Wednesday was the much-anticipated Site Assignment Day in which all of the volunteers were told where they would be living for the next two years. Due to the phenomenon of El Niño (which is predicted to be the worst yet) no placements were made on the coast and all the sites are in the Sierras. The 4 regions volunteers were placed in are Amazonas, Ancash, Junín, and Cajamarca. The site assignment session lasted about 2 hours and finally at the session I found out where I would be living for the next two years of my life, Cajamarca! There were 10 other volunteers who were also assigned to Cajamarca but we’re all pretty spread out throughout the region. For the most part, he health volunteers are mainly in the north in more rural communities and the youth development volunteers like myself are more in the southern region.
Cajamarca is considered to be an important cultural and historical site and commercial center in the northern Andes. Its name comes from the Quechua word Kashamarka meaning in Spanish pueblo de espinas (village of thorns). It’s known for it’s beautiful landscapes, delicious cheeses and mining industry. As one of the oldest cities in South America, Cajamarca has a rich history and is the site where Incan emperor, Atahualpa was executed.
One of the things I’m really looking forward to is the weather. Since my site is in the south of Cajamarca near la Libertad, the weather will be quite nice. On average in Magdalena, it’s in the 70s during the day and in the 50s at night, all year round. I’m also happy that I’m not in an extremely rural site and I’m only about an hour from the regional capital.
Some popular tourist attractions in Cajamarca include Los Baños de Inca (hot springs), El Parque Nacional Cutervo (National Park), and Carnaval, which takes place from February to March.
Along with my site assignment, I was also given information about my community and host family. My community has about 2900 people in it and there are six people in my host family including a mother (45), father (50), grandmother (74), sister (17) and two brothers who are 17 and 7-years old. I was also happy to read that the house has plumbing as opposed to a latrine, and running water. It won’t be hot water, but at least it won’t be too cold. I was also given information about the emergency services available and apparently is an ambulance that’s driven by a man by the name of Julio. His phone number was also listed. hope I’ll never have to call Julio for a ride…!