Not sure if it was mild altitude sickness, or just the desire to experience the awesomeness of Cusco, but today started for me at about 4:30am.
I ran a big bath, and planned the day ahead.
Thanks to Karma and friendship I managed to get in contact with an amazing woman who works for an NGO that helps place volunteers in safe and effective projects around the world.
This amazing woman has a particular soft spot for Peru – particularly for Cusco – and has many friends here and she got me in touch with one of them. The man she put me in touch with helps run an amazing initiative here in the Cusco area. Peruvian Promise, or Peruvian Hearts as it is sometimes called, gives support and scholarships to exceptional young women from poor or severely disadvantaged backgrounds.
You educate a man; you educate a man. Educate a woman; you educate a whole generation – Brigham Young
He also helps to support and rally for a local girl’s orphanage which I had the pleasure of stopping in to visit yesterday. I was particularly impressed with the Sister who is running the show. She was on the phone with the shuttle driver screwing him down to practically nothing to take the group of 7 pre-med University students who were volunteering at her orphanage. Very impressed by her skills.
So today was spent running around Cusco to gather some supplies for the 21 scholarship girls involved with Peruvian Promise. I learned A LOT about being patient and I basically lost my shit about three times because my Spanish is appalling and nothing, I mean NOTHING happens with any sort of precision or timeliness here. In hindsight I acted like a right douche, but we got there in the end. After half a dozen stops, three Dee meltdowns and numerous other small hiccups we managed to locate and purchase stationary and hygiene supplies for 21 beautiful and promising young Peruvian women.
We were joined by my friend’s BEAUTIFUL (think that super hot latino chick from the show Modern Family) wife – who was as warm, and friendly and patient (with me and my meltdowns) as she was stunning.
Here is a picture of my host and our hard fought booty that will all be distributed to the girls
After our shopping adventure, I came back to the hotel to rest and have lunch and wait for my wandering Hobbit husband to return from his group tour to some terraces outside of the city.
In yet ANOTHER massive juxtaposition – I sat in a monstrous King sized bed, in one of the most heavenly hotels I have ever had the pleasure of staying at – and I thought about these girls, and the MILLIONS of people in the world who struggle and toil against great odds. And I felt like a pretty massive douche bag.
Then I thought:
If everyone. I mean EVERYONE who ever went anywhere or even while they were at home, did what they could to help the people around them – kinda like what we try and do wherever we go and also while we are home, then things would be very different.
Then I felt slightly less like a douche-bag and decided to go downstairs for some lunch. Which was amazing.
Husband came back while I was out shopping for gifts and souvenirs.
I told him how much he spent, I told him about my day, and he was not surprised or bothered by either of these things.
I Love that man.
So after his bout of altitude sickness and a pretty rough day, he decided to go for a massage (which cost about $15.00 for an hour BTW) while I collected our laundry and got ready for our dinner date.
Our dinner date will stick with me as one of the best nights of my life for as long as I live.
All 7 American volunteers, and 21 Scholarship girls, and a young man who had three sisters go through the orphanage and one sister in the Peruvian Promise project, and a gorgeous little man about the same age as my son CAME OUT TO HAVE PIZZA WITH US!
Here is a picture of Steve meeting the girls as we arrived at the restaurant:
They bought me flowers and hugged me like we were sisters our whole lives, and I had to sneak out as soon a we had finished eating as I was about to burst into tears and feared they may not understand that this crazy Caniwi Hobbit is just nutty, and take that show of emotion as something frightful or out of place.
I can’t explain to you how joyful, beautiful, happy, welcoming and perfect these girls actually were. AND FUNNY! My Spanish is not great, and although their english was better, we could hardly have a conversation, but they gave it a great shot and laughed and giggled and snickered along with me and my sweeping arm gestures and bad charade playing attempts to communicate with them.
I’ll wrap this up now, as I fear I have lost your interest because this is such a long post.
Today taught me and showed me so much, not the least of which is that I am luckier and more blessed than my wildest dreams could ever have foretold, to be half of a team that has the means and the desire to do awesome stuff like this while we travel. It also taught me that doing something FEELS AWESOME! No matter how tiny or grand the gesture, reaching out to other people, even with a smile or a kind nod if that is all you can spare – well, it is perfection.
Thanks to all of you who suffered through this post. Here’s a couple of final pictures of tonight’s dinner, and the beautiful flowers they gave to me.
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