For someone who usually doesn't make a big deal of their birthday, last week was surprisingly cake-filled. First I went to Lima to meet my former Ranelagh housemate Sinead and her four Australia-bound friends from Ballincollig. We went surfing, had a couple of nice meals out, including a birthday dinner and cake for me, and a really fun night out.
It was great to meet up with the girls and to hear their Cork accents (as far as I can tell, there are no other Irish people in Ayacucho).
Back in Ayacucho, a "surprise" party was thrown for me in the shelter. I had another (very creamy) cake, which my face was pushed into (a Peruvian custom!)
and I got some nice presents - the kids bought me a wallet and the other volunteers gave me a jersey of the local football team, Inti-Gas.
Then on Saturday night there was a joint birthday party for me, Emilie (a French friend of mine) and her Peruvian friend Lorena (our birthdays fall within three days of each other). We made a brownie cake so that our faces couldn't be covered in cream - Emilie has lived in Ayacucho for a few years so was well aware of the custom involving birthday cakes! It was a fun night.
In between all these parties, I continued my work at Los Cachorros, which includes helping out at our chocolatería. This has now expanded to be a repostería, so I spent a morning in the home of a Dutch woman (picture a lovely, cake-baking grandmother type) who runs a nursery here as she taught a few of us (mainly Deysi, the 18 year old mother of two who used to live in our shelter but who we are now training to run the repostería) to make cakes. I hadn't done things like separating the whites and yokes of eggs since "helping" Mum, i.e. about twenty years ago (I realised in this week that I turned 29 that I can now say things like "I haven't done this in twenty years" and not be exaggerating). I quite liked making the cakes, although I learned that the nicest ones have loads of sugar, butter and chocolate in them!