Monday, August 5, 2013

Cusco... The ancient Capital of the World

Family and Friends,

This email will have a little bit of a different focus. I usually try to talk a lot about my experiences spirituals and experiences as a missionary, but in this email I am going to focus on Perú. I´ve been here for almost 3 months, and I think that it is about time that I talk a little more about the People and Culture of Perú. 

Here in the Cusco Area, The people are VERY close with their Incan Ancestors.
The Incan Empire was HUGE!! It covered most of South america at one time. Cusco was the Capital of the Incan Empire. Because of this, the people here in the Cusco area are very prideful of the heritage. Here in Sicuani, 90% of the People Speak Quechua (The incan Language), and 20% Don´t speak Spanish. The Spanish culture is still something new here. The people still dress like they did 200 years ago, and still speak like they did 200 years ago. The incan culture is very very strong. I have to say that I was very surprised by that. 

I am learning a little bit of Quechua. But I can only say very simple and basic things, like: What is your name, My name is, How are you, Yes, Dad, Mom, Brother, Sister. Quechua is a cool language, and it is really fun to listen to the people here speak it. 

Dancing is a big part of the culture. But it is that way in all of South america!

The living conditions of People.
I must say, I was expecting the people to be humble, but I wasn´t expecting this. The people here in Sicuani are VERY humble. Every house is made out of Adobe (search google for "adobe peru houses" as to not confuse it with Adobe Photoshop.) which is basically dry mud and straw. If the house has a cement floor, the family is a little better off, but it is a lot more common to see dirt floors. Many people only shower once a week, and it is in the Sicuani River or with a hose. Those that have a shower in their house are very blessed. I have been humbled greatly. But it is a great experience.

We eat Rice EVERY MEAL. Its a good thing that I like rice :). Breakfast is usually bread, yogurt, and some type of hot rice drink. Lunch and dinner vary, but usually there is Potatoes, rice, and some sort of meat. We are blessed because our Pensionista cooks really really well.

How is the Spanish Language?
I basically know all of the rules, and I can say just about anything that I wan´t, but a have a VERY limited vocabulary, and sometimes I get really frustrated because I can´t say what I want to say. If I keep it simple, I can communicate, but I want to be able to talk like Spanish is my first language, and I still can´t do that. I´m reading the Book of Mormon for the First time in Spanish, and I understand 90% without looking at my English Scriptures. 

Spanish is a constant struggle, but I am improving every day, and trying my hardest. I guess that I shouldn´t complain because all of the members say that I speak a lot better than other Gringos (even some that have a lot more time than me), but I guess I just have a high standard for myself, and I want to be Perfect.

Hmmmm, I don´t know what else to say. If anyone has any questions about Perú or anything else, let me know and I´ll answer in my next email. 

Elder Harmon

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