14 May Peru: In the beginning….
Posted at 16:26h in South AmericaAfter spending many hours on flights, participants walked into the Lima airport on Wednesday to find their leaders, among throngs of taxi drivers and hotel clerks, wielding a big orange sign that read simply, “Gringos”. The next morning, in our first encounter with public transportation, we took a 1 hour bus ride outside of Lima to Pachacutec, one of many slums that surround the city. An eye opening experience for many, we visited a school and three daycare centres there. In a shantytown of 80,000 people and their district simply labeled, ‘Block E’, these children were happier than any kid back home with a Playstation. We enjoyed the visit immensely, and the kids really enjoyed our muddled Spanish introductions to the class (Me llamo …es…?). Though inspiring, it was also a chance to critically analyze what we wanted to accomplish in our volunteer work here in Peru, and provoked interesting conversation that evening on the importance of sustainable, community-requested projects. Today was a bike adventure through three of Lima’s 42 colourful districts. An amazing local guide brought us all along the coastline, teaching about the history and culture of the area. After a quick stop at the historical Juanito’s bar in Barranco for the famous Jamon sandwiches, we continued on to ‘El Parque D’Amor’ (‘The Park of Love”) and will most likely (not) be included in the photo album of two local newlyweds.