1,000 days later she understands that the greatest gift of all was not the chance to travel, but the chance to find life in a small town in the Northern Andes of Peru. The donkey races and pick-up soccer games. The lunch invitations that turned into hour hikes into the campo and all night parties. The process of culture shock and learning the art of enjoying alone time. The delicious new flavors and the custom of offering a meal to every visitor, even when you have no food to offer. Finding the human connection and the art of understanding foreign customs. Showering them with kindness and using love as a universal language. Turning the “fish bowl” into an opportunity to be an example, with the hopes of making a small change in life of someone somewhere, and at the same time knowing that she could not help everyone everywhere.
During my two years living in Peru I have witnessed one too many times, verbal abuse, expectations to be waited on hand and foot, expectations that the woman will take charge of the child’s every need, and many more examples of everyday machismo. That is why this Peruvian Profile goes out to the greatest Peruvian father I’ve ever met, Wilder, a change agent and example to his friends and extended family. The greatest part is that he doesn’t know it… He just does it.
Now 15 years later I am a 24 year old Peace Corps Volunteer, watching “We Remember” videos in Peru, still trying to process the day experienced by my 9 year old self. Trying to understand hate. Trying to understand war. Trying to do my part to bring some sort of light to this world. That is the best I can do. Remember all of the lives across the world that have been lost due to hate and do my part to share light with those that are still here. There is no processing, there is only remembering and doing better.
With the high school entrepreneurship class I started each day with the video project and they LOVED it! The class clown even tried to solicit a North American girlfriend. The video pen pals were a class of students in Washington D.C. who were studying Spanish, so we communicated entirely in Spanish. The Spanish teacher also happens to be a RPCV from the first group of volunteers who re-entered Peru! Due to privacy issues, I can’t make the US videos public but here are the ones from my students in Peru.
No Sleep Till Peace was started as a personal journal of my adventures in Peru, and surprisingly it has grown into a small community of almost 3,500 followers who have laughed, cried, and supported me and my Peruvian counterparts from afar.