laughter when I came to get him to get rid of them.  He calmly plucked them off the wall with his fingers.  Welcome to bugs in the jungle.

On our first full Friday here we decided to go to Tarapoto to a café to get some wifi and see what the big city was like.  To get there and back you have to cram in a car with however many people are going at that time for the 45-minute ride.  On our way back, we were already full, about to leave, when a man walked up with a 10-foot-long roll of tin.  We were sure he’d wait for the next car, but alas, he and his massive roll of construction materials got in too, and I spent the ride hunched down underneath it as we wound back up the mountain to San Roque.  Welcome to jungle transportation.

Yesterday my sister, her 6-year-old daughter and I went to the river in the afternoon.  We sat on rocks in the river for about an hour talking about life and children and boyfriends and families and the U.S. and Peru.  I thought, “What a universal, special, timeless thing – 2 women sitting in the river with a naked child, talking about life.  Welcome to San Roque.


[This is the last post from visits to student service assignments.  In a few days the students will all be returning to Lima, and we will post a couple more updates once they are all here and from our final retreat before they fly back to the U.S.]