lunes, 5 de julio de 2010

Happy Birthday America!

What a beautiful 4th of July! I thought I would just skip Independence Day since I would not be in the country, but ironically we had scheduled my presentation of the U.S. and Erie, PA to the girls in Pamplona for this past Sunday (July 4th and my last day in Pamplona). They had asked me to think of something typical of the U.S. that we could do with the girls. I struggled to come up with an idea because I couldn't think of anything "typical" of the U.S. since we are supposedly just a mumble jumble of everything and anything that we take from other cultures. I'm not really sure that I believe that to be true but I do think it can be difficult to identify what is "typical" of your own culture.

But it came to me! S'mores!! What a wonderful (North)American tradition! The whole feeling of sitting around a fire on a summer night under a starry sky with good friends, roasting marshmallows and enjoying the sugarry, gooey deliciousness that is the s'more! Only after we had everything planned out did I realize that this would take place on the 4th of July... basically the national day of the s'more when everyone in Erie goes to the beach to watch fireworks or has a bonfire in the backyard, both of which are not complete if not accompanied by fire, chocolate, Graham crackers and roasted marshmallows.

Of course, I had to improvise. There are no Graham crackers in Peru... they don't existe here trust me I looked into it. But I did find a comparable cracker.

Hershey's chocolate is extremely expensive -15 soles for a bar- which makes sense I guess since when you divide it by 3 is 5 dollars. Is that how much a hershey's chocolate bar costs? I don't even remember. But chocolate is chocolate, right?

And it's more expensive to buy a bag of colored marshmallows that have different flavors than a bag of only white ones, go figure. So we ended up with fresa (strawberry) flavored marshmallows, which actually tasted quite delicious when roasted and combined with chocolate.

It was a HUGE hit! We were able to get our hands on a small ceramic charcoal grill kind of thing so we were actually able to roast the marshmallows! I taught the girls how to brown their marshmallow to perfection and the importance of preparing their cracker and chocolate beforehand although those detailes flew quickly out the window in all the excitement of cooking the marshmallow over the fire which resulted in lots of black marshmallows and sticky hands, faces and hair. But they were excited (as was I) to know that at that very moment lots my friends at home were probably doing the exact same thing! After the workshop with the girls was over, the team members took advantage of the leftovers roasting marshmallow after marshmallow until they were sufficiently saturated with sugar. I think they were also quite intrigued with this fascinating new treat.

Through Apoyo Para el Futuro, the volunteer group through which I found work in Pamplona, there is an opportunity to support one of the girls with tuition to study at a university. Many girls want to study but do not have the means to do so. Education is the ONLY way for the girls to surpass the situation into which they have been born. The cost of educaiton in Peru is cheap, so your support could change the life of one person at a minimal cost to you. Please contact me if you would like more information about funding a scholarship for one of the girls of Pamplona.

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