A Report from Team Peru

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

Michael Atlas, Study Tour participant

IMG_2124Bear with me as I try to describe the amazing experience that Team Peru embarked on earlier this week. It started off with a flight into the city of Lima, and from there the adventure began. We soon traveled into the beautiful, mountainous, Ayacucho, where we were blessed to be given a look into the people, places, and cultures of the Andes. Each day started with a long morning drive to the city of Tambo, and from there we travelled to each ADP community. We visited houses, schools, sat in on lessons, watched demonstrations, and both saw and learned more than we could remember. We tried new foods, met new people, and travelled to places we’d never imagined.

Food is a huge part of culture to the Andean/Quechuan people, and it’s very different than it is here in the States. While we were there we tried a large variety of different Peruvian foods. Corn is a huge staple, and there was plenty of it; a lot of restaurants served different types of dried corn kernels before meals, and a school we visited snacked on some during class. There were also plenty of meats served, like chicken, pork, and especially guinea pig! I had my first experience with guinea pig (or cuy as they call it) at the first community we visited. They served us a feast of roasted chicken, lamb and corn soup, and most memorably, some fried cuy leg. It was all delicious, (although cuy isn’t really my personal favorite). Lastly, there is one thing we were served almost everywhere we went, Chicha, a drink derived from purple corn. It was literally drunken everywhere and in each area it had a slightly different taste. Everything we ate was spectacular, but just one small part of our amazing trip.

The Andes are a beautiful place, with mountains stretching out as far as the eyes can see. Ayacucho is also just as awe-inspiring, but the majority of our trip took place two hours away near the city of Tambo. Everyday started the same, a scenic drive to Tambo, and from there to the community. The villages we visited were all relatively small, and mainly comprised of humble homes and huts tucked away into the mountains. Each village was surrounded by farm fields (or guinea pig pens!) The houses within the village we visited consisted of three rooms, a living room, bedroom, and child space. Outside, around the house, was the kitchen/storeroom and the bathroom. Inside, the families had plenty of hand crafted, beautiful blankets, not to mention posters of world vision and their own personal goals on the wall (this part touched me the most). The schools we visited were interesting too. Although the building wasn’t as it is in the U.S, the classrooms were decorated with colorful work from the students, just like home.

There was so much to take in on our journey, and we were so lucky to get to see it all.

IMG_2081Out of every single thing we saw, I was most impressed by the people we met. Everyone we met at the communities was so kind and sweet, Each day we’d enter a new village or project to be greeted with signs and cheers and flowers (lots of flowers!), and everyone would shower us with hugs. The people were all so generous, first for letting us look into their lives, second for all that they gave us. Those people gave the little they had to us; they fed us feasts and brought us gifts! Another thing I noticed in each community was how proud everyone was; as they showed us their houses and how they educated their children, they spoke with a great amount of pride. We visited multiple schools as well on our visit, and the energy and enthusiasm the students had for learning was stronger than it is here. Every kid in that classroom was alert and part of the lesson. We watched one adorable lesson where one student read aloud a familiar story, and if he made a mistake the rest would call him/her out. He ended up making mistakes on purpose, in order to check if his classmates were paying attention. What I was most impressed with though, was the people’s complete and utter love for God. Every village we visited showed us their church (the biggest and nicest building, by the way), and one home we visited had a small church even built into the back. Even in their situation, they dedicate their lives to God, and thank him for all they have. It’s almost as if their circumstances have worked to strengthen their faith.

The entire trip was awe-inspiring, eye-opening, and simply amazing. Everything that we saw and everything that we experience will stick with us forever, and I have so many people to thank. Firstly, I’d like to thank all the wonderful World Vision Peru staff, they were with us every step of the way in Peru, and helped us to experience and learn so much. Also, I’d like to thank our World Vision team leaders for getting us through Peru and keeping us safe and well. Lastly, I’d like to thank my team, each one of them contributed to our group personality. Over the short time we had we grew into a family, and I couldn’t think of doing this with anyone else. I, as well as the rest of us, were so blessed by God to be able to make this journey, and I know none of us took it for granted. It was the experience of a lifetime, and I’m so glad to have been part of it.