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It would be an injustice to describe my time in Lima, Peru. The experience was absolutely extraordinary and I’m really out of words to convey how much fun Peru was, and how much I grew as a person. But I’ll try!

Alternative Spring Break (ASB) in Peru was literally the best thing that has ever happened to me. I had such a fantastic time serving the people of Peru and getting to know some of the Campus Ministry folk. Shoveling dirt, moving rocks, and getting dirty in ninety-degree weather was worth it knowing that I helped complete strangers. Practicing my Spanish was fun too since I have been void from a Spanish class since high school (which was nine months ago, eh).

I’ve discovered a whole new part of myself that I didn’t even know existed in just one week: how much I actually like service. Most of my work was centered around advocacy and fundraising, so this physical interaction was a little different. Anyways, I really didn’t care much about how much rocks we had to move, how meticulous we had to be about the water we drank, how hot and dry the climate was, or how much dirt I had to shovel; the work was so much more rewarding and 110% made those complaints seem so minuscule. I want to get more involved within [interactive] service in the future because it is so worth knowing how you just helped a brother out.

Oh and as a side note, Peru reminds me of Philippines so much. Barely anyone obeys red lights, no one wears seatbelts, its hot, and everyone is Catholic. I remember how I told everyone that if I were to wake up the next day, I would have thought I was in the Philippines. The only difference was the language (which if you know Filipino history, isn’t too far off from the Spanish language) and I didn’t see one tarantula (PHEW.) But the weirdest thing was the tricycles! I thought Philippines was the only country that had these little guys (or some sort of variation), but I guess not.

This is a Filipino tricycle

Peruvian buggie thingy

But as a disclaimer, I’m not saying that I’m a complete saint now and extremely changed a person’s life. They need more and more, and I’m not going to stop now that spring break is over. I want to make service a part of my life because 1.) I thoroughly and genuinely enjoy it, and 2.) it makes others happy, and that’s important to me.

My favorite part would have to be the kids. They were a reminder of how awesome service work is. We worked because we knew that it would help them in some way or another. It was also interesting how they acknowledged my poor Spanish skills and were patient enough to work with me.

Anyways, back to what we actually did. First off, we stayed in the fantastic home of Jorgé and Yolanda. These two were gracious enough to let us in their loving home and since Jorgé was a chef, feed us college kids [gourmet] Peruvian dishes. They have a granddaughter named Michelle who helped us along the way, whether it was in translating or being a great friend.

We played sports with some teenagers in a school and some yard work in churches as our service part. The church near our home gave us a warm welcome by singing to us saying things like, “Thank you God for sending them” or something. It was really touching knowing how much we were appreciated.

But the most interesting thing about this trip I think was how much I grew more in tune with my religion. I wasn’t really expecting God to play a huge part during this trip (I really didn’t know why, even though it was sponsored by CMA) but He did, through our service leaders. I would like to get more involved within CMA in the future.

They service work, museums, people, CMA group members, catacombs, and food, I had an outstanding time. I wouldn’t mind skipping this week just to go back and work some more because the experience was that influential. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next years ASB!

PS as a side note, there was supposed to be a wave that supposedly hit Lima after the tsunami in Japan. I don’t know what happened to it but it would have made a killer wave to surf.