Dec 292011

Lima, Peru

Time sure flies, when you’re having fun!

Two and a half months I have been in Pisco (with a 2 week “vacation” to get altitude sickness, go see a wonder of the world and try out a new career direction), working as a volunteer at Pisco Sin Fronteras.

At some point however it is time to move on. So with pain in my heart that is exactly what I finally did. A final morning meeting, a final time shouting “Pay your contributions!”. And then my farewell speech. A bit of improv, which got a lot of people laughing; it’s so much nicer to leave people with a smile than with a tear!

And time for the real goodbye! A few last minute pictures, loads and loads of hugs! I almost started to believe that people really didn’t want me to go! 😉

I really am going to miss everyone! Kindred souls, like-minded people. Who party hard, but work even harder. Helping to make Pisco, and with it the world, a slightly better place.

So for everybody that I met and befriended: Don’t be a stranger! Let me know where you are in South America so we can meet up! Drop by when you are ever in the Netherlands! And I will be sure to do the same when I am in England, New Zealand, Belgium, Ireland, Argentina, The USA, Sweden, Scotland, France… (Hmmm, this is actually going to be a whole lot of good vacations!)

A final hug, a final wave goodbye. Taxi to the bus, bus to Lima. All alone again…

Guess again!

I get off the bus, struggling with my big back-pack, when I hear someone calling my name. What the…?

A friend who had left PSF a month earlier was standing there, smiling! Turns out she was in Lima for a bit and was at the bus station to pick up someone else from PSF who passing through on her way to the Peruvian jungle (had something to do with a beautiful boy I believe…)

This has strengthened my belief: For the rest of my life, where-ever I will go, PSF will also be there!

Dec 292011

Lima, Peru

One of the things I did as Finance Manager for Pisco Sin Fronteras was make sure that all the volunteers paid their weekly contributions, from which we paid the rent and bought food and such.

Though I had great fun just shouting out “Pay your contributions” every morning, I decided to spice things up a bit further. Thus for the last two weeks to remind people, I sang two song, specially written for this. Some people expressed an interest in getting the lyrics, which can be found below. Enjoy and remember:

Pay your contributions!!!

2 weeks ago:

(Ganster’s paradise)
Power and the money
Money and the power
Pay your contributions
Or you will be sour!
Cause I will add 5 Soles
To the amount you’re payin’
For every day you’re late
For every day delayin’

And if you can’t
And if you won’t
I know you front
And I know your life is out of luck fool!

You’ve been spending most ‘your cash
Livin’ in this place called PSF
You’ve been spending most ‘your cash
Livin’ in this place called PSF
Just keep spending most ‘your cash
Livin’ in this place called PSF
Just keep spending most ‘your cash
Livin’ in this place called PSF

So please pay me
Your weekly fee
Let us buy some stuff
For you and me
So please pay me
Your weekly fee
Let us buy some stuff
For you and me!

And for Christmas I sang the following:

(Jingle Bells)
Jingle Bell
Pay me well
We’ll buy some stuff for you
Toilet paper, tea and soap, breakfast and dinner too

Dashing through Pisco
On a shopping spree
With full bags we go
But we need monee

We’ll pay the water bill
Energy, telephone too
The cupboard we will fill
All of this for you

(I’m dreaming of a white Christmas)
I’m dreaming of your contributions…

(Last Christmas)
Because this Christmas
We’re spending a lot
So for this special day
You’ve got to pay

(All I want for Christmas)
I don’t ask a lot this Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don’t care about excuses
Right beside the Christmas tree
I just want it for my own
More than you can ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas
Is contribu…….

Dec 252011

Pisco, Peru

The first day of Christmas (though here people mostly celebrate Christmas eve), the year is almost over. Some light jazz is coming from my computer, I’ve got a cup of tea at hand (Earl Grey that someone hunted down for me in Lima. Most expensive tea-bags I have ever had, but worth every cent. It’s amazing how soothing the taste of home can be!) Time to relax, time to think…

During my time here I have spanned a little over 2000 kilometer (most of that going back and forth from Pisco to different places…), visited all of 6 cities (including one inhabited only by a horde of tourists: I guess he let me down when he didn’t disappoint me) and made a cursory pass through another few. Much much less than I would have expected to have done by now.

Yet the miles I have been making in my head would span multiple continents…

A series of articles I read recently (including The courage to live consciously and How to defeat Kolrami) set me thinking (exactly the idea of the articles I am sure).

What if I didn’t have to worry about money? What if everything I did could be “for fun”. What would I change about my life, what would I keep the same?

Actually, I might very well do something very similar to what I was doing at the Rabobank. I love a good (intellectual) challenge, to be creative and to set up something new. I would do less of it though, 36 hours of work leaves too little time to do other things I would love to do. So, perhaps 24 hours? And I wouldn’t want to be doing just a single thing. I love starting up new things and dreaming up solutions far more than I enjoy implementing and finishing things. Finally, I would like to feel free to leave and do something else when I felt the time was ripe for it. That would probably mean less security for me, but I would actually be happy with that. Risk can be a good thing!

