Michael Broder

Michael Broder

My name is Michael Broder, and I am 18 years old and from Boston, Massachusetts. I just graduated high school, and my friend Emily and I decided to do something good for the world this summer by traveling and volunteering in Peru. We are so excited for our adventure. Next year I am off to the University of Pennsylvania.

Mucho Que Hacer: June 22, 2010

 Posted by Michael Broder at 9:32 am  Peru  Comments Off on Mucho Que Hacer: June 22, 2010
Jun 252010

June 22, 2010: Mucho Que Hacer

Yesterday was so much fun. Emily recovered for the most part from her altitude sickness and everything that happened yesterday was great. I was assigned to take spanish classes from 2-4 pm yesterday as I already told you. My class had three people in it including me so it was very very awesome. The teacher was great, and he taught us grammar and had us speak using the grammar we had just learned. It was a lot of fun and I felt a lot better about my proficiency in the language. After my classes I was supposed to go visit my volunteer project which is an afterschool program not far from Maximo Nivels office, but unfortunately the project called in saying that they were not open yesterday and so today at 4 pm I will check it out. After learning this news, I had time at the Maximo office to exchange some money and sign up for the tandem exchange program where I split an hour with a Peruvian girl who is trying to learn English while I try to learn Spanish. After taking my first cab alone back to the family house, I got off too early and had to walk several blocks to find the house. Walking a few blocks requires a lot more energy than in the states. I cannot even walk up the stairs without my heart racing and feeling short of breath. Last night a lot of people from the house went to Plaza de Armas, the most beautiful part of this city, for dinner at a British restaurant in the attic of some little Peruvian goods shop. There we had dinner (I ate a burger for $5 and we played trivia against a bunch of other people from all over the world). We then took a taxi back to La Florida, our volunteer house, and went to bed. Some of the people we went to dinner with went out clubbing and when they returned pretty late at night, they were really loud. I was sleeping but they woke my roommate Johannes up consequently causing him to bang against the wall so loudly that it startled and woke me up. He does this every night when people in the neighboring tv room are too loud. It scares the crap out of me. This morning Emily had Spanish lessons at 8am and I have my first Tandem thing at 10am in a few minutes. Wish me luck. To get here I took my first combi, the most packed little van I have ever taken in my lifetime. It was thrilling, unsafe, dirty, and cramped, but I loved every second of it. It was only 60 centavos which is equivalent to 20 cents. I will be taking one of those back to the house for lunch. I will give you further updates later.                                     

Hope all is well in Boston. Is it nice weather there? It gets fairly chilly here at night, but it is not as cold as everyone was saying it would be. This time of the day is the nicest (8am-4pm) because the sun is high in the sky and it feels very warm. The tandem thing was wonderful. I really got to work on my spanish with my female partner Jocella (I think that is her name). She just started taking English because she just graduated university studying to be a tour guide or guia touristica. She knows very minimal English and for that reason it is kind of great because I can practice my spanish a lot with her for pretty much the whole hour we spend together. She brought me and Emily to Claro, the Peruvian equivalent of verizon, to get cell phones. Me and Emily both bought cell phones for 69 soles which is about 25 dollars or such. We then bought a card that has time credited to it so that we can call people.  I returned to the family house after the events of the morning to eat lunch and do my spanish homework. I then proceeded to get back to Maximos office on the cumbis or buses that cost 20 cents a ride all by myself. I feel very safe here, and I cannot wait for the next two days. There is a big holiday coming up on Thursday called Inti Raymi, which is one of the biggest Peruvian festivals of the year. I do not have classes or volunteering tomorrow so it should be a fun day. I love it here and am so excited to spend the next six weeks in Cuzco. Hasta Luego.

The Beginning: 6/21/2010

 Posted by Michael Broder at 9:15 am  Peru  Comments Off on The Beginning: 6/21/2010
Jun 252010
June 21, 2010: The Beginning
The diamox is working and I feel fine. Emily is the one who didnt feel well. She feels better now but she is still adjusting. Everyone here is very nice, and I just received my volunteer placement. I am visiting the place at four. All I know is that it has to do with childcare. For the next six weeks I will be volunteering in the morning and at least for this week will be taking spanish classes from 2-4 pm. I am still at Maximo and didnt go home because my first class in the intermediate spanish class starts soon. Emily has a completely different schedule and she will be taking classes in the morning and volunteering in the afternoon.
I just finished my first spanish class with Jorge and it was so sick. I have never participated as much in any class ever as I just did because there were only two other people there. I think I want to take spanish classes for the rest of the time that I am here. After my spanish class I went downstairs to Maximos international office to meet the person who was supposed to bring me to visit my volunteer placement. Of course my assignment, Salome Ferro, was closed so I need to wait until tomorrow afternoon to visit my placement. In the mean time I visited another office (there are so many) to sign up for the Tandem exchange program where for an hour a day I can spend time with a Peruvian trying to learn English. We will split the time evenly: For half an hour I will speak Spanish and for the rest of the time my tandem partner will speak English with me. That is it for now. I am heading back to my volunteer house for dinner and hopefully I can go out tonight because I have not really seen the city yet.

Arrival at 11,000 feet: 6/20/2010

 Posted by Michael Broder at 6:50 am  Peru  Comments Off on Arrival at 11,000 feet: 6/20/2010
Jun 252010

June 20, 2010: Arrival at 11,000 feet

I landed safely in Cuzco this morning, and today has been a very relaxed day. All of our flights amazingly were on time, and some actually got to the destination early. Right now I am writing this email from my roomate, Johannes’ (From Germany), laptop. We arrived in Cuzco at around 10am. Flying above the Andes from Lima was one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen. All around us were snow-capped and brownish gray mountains. When we arrived we picked up our baggage and met a few of the other people volunteering. Most of them are college age (20 years old and above) so me and Emily are the babies of the group. The Diamox for altitude sickness has worked wonders for me. I might have been dizzy for a few minutes at one point, but that could have just been from sitting on so many flights. Emily on the other hand has had some trouble adjusting to life at two miles above sea level. She has been dizzy, has had an aweful headache, and feels a little nauseous. Hopefully she will feel better tomorrow so we can do some exploring. At 10am tomorrow we have our first orientation session, and then at four pm we will be taken to our volunteer placement. The people living in the volunteer house are really nice, and the house is a very nice place to stay. There’s hot water and everything is clean. They boil jugs of water and then pour it all in pitchers so we can drink it. Life is great here, and I am really surprised that I cannot even tell that I am so high up in the mountains. I hope all is well in the Northern Hemisphere. While you enjoy your summer I will enjoy my second winter.

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