Thursday, February 19, 2015

Hey!...this isn’t Barrio Nuevo!

Yesterday Maribel and I spent the afternoon in the village of Annape. It is a small village in the district of Morrope. We didn’t plan to do that. We didn’t even know the village of Annape existed. In the city of Morrope we told the mototaxi driver we wanted to go to Barrio Nuevo. He said the cost would be 3 soles. That sounded about right so we got in and off we went. I knew we were going in the right general direction but was a little surprised when after only 10 minutes we pulled into a village and the driver said we were there.  We got out, paid him and began walking toward what looked to be a school and small government building a short distance away. The building was a medical clinic with the word Annape above the door. That's usually where the village name is placed. On the opposite corner is a primary school. It too had the word Annape above the door. When a woman came out of the clinic and sat on a bench, we already knew what her answer would be when we asked if this was the village of Barrio Nuevo. I prefer to believe that the mototaxi driver made a mistake or misunderstood us…that he didn’t deliberately drop us off two-thirds short of our destination.

Sarah (seated) is 38 with 6 kids. The oldest is 17. Like most of the village men her husband works on a farm. She doesn’t like the heat. And she doesn’t like the inflammation in her leg. That’s why she was at the clinic. The technician told her to return tomorrow when a doctor would be there. After a few more minutes of conversation Sarah slowly walked off into the distance, muttering about the heat and doctors who always seem to "be here tomorrow”.

The medical technician told us that the school director had been here earlier but had gone back to her home in Chiclayo for the remainder of the day. This information left me muttering about the heat and school directors who always seem to have "been here earlier”. I realize the director wasn't expecting us, but it's hard to remember something like that when the desert heat is sucking out your life forces. Maribel gave her phone number to the technician and asked her to have the school director phone us. If she phones, and depending on what she says about any needs of the school or students we may be making a return trip.

We began walking back toward Morrope hoping that a mototaxi or burro cart would suddenly materialize and save us the dusty, hot two mile walk back when we passed a house with a gathering in front of it. We exchanged hellos and were invited to sit and enjoy a drink of chicha. As always happens, before long we were bosom friends and were being told the history of the Ventura family. Today’s gathering was to observe the one year passing of their father. There are eight siblings plus other relatives who came for the occasion. We were told that the father was the founder of Annape and had helped to construct the school. They also said I was not the first Americano to visit Annape. Some years ago members of the United States Army had constructed a water tower and maintenance building in the village. Both look to be well maintained.

A few minutes later we got lucky. A mototaxi appeared with a driver who was a friend of the Ventura family and had come to pay his respects. After a drink of chicha he offered to take us to Morrope. As we were getting in I asked if he knew where Barrio Nuevo was. He said he did and asked if we wanted to go there. We both said no.

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