Part of our technique is that I teach English words to help make connections with people in the community. Thanks to Chad's mom who teaches ESL in the states, we have some great material to help us teach. One of the worksheets I've used in the past few weeks is a lesson on clothing items. I teach words like....shirt, socks, dress and more. Well, one of the drawings on this worksheet is a pair of slippers. I have decided to just call them sandals and teach the world sandals instead of slippers. The reason behind the change is that the word slipper(s) has little meaning here. I have slippers and wear them around our house here. But, most houses in the outskirts of town and even some in town, are not condusive to slippers. I wish you could be here and go into some of these houses, or even just look in the door. Being invited into a house and seeing how people live is usually the most humbling experience for me. Since you cannot be here I'll try to describe the houses to you.
Usually there is a wall with a metal door. The wall is generally made of bricks, bricks of mud and rocks. But when you go through this metal door, you are not walking into a house like we would expect, but you are walking into what I would consider more of a campground. You are still outside and your standing on dirt. You might see an outhouse or a little cage for the hens. Also, you will see little "houses". These little "houses" are their rooms. The rooms are separate and the "hallway" is outside. I can't help but think of a campground, little cabins close together. But its not a campground, its not a place to stay for a week or two, it is their house, their home. Another type of house, a step up from the campground but still not condusive to slippers is concrete including the floor. And we are not talking smooth concrete, not cool studio style concrete, I'm talking about raw, rough, uneven concrete. With horrible roofs there is water leaking in from the rain and dirt everywhere.
I wish I could explain in better words what it is like to be in one of these houses. To be honestly grateful to be invited in despite the smell, the cold, the dirt, the water, the hard chairs and more. So, through a simple English lesson, I've been reminded of how blessed I am to have a place to wear slippers in Puno and in the states.