i´m feeling worlds better, and Perú is doing just fine as well. Should you find yourself with a beer and nothing to toast, try these on for size:

The United Nations has declared 2008 to be the International Year of the Potato, which is nothing but good news for this potato-lovin-land. As the price of other food commodities (rice, wheat) soar, the humble potato remains an affordable staple of diets worldwide. United Nations believes that the potato may be part of an ecological solution to hunger, poverty, and threats to the environment.

i for one wouldn´t care if i ever saw another potato again in my life. but i´m still quite happy for Perú.

I also successfully convinced about 30 people to poop in cups this week. Horrified? actually its pretty great.

ProPerú is working with the municipality of Cuzco and the ministery of health in Urubamba to improve the water quality of Chichumbabma (the rural area outside of the city in which i live). This is fantastic seeing as i regularly see people going to the bathroom, washing clothes, bathing, and yes, sadly, drinking water from the same little creek that drizzles off the glacier high above Urubamba. The creekruns through the middle of town and is nothing short of wildly abused.

My small contribution to the project was going house to house asking people about their daily water habits (where they go to the bathroom, where they get their drinking water, how they wash their hands…). I also asked them to please participate in our campaign to test the population of Chichumbamba for parasites (thus the reason they needed to poo in cups). For various reasons, including the horror of feces samples and the omnipresent language barrier, i didn´t expect that i would be all that effective in convincing people to participate in our study. Apparently 30 people from one street participated. Success!!

Tomorrow i´m teaching a class on the 5 senses. We are going to write a book entitled Ïf you are not from Urubamba you wouldn´t know…¨ Each kid will fill in the blanks and decorate their page to describe things you wouldn´t have tasted, smelled, seen, heard, or touched if you didn´t live in Urubamba, Perú. I plan on convincing the kids to let me use the book (and the 5 senses) to teach my dear friends and families back home about the life of adolecent Urubambanians.

si no conoces urubamba, no has probado intestinos fritos, no has visto el glacier Chicon en el sol de la manaña, no has oido las mujeres veniendo choclo con queso en los autobuses… más y más. stay tuned. i´m really exctied.

off to my spanish class. besos a todos. stay in touch! alegría