The first leg of my journey is hours from completion. Peru down, Chile and Argentina to go. I packed my things in all of 10 minutes, with most of that time spent folding clothes. Sleep is unlikely to occur until the flight at 7:30 am because I leave for the airport in less than 2 hours. Here’s a wrap up of the last few weeks of my experience in Peru.
Work at Hogar de Cristo has been great. Most days there were spent working on the garden and hanging out with the special-needs orphans. I have had little interaction with the mentally disabled in my life, and the time spent at Hogar has given me the opportunity to do this. With school being on break, we also got to spend more time with the children and teenagers that live at Hogar. Soccer, in particular, has been our favorite activity. The sport has proven this summer to be a bridge between me and people who don’t speak my language and live in a very different situation. From the homeless in Gaza to the orphans and children of Peruvian slums, football (soccer) has connected me to people with whom I normally would share nothing in common. I’ve realized that if I intend on living in any other country or working with the poorer half of the world, I need to familiarize myself with the sport of the masses. And maybe pick up a move or two.
I was able to get away for a weekend to Huancayo, a city nestled in the Central Andes just 7 hours from Lima. Another volunteer, Jeff, accompanied me on this excursion that took us from the bustling streets of this commercial town to the beautiful surrounding hillsides. It was nice to get out of Lima for a bit to explore another part of the country. We met some great people from all over the world and really enjoyed the trip.
If there is one thing I have learned from all the traveling this summer, it is that the people you meet are just as much part of the experience as the place itself. Peru has lots of amazing things to see, and I was lucky enough to experience many of them. But all of the people I have met have really made this trip what it is. Volunteers, orphans, the children in Pachacutec, the host family, Peruvians at clubs, world travelers at hostels – hard to describe the value in meeting all these different people. This country has treated me well, and I am hoping Chile will do the same!