August 19, 2010
As I sit in my hotel room I think about how every time I vacation to a new exotic country, I feel as though I’m living in a surreal place. Sometimes it seems as though I don’t realize the true magnificence of my experience until much later... upon return... upon reflection... It is as if, I am living a dream; a beautiful dream where I explore wholeheartedly and experience truthfully.
The experience as a Developing World Connections Team Leader has given me a huge understanding and appreciation for the work and effort that other Team Leaders put into making a trip like this successful. When all the others are drinking Cervesas after dinner my mind rolls around budgets, numbers, planning and execution for the following day. This is a job people, don’t kid yourself.
However, having said that, I am extremely thankful for this job. I never said that a challenge wasn’t good. The reason I do new things, go new places, and learn is because I like challenges. I don’t think anything worth doing is ever easy. Great success comes from trauma, turmoil, and drama. And in the midst of all these things, there is so much joy... If you choose to see it.
What amazes me the most on every trip I take, is people. In my life, people around me are always telling me I trust too much, I give too much, and get screwed too much. But, every time I come to a foreign land, I am refreshed in my belief in people. People all over the planet, no matter their race, religion, culture, language, or ethnicity are basically the same. We are all striving to make our lives magnificent. And if we stop for a moment and reflect on our blessings, I think that in every culture, no matter our wealth or standing in society we can realize that our lives truly are as such...Magnificent, glorious, unbelievable, and amazing.
Having said this, let me tell you about my new friends. These are the friends and people that teach me so many more things than I could ever learn in any class or from any book. For me, life is truly about people. And our wow’ed experiences with people create the moments that make life worth living... nothing else.
First, our host partner in Huancayo Peru, Arguedianos has a host of employees. These people are the friendliest and most accommodating people I have ever met. They are so happy to greet us, feed us, take us on tours, plan excursions, party with us, and plan with us... I can tell that they are truly excited and happy to be with us; and rightfully so we are equally excited to spend time with them. Do you know how amazing it feels when you come to another country and you are welcomed by a personal tour guide with open arms? Just imagine, it’s pretty wild... It’s almost like I’ve always had these friends in Peru even though we certainly just got here. Our friends at Arguedianos have brought us lunches each day, cooked for us, danced with us, sang with and for us. I cannot express my thanks to these people, Jessie, Cristian, Nancy, Violeta & the rest of the gang...
Secondly, somehow along the way we met a Peruvian guy named Victor. I don’t really even know how we met a military journalist from Lima, but we did. I think it was Laura and Drew who originally randomly met Victor and made friends. Somehow though, serendipitously we had the pleasure of spending some time with him in Huancayo. His English was very good and this made for some entertaining nights with too many Pisco Sours down the hatch and just the right amount of Salsa and Merengue dancing to make you want just a little more... What amazed me about Victor was he truly cared for our safety even though we all had just met. It was like an instantaneous friendship... For example, he walked Nicole back to the hotel one late night when the rest of the gang wanted to stay late at the discoteck. Further, Victor always kept his eye on every individual in the group making sure we kept a close eye on our belongings and one another. If for even one brief moment someone from our group was out of sight, Victor would ask around and search them out to be sure they were always ok. He walked us home several nights, always encouraging the group to walk in the areas where light surrounded us... He shared stories about his heart being broken, his interesting job and his corny jokes. And not once did he ever do anything that appeared self centered, sleezy, or unkind.
These are the people that make life worth living...
DWC Team Leader