Honors Summer Snapshots: Abby

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Instead of doing “traditional” blog posts this summer, Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their summer routines via photos. Abby Nass is living her dream in Peru:

Photo 1

Why hello, all of you gorgeous honors students. I’m Abby Nass and I’ve been given the super amazing opportunity to do some water quality work in Urubamba, Peru for four weeks. When I first wake up in the morning, in this lovely foreign land, I walk out of my room and see THIS BEAUTIFUL VIEW. Can we just take a second and soak it in? I’m living with a Peruvian host family and they have one of the most beautiful homes I’ve ever seen.


Photo 2

After I eat breakfast and get ready for the day, I walk to the office. Urubamba is located in Peru’s Sacred Valley, so it’s surrounded by the Andes Mountains. It’s incredibly beautiful no matter what direction you look and it’s a view that never gets old.


Photo 3

When I’m at the office, I do a few different things. Most of the time, I’m creating the ceramic water filters that we distribute to communities near Urubamba. This handy-dandy little guy is the mold that we use to press the clay into the shape we need.


Photo 4

This is a ceramic filter immediately after being pressed in the mold. Obviously it can’t go into the kiln with all of those ridiculous cracks in it, so clearly this is a job for A PERFECTION-ORIENTED HONORS STUDENT!!


Photo 5

Oh wow. Look how perfect it is. I’m not saying it’s a masterpiece, but the Guggenheim has already made an offer. Perfectionism pays off, kids.


Photo 6

After we finished some filters, we loaded them on a truck to take to the kiln at my boss’ house. Fifty ceramic pots fit inside and it take about two days for the first round of the firing process to finish. Once these filters are finished and cool off, we’ll take them out, coat them in some mineral-thing (clearly I know this process really well), and then fire them again.


Photo 7

FINALLY AT ONE O’CLOCK I get to go home and have lunch. My host mom took me out to get some ceviche, a spicy seafood dish that’s probably the greatest thing since cheese pizza. I had some Inca Kola with it and felt like an authentic Peruvian! Until I realized I’m super white and can’t handle spicy food without crying, sweating, and blowing my nose like every two seconds. Lunch is the big meal in Peru, so during the day we get a two hour break from 1-3. I usually take a nap after I finish my meal…it’s basically a perfect arrangement.


Photo 8

After lunch, I went to Arin (a community near Urubamba) to interview families that have been using the filters for a couple of months. I ask them questions about their health and their experience with the filter. This is the house I spent the most time in – I needed to reexplain how to clean the filter, the benefits of actually using it, and what to do if it breaks.


Photo 9

Yeah, the Peruvians welcome guests into their homes by giving them food – I’ve never eaten so much in my life. And to be perfectly honest, I have no idea what most of it is.


Photo 10

I WAS TALKING TO THIS GIRL ABOUT HER LIFE AND THEN ASKED TO TAKE A SELFIE WITH HER AND SHE LITERALLY MADE ME PAY HER ONE NUEVO SOL. This has been a day full of learning. Never ask people in authentic Peruvian clothing to take a picture with you – eventually you’ll go broke.


Photo 11

Okay, so this isn’t a part of my daily routine, but I’m obsessed with the terracing that the Incas created to farm efficiently. They literally built their own soil horizons for each level. AGRICULTURE IS SO COOL.


Photo 12

It’s a blast here. Me encanta Perú y español.


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