Monday, March 23, 2015

Spring 2015 Week 9

Another great week here interning in Peru. This week we were able to visit Aurora again and take her inventory. She continues to have trouble finding contracts for their carpentry business and will like have to get sell their assets. We continue to monitor the situation though. We also were able to visit Teofila and her son's project with the John Nash academic they need a little help in order to get things going. Mari from the beauty salon came into the office to talk about running her business while her daughter travels to Argentina to get more training. She is having a hard time deciding whether to just dedicate her time to the business or to continue working at DanPer full time.

The humidity has been horrible this week between 80-90%. One way to counteract the sweaty affects is to use baby powder it tends to help stop some of the sweating. Other than that it feels like perfect summer weather here. This weekend we went to Real Plaza and saw a movie. I would highly recommend going to the Real Plaza instead of Mall Adventura if you want to see a movie in English because they have far more choices. Other than that time is flying here in Peru. Ryan's research seems to be going well as he has been able to meet with several of the businesses to administer his survey. Hopefully the research will pay dividends in helping future loan applicants be more successful.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring 2015 Week 8

This week was our week to travel. First we took a bus from TRC express to Lima. We spent Friday in Lima along the coast and in Miraflores. There we went to a mall called Larcomar which is right on the coast built on some cliffs. We would highly recommend checking it out if you have time while you're here, it's really cool. 

We then got up early Saturday morning to fly to Cusco. We flew through Peruvian Airlines which is a great airline to check out if you want to save a little money. We then got to Cusco and everyone needed most of the day to adjust to the altitude. Honestly I didn't think that altitude sickness would effect us that much but I recommend drinking a lot of water and taking ibuprofen when you arrive in Cusco. We rented an apartment for seven people which was probably the most economical way to go if you have a big group. 

On Sunday we then took a bus through PeruRail to Ollantaytambo to get on the train. The train ride was spectacular because of the views through the Peruvian rain forest. The train ride lasts nearly two hours and the service and comfort is really nice. The final destination of the train is Aguas Calientes.

Aguas Calientes is a little town way up in the mountains and it sits below Machu Picchu. It's more expensive than Cusco so we would recommend buying snacks and water in Cusco it will help save a little money. The main things to do in Aguas Calientes are shopping in the big souvenir markets and then at night going up to the hot springs above the city. Everything from the train ride up to Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu kind of seems like a dream how beautiful it is. Make sure your cameras are fully charged with plenty of memory because you'll want a lot of pictures. 

On Monday we woke up at about 4 a.m. to be able to have breakfast at the hotel and to see the sunrise at Machu Picchu. Even after waking up that early and getting to the bus stop at 5:15 there was still a pretty long line. After we got to the lodge at the foot of Machu Picchu Ryan and his parents were able to find a guide for about S/.20 a person, which is a pretty good price. Getting a guide is highly recommended because there is a lot of history surrounding Machu Picchu. 

Machu Picchu is far better than what the photos portray. The views from the tops of the mountain and looking out across the ancient ruins feels like you're in a movie. It is by far the place where you will take the most photos. While we were up there Kurt proposed to his girlfriend which was an amazing place to get engaged. Ryan and his dad went and hiked Machu Picchu mountain which they believed was just as cool as Machu Picchu itself. 

After returning from Machu Picchu to Cusco we spent the rest of the week going on a few tours such as the sacred valley. We would recommend going on these tours but also take a day or two to hang out in Cusco because there are a lot of museums and great places to check out. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Spring 2015 Week 7

This week proved to be a little more difficult as we taught the financial and cash flow sections of the course. It's important to simplify the teaching to the very basics when teaching these concepts because the people had a really hard time. One thing we've learned is to always use real business idea examples in anything that we teach including including the financial section of 6.1. Using real ideas from people in the class allows everyone to participate more and they seem to grasp the material better using this method.

New students continue to show up especially in Huancaquito. It's important to continue to bring copies of past home works because you never know how many new people could show up to any given class. We've been very impressed with everyone's ideas and thoughts, but we need to find a way to better motivate them to do the homework.

This weekend we traveled up north through a town called Piura. On our way we went through Paita and to a beach called Colán. It was beautiful and the sand had far less rocks than the sand in Huanchaco. While were there a girl got stung when she stepped on a sting ray, which made us a little skeptical to venture to far out into the ocean.

We continued up north and stayed in a town called Los Organos which is a cool little pueblo along the cost. Early Sunday morning we went down to a pier where we were able to contract a boat and go swim with sea turtles. It has been one of the most amazing touristic experiences we've had so far. It was definitely worth it. We traveled on a few different bus lines and would highly recommend spending the extra fifteen soles to have a more comfortable seat; we were definitely tired upon arriving back in Trujillo. Overall it was an awesome way to end a great week.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Spring 2015 Week 6

It's been a cloudy and rainy week in Trujillo! The city has never this much rain this time of the year. We were walking home from dinner trying to avoid getting splashed with water by car when all of a sudden we were being interviewed by a news station.

This week we've been progressing in all of our classes at DanPer, Huanchacito, and the Employment Center. It's great to see that the students are getting more comfortable asking questions and making comments.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Spring 2015 Week 3

This week we made a lot of visits to current businesses. Most seem to be doing well but some have fallen behind and we will continue to try and help them with their loan payments.

We started teaching the classes within Danper in the main plant. The students seem to have quite a bit of interest but we will see. It has been extremely humid this week and has made the classroom a little uncomfortable but that's to be expected in Peru. We also started teaching the classes in Juan Cakito. The students are also very interested and many have already spoken about their business ideas. The ideas include a guinea pig farm and a corn mill.

We continue to gain momentum with the employment center classes as well. Many of the people already have experience within their industries and are eager to learn how they can improve. A word of advice for future interns is to organize the employment center classes well, because sometimes we are locked out of the main chapel and have to go to the institute behind.

This weekend we went to Huanchaco with some members of the church who have family members within the program. The sun was blazing hot so it's a good idea to wear sun screen. Often times the beach is good from about 11 am to 2 pm and then clouds and potential storms tend to roll in.

Spring 2015 Week 2

Last week, we went with Elena and Milagros to visit several businesses. We first met with Gloria who has a restaurant businesses that provides food to DanPer workers in the fields. She spoke to us about some of the issues she has been having. The main theme in each issue seemed to be the lack of clear communication in how many lunches she has to prepare as well as accessing certain areas of the field. Later in the week we met with Bertha who has an internet cafe in her home whom expressed her gratitude for the program and how it has helped her.

At Gloria's restaurant with Milagros 

We also visited Rossi, who has a beauty salon, she told us that her and her daughter Ana Cristina have been having trouble trying to keep their business open at times due to their busy schedules. Rossi is currently working a DanPer, going to school, and working at the beauty salon while Ana Cristina works at the beauty salon and goes to school. There are times when customers come looking for a haircut and the business is closed. At the moment they can't hire a hairstylist because the income doesn't lend itself.

This weekend we got to call ourselves tourists as we went on a full day tour to Chan Chan, Las Huacas del Sol y La Luna and Huanchaco. It was fascinating to learn about the Moche and Chimú and their beliefs. On our tour we also made new friends from Switzerland, Peru, and Argentina.

Museo Huacas de Moche