Next to that I would like to teach. A class, or even better, workshops. Don’t know in what though. Mathematics would be an easy choice, but I would rather do something that has more of an impact on the lives of people. Something to think about…

I would like to have extended periods of “free time”. One to three months, to travel, to really focus on improving a specific skill or skill-set, to volunteer, to just lounge about if that is my inclination.

And I would like to write more. I find that I immensely enjoy writing this blog and by now I have three books lined up in my head. Got to get those out at some point…

Finally, I would like never to have the feeling of “work” again. A few years ago I attended a talk about I think the new way of working. The content wasn’t the interesting part though. What I found extremely thought provoking (and thus can still remember years later) was that the guy who gave the talk didn’t get paid for it in the traditional sense. He gave the talk, and let the organizers decide afterwards what they thought the talk had been worth. Getting what you deserve, instead of getting what you negotiated for. I believe this would be extremely liberating!

Going back to reality, I feel that it might be possible to do the above without giving up a lot of my current lifestyle. Freelance consulting, workshops, writing, this might get me a decent income. And if push comes to shove I might even consider walking the catwalk a bit more 😉

So what is stopping me from trying to find all of the above? Nothing really. Myself perhaps? I believe that I have the courage to actually try to do this. I have money saved up for this trip, but I could also use that as a buffer to see how I far I get. That would mean cutting my trip short, but is that really such a big deal? I would rather try and fail than to never know what might have happened if I had dived into the deep end. I won’t be jumping on a plane back just yet, but I am truly considering doing this. After all, South American isn’t going anywhere, I can always go travel again. The world can wait…

Dec 242011

Pisco, Peru

Dollar signs (or perhaps more accurately, Euro signs)!

As I mentioned in a previous post (Abre los ojos (open your eyes)), I opened my eyes to the multitude of possibilities there are to live life and earn a living.

I recently moved this blog from its old location to this new one. This to have more control over content and lay-out.

Specifically, so I could put some adds on there.

Somehow, when I did that, I already had a feeling that I was doing something wrong…

I love to write and I really enjoy keeping you people up to date of my adventures and ideas. I love to share and give and perhaps to inspire. This in itself is rewarding to me.

Also, I really dislike advertisements. Whether they are commercials on TV (a very strong reason for me not to have a TV), bill-boards besides the road or ads on a webpage. Advertisements inspire greed in this world where the people who can afford the stuff being advertised already have more than they need. This was further strengthened by this short movie a friend of mine sent me:
The high price of materialism.
Do I want to be a part of that, in however which minor way?

And after some soul-searching, the answer was a very definite: No!

I loved my work at Rabobank because for the people there it was about interesting challenges and doing something well; earning a pay was important yet secondary. One of the things I disliked at Deloitte was that it was all about making money, sacrificing anything else that might come along.

I am looking for other ways to support myself than trading time-for-money in some job, but further polluting the internet does not seem like the way for me. So even though it was cool to see the first few dollars coming in, I decided that I would take the advertisements down again.

I guess I would rather by happy than rich…

The tile is a line from this Alanis Morissette song: Hand in my pocket

Dec 232011

Pisco, Peru

“What country are you from?” she dutifully asks. This in Spanish of course, god forbid that a trained nurse / doctor (I’m not entirely sure what I’ve got in front of me, a complete unwillingness to explain anything seems to be part of the standard procedure here) would be able to speak any English. Not that I feel like complaining that much, the needle that she is slowly unpacking is taking up most of my attention at the moment. Throw me in front of a hungry lion, put me in a crashing airplane, but please keep the needles away from me!

She actually awaits my answer before asking me what work I do or whether I am studying. They got the idea of bedside manners here, but are still somewhat removed from the actual implementation. She fidgets some more and wraps a piece of rubber around my upper arm. Time to look away folks…

As I wrote before (Thirst!), I haven’t been feeling my old super-duper self. Most acute symptoms had died off, but I was still feeling very tired, upset stomach, general malaise. So when this morning there was an announcement that a bunch of the PSF people were all headed off to the Cuban Hospital (called thus because it is run by voluntary Cuban doctors and PSF’s favourite place to go as 1) it’s cheap and 2) we helped build parts of it) to get tested, I decided that this was as good a time as any to get some certainty.

Arriving there you pay upon entry (obviously!), the shocking amount of 10 Soles, roughly 3 Euro. You do need to buy your own needle (which actually feels like a very good idea. Certain that it’s new and clean this way), across the road, for another Sol (40 cents). This in total gets you a grumpy old lady who jabs your own needle in your arm, gets you to write your name on a piece of paper, and puts a little jar of your blood on top of the piece of paper. A perfect filing system if I ever saw one! And given that there are only 10 gringos (foreigners) doing the same thing, how could they possibly mix anything up?!?

Not that it matters in the end: Everybody had typhoid! Whoohoo! I’m just more lucky than some though, I’ve got two different types…

So, this Christmas I will be spending merrily sober, on antibiotics. So let’s just stick with wishing for a happy new year!