Over spring break, I went on the Peru Trip with 11 other Friends Seminary students. Travelling through Juliaca, Puno, Cusco, Puerto Maldonado, and Lima was an amazing experience. I had a great time getting to learn about and experience peruvian culture. The food was delicious, the people were kind and the landscape was beautiful. One of my favorite parts was the homestay, where I really got to learn about the modern day culture in Peru. Another great part of the trip was exploring the Amazon. While there we planted about 70 trees in two different local families. The trees were different fruit trees that once grown, will hopefully give the families another source of food and income. Both families were very welcoming and seemed grateful for our service. The first family offered us fresh grapefruits and coconuts afterwards and the second family (which was only one man) taught us how to use his bow and arrow. Both times, something that stood out to me about the culture was the family dynamic. Once the children get to be about 4 or 5, they live in Puerto Maldonado, the closest town, so that they can attend school. Normally they live with their mother and the father stays behind and works in the Amazon. In the first family we visited the father said that his daughter would be leaving next year, and in the second family, the father’s children had already gone. I also saw things like this on the Uros islands, and even in my homestay, where the father was almost never home since he worked as a tour guide in Machu Picchu. This makes me realize how much I take having both parents around for granted.
The Peru trip taught me many other things and was an unforgettable experience. I hope that I will get to learn about other cultures in the world and further open my mind to new experiences.