The following are a few encounters that happened over the last few weeks, that I noted down in my journal and seem worth sharing:
Last Tuesday in Cusco, I was sitting in a square in the evening, and a little boy and girl came up to me. First, they asked whether I was a gringo (I thought this was quite obvious!), then wanted to know how to say random words in English (door, roof, teeth, etc.) The girl said one word in Spanish which I didn't understand, and got very frustrated when I couldn't tell her the translation! Still, when I left with another friend, she shouted after us Cuidense mucho! , which means "Take a lot of care!". Very sweet.
On a similar note, when we were in Huacachina, the group of us was mobbed by a horde of 1st year school students who had walked from Ica (several km through the sand). They were eager to know where we were from, what our names were, and to share our bottle of Coke. And, sadly but inevitably, to ask for some money. Still, like above, when we left there was a joyous shout of "Ciao!" from all of them, which was strangely heartwarming. (Apparently they write it "chau" here).
For all its annoyances and little difficulties, South America, or Peru at least, does seem to have a great interest in people. That fact alone makes the little difficulties easier to deal with.
Recent news: a new volunteer has arrived at my house, a girl from Portugal. She seems really nice, and as kind as my family are, it's great to have someone new to talk to.