A few other notes about staging/arriving in Peru, first week with the family:
1) Total baggage weighed in around 70lbs, but didn’t feel that bad. Especially considering I had to hike around Baltimore/DC with them for an extended period.
2) Boots were a good choice, especially since I’m going up the giant hill every day. A couple volunteers have Chaco style sandals, trail running shoes or even just tennis shoes as well. Flips flops aren’t worn outside of the house.
3) Language: every volunteer has a different level of Spanish and even then different abilities. We have a few native speakers in our training group, but a wide range from advanced to beginner. So don’t worry too much about language level, as there’s a wide range…and everyone is living with a family and at the very least getting by so you’ll most likely be all right.
4) The community I’m living in is very close knit, and while they’ve been hosting trainees for a while, each family loves having trainees living and visiting their house. I can’t tell you how many pieces of cake I’ve had at someone else’s house.
5) Internet cafes are within walking distance for any trainee in the neighborhood (a few trainees have internet in their house as well). Calling cards can be purchased on the cheap (around $2-3 for around an hour to the USA), and can be used at the family house if they have a landline. So staying in touch is very possible during training, but I’ve been offline for over a week and haven’t really felt that big of a compulsion to check Facebook