Read our first blog from our Peru June team! For the latest updates, be sure to follow our blog and social media – Facebook and Instagram!
Choosing to go on this phenomenal adventure was actually the hardest part. When my grandma told me our first month of summer would be spent doing hard work on the Amazon I wasn’t jumping out of my seat. Oh, then she said 80 hours of local community service were required before I could even go!!
Quite honestly, I was not in a great mood for the next couple of weeks. But, I wasn`t going to let my 70 year old grandma travel to the Amazon to do hard manual labor by herself! I honesty felt her life was in my hands. Little did I know how huge of an impact this experience would have on MY life.
When the time came, the first days traveling included a lot of waiting… and more waiting. Our flight was cancelled and customs… well, customs! When we finally arrived were welcomed to the Heliconia Lodge. The workers, the food, and the rooms are as wonderful as you would expect. Our rooms are cleaned every day. The food is all you can eat and the staff is very helpful and friendly.
We wasted no time. We got unpacked and headed to the boats, we arrived to the village and were greeted with a three-man band and plenty of smiles and waving. The journey from the boat dock all the way up a 100-yard flight of stairs is not an easy one, but it is satisfying. The people welcome us with many hugs, smiles and great pump up music every time we arrive. The days in the village are hard, hot and happy ones.
After the wonderful celebration of two cultures colliding we got straight to work cutting, teaching, painting, shoveling, lifting, and LOTS of sweating! When time permits, we play together and so far I have met lots of amigos.
We started out a little set back when we had to reschedule our flight, but we have been making up our lost work day by working hard and putting our whole heart into everything we do. On construction we have been cutting stairs out of the soil, mixing and pouring concrete and carrying bucket after bucket of dirt and water.
Our mural on the side of the elementary school is coming along very nicely too!! It has a rising sun and lots of creatures like dolphins, sloths and a puma. This is thanks to our amazing guide/artist Llyako. Our vocational committee has been hard at work helping the mothers develop skills like hair cutting and hammock weaving.
In education we have all been helping teach the kids lots of things in English and Spanish. Over time we have developed a good relationship with the kids and even playing tickle tag and volleyball with them in our spare time.
The medical committee has taught to the high school and occasionally helps with small injuries around the village. Last but not least our home visits have showed us how these people live day by day and we have seen and learned so much from them. The village people and our Youthlinc group have been so kind, loving, and funny and I am definitely dreading the day we have to leave.
Being here only five days I can tell my attitude is changing for the better. Watching these kids so happy the get a single glow stick… Or the woman’s faces lighting up when they learned they will be keeping the hammocks they weaved. It has really made me so much more grateful and much more humbled.
– Libby Petersen and CJ Gurr, 2017 Peru June Service Year Participants