A few weeks before leaving for my Kiva Fellowship in Peru, I went to a reception and screening of a movie called Soy Andina at the New York Times building. The director, Mitch Teplitsky, emailed me out of the blue after learning through Twitter from a friend, Hillmer Reyes, that I would be moving to Peru for several months.
I was somewhat ready for my work with Kiva/Arariwa, the amazingly nice people, the food, and the sights. But the movie introduced me to Peruvian dance and music and the many festivals, and made me so much more excited to move to Peru.
The photos on display at the Times Center, by Doug Klostermann (his photos on Flickr), vividly brought out lives of Peruvian people.
Last week I got to witness my first Peruvian holiday when traffic was diverted to the other side the main avenue in Cusco, La Cultura. The right side of the street was covered in colors and people were commemorating La Batalla de Angamos (translation courtesy of Google Translator). And the day before yesterday there was another celebration right outside my office, complete with brass band and Peruvian dances.
The connection I have to Hillmar, Mitch, and Soy Andina through Twitter is only one of many I have made through social media. Here are more examples:
Facebook – When I found out I was chosen as a Kiva Fellow, I first emailed my husband and my family. But soon after I posted a Facebook profile update saying I was excited about being a Kiva Fellow in Cusco, Peru. Instantaneously I got responses from friends telling me they had friends for me to meet, restaurants recommendations, places to visit, etc. It was an incredible outpouring of what we call “Kiva Love!”
Couchsurfing – I also joined the Cusco Group on Couchsurfing (a social media traveling site) and found a travel buddy for my first weekend to visit the Sacred Valley. From California, he is officially my best friend in Cusco. And through this group, several Peruvians in Cusco and surrounding towns have offered to meet up to show me around or teach my Peruvian cooking. I am already part of the New York and Brooklyn groups and have both hosted and couchsurfed with some awesome people who have now become good friends.
Kiva Communities and Lending Teams – I joined and posted on the Kiva New York Lending Team’s site that I would be representing our home town for Kiva in Cusco. Now I am part of that conversation too. And I plan to share with them the New Yorker’s eye view of Cusco (ie – the 4 train is more crowded than the combi I take to work everyday)
Ok, I could go on forever, but I’ll stop here. Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, Couchsurfing, Kiva Communities, etc…the power to connect through social media is incredible.
And to learn more about Soy Andina and learn about future screenings, please visit SoyAndina.com.
You can find me on the following social media communities:
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/lethalsheethal
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/sheethal
- Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/leapwork_lethalsheethal
- YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/LethalSheethal (videos coming soon!)
- Linked In: http://linkedin.com/sheethalshobowale
- Couchsurfing: http://www.couchsurfing.org/people/tokeethal (a mix of both mine and my husband’s names)