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Volunteer Abroad Lima, Peru

January 2nd, 2011

PERU | Sunday, 2 January 2011 | Views [397]

Hi Everyone!

Happy New Year! I hope everything has started off well for everyone. I just want to let everyone know that I am very thankful for all your birthday wishes. As many of you already know, I am currently volunteering in Peru. I attempted to make a video blog but it took forever to upload onto Facebook so I'll just stick with this and when I get back, I can show you the video :).

So let's recap: I got here December 31 at 12am. I left from LAX on December 30th (thank you Joey!) to Atlanta, Georgia. I was lucky enough to sit next to a sweet little old woman. She talked about the peaches in Georgia (that's for you Christine). She also talked about snow in Georgia which I thought was bizarre, but who knows, what if it does snow in Georgia. At the Atlanta airport, I got a little confused but thankfully I had a 3 hour layover which prevented me from being late to my flight. I took two trams and I had enough time to enjoy a nice ham sandwich :D.

From Georgia, I left to Peru which was about 6 hours long on the plane. There was a lot of turbulence and it scared me. I sat next to a nice, old Peruvian old woman who spoke to me in Spanish because she thought I was Peruvian (there are a lot of Asians in Peru, people of Japanese and Chinese descent populate some parts of Peru).

When I got to Peru, I stood in a super long line waiting for the Customs/Immigration unit to stamp my documents. After that was another long wait for my baggage. Then once I had my baggage, I exited the airport into a large open area with tons of people. I searched the crowd for someone who was holding a piece of paper with my name on it. I saw the sign with my name on it and headed toward the person holding it. I introduced myself and the both of us waited for two more volunteers. I was honestly glad to have two more volunteers (Allison and Katie from Washington) going in the same car back to the home stay with me since I was still feeling a little worried about the legitimacy of the organization despite researching it like crazy.

At the home stay, I got situated and rested. I met Abu (who is like everyone's grandma here) and Jaco (her kind daughter). The next day, I met the other volunteers. There's Christine (from New Jersey), Nan (China), Doug (Dallas), and Lauren (Dallas).They're all super nice and sweet. I feel very comfortable with everyone. We've become like a family. That day we went to a Girl's Shelter in the city. The girls here were either taken from their homes due to abuse, neglect, and/or sexual exploitation. It was nice to bond with them. We taught them English and they taught us Spanish. We also danced together and sang. When we left, the girls started to cry. They really wanted us to stay. It was really sad and I wanted to cry too. No one deserves abuse and violence. Everyone should be given the chance to be loved and cared for.

When we got home, the volunteers and I had lunch (man, Peruvian food is so delicious, I am going to get fat). After lunch, we all went to Mercado Central. Everyone was preparing the the New Year. In Peru, the New Year color is yellow and, supposedly, if you wear yellow underwear, it's considered lucky. I was able to buy some paintings from a street vendor. I bargained with him and got 20 soles (3 Peruvian soles = 1 dollar) off the the original total (kiss my bran!).

That night, the volunteers and I went to Mira Flores which is along the coast and is magnificently beautiful. There were lights everywhere and it was super crowded (I dislike being around large crowds at night time and I am definitely not a night person). Around midnight, there were fireworks and it was nice. I felt a little homesick and sad, but the volunteers cheered me up.

The next day (New Year's), we all went to the La Punta Negra (a beautiful beach). I got so sunburned. My face is so red. That night, the volunteers got me a cake, Abu sang to me and I felt very emotional, but special.

Today is Sunday and it is normally a rest day. I was supposed to go to church today but was caught up talking to someone very special on Skype. I'm so glad I finally have time to write this to update everyone. Know that I absolutely love it here despite the crazy drivers who drive recklessly and honk at people for no apparent reason. And over here, there is no such thing as yielding to pedestrians. Pedestrians must yield to cars. I think I could have died like 5 times already because of possible accidents. And it is so important to be careful over here. That's why volunteers are asked to not bring their valuables when we go volunteer in the slum areas. It turns out that some of the volunteers as well as the Peruvian staff have been mugged, pick pocketed, and some have even been robbed at gun point. I am definitely scared and I am definitely being careful because I would like to come back home in one piece to my loving family and friends. I will try to get pictures of the orphans and the slums, but please know that they may be very limited.

I miss you all very much and I will see you soon! Happy 1 day after the New Year everyone! <3

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