Gotta soak in every moment

Gotta soak in every moment

So, I have been in Peru for about two weeks now, but it feels like much longer. The rooster outside is starting to feel like the family dog, and I´d wayyy rather have condiments out of a bag. I also can´t imagine driving in anything other than a tuk tuk, or ever down a street that has lanes.  As a group we are coming together like a family, sharing experiences that only the fourteen of us will truly understand. Everyone is more than ready to begin the hard work necessary to make a difference in El Porvenir, and after last night I think we all realize that we already have made a difference.  Our first full day in Iquitos we visited the small community and got familiar with where we will be working.  We also got to meet the many awesome members of Kallpa, and were able to meet many of the adorable children that will be working with us.  In the afternoon, we were surprised by Jonah and Laura in Ninja Turtle costumes informing us of the scavenger hunt around Iquitos that we would be doing in teams in order to learn our way around this amazing place.  We got into costume and were off for the next six hours exploring, chasing gringos, finding the answers to preguntas about Peru, and taking ridiculous pictures.  My team encountered a baby alligator, which made its way on top of Kate´s head…a boat-themed restaurant that dug out some of their ancient artifacts for the sake of our hunt, a German couple from Taiwan in an authentic Texan place where we saddled up with cowgirl hats and all, and even found our way behind a bar to find Canadian maple syrup that the workers never knew existed. It was easily one of our greatest adventures yet. Every team learned how many kinds of potatoes exist in Peru, and that we have some talented singers, rappers, beat boxers, and bedtime story tellers within the group.  I think we all have so much we can learn from one another, and I feel so lucky that I am able to be here.  Yesterday I was able to see the bulldozers and dump trucks kick-off the transformation of the future park, had my first experience doing laundry in buckets, and learned that without a phone, internet, any idea what street you live on, what district its in, or the name of your hostel, or an umbrella, you can find your way home.  Last night we headed back to El Porvenir for a meeting with the entire community.  We met so many appreciative people, young and old.  We were able to teach everyone the game of WA and everyone participated, despite the language barrier…anyone can say WA. Afterwards we played tunnel tag, learned some new handshakes, and the little girls taught us a clapping game that may or may not cause you to fall over by the end.  Everyone wanted a picture with Amedeo. I received my second drawing of a toucan from my little buddy Junior.  He is quite the aspiring artist. I never stopped laughing and it made me so happy to see all of the community with huge smiles.  I think it´s safe to say we never wanted to leave.  We are now part of El Porvenir. I feel an overwhelming motivation and commitment to do everything I can for these amazing people in the short time that we are here.  I believe they will change our lives just as much as we will theirs.

Ashley

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