There has been a talk of going to Lima again this year since our last trip to the city in last July. We were a perfect team of 29 people and call ourselves Peru Warriors. When I decided to join the team, I thought I committed only a week in the foreign country, Peru. I was wrong. The week was only a tip of an iceberg. My job was to help the team leader organize the team, its program and schedule. A weekly meeting was required for four months and each member had own duty. For me, to name a few, I had to collect bio information of the team members including from passport number and nationality to shirt size, send weekly notifications and sometimes call the members who don’t respond to my emails. 29 people were not a small group. I know many others had to spend more personal time for this mission trip. One great thing about our team was a perfect harmony. Nobody complained about their workload. Everyone was voluntarily involved in any task that gets the mission trip preparation going smoothly, not to mention that the mission trip itself was voluntary. Our team work couldn’t be found anywhere else if I dare to say.
To my eyes, Lima, the capital city of Peru, was suffering from high cost of living due to unstable economy and severe air pollution due to car emissions. I’ve heard South America is a huge used-car market and I have no doubt after seeing all the cars emitting gases. Our team arrived in Lima at night, and all of us suffered from breathing throught the air, about which I shouldn’t complain as the Lima residents breathe through the air for 365 days. On the next day, the color of the city was a bigger surprise. It was covered with dust. The trees lost their green color and looked grey. A bad combination of air pollution and not enough precipitation. I wished pouring rains washed the greyness away.
Even though the city’s first impression was not so good in my eyes that are comfortably used to the rich US, the people I met were great. People are people. We are no different. Expecially, the children showed a great deal of affection on me, yes, I mean,us. In order to save money, our flight made two stops, Orlando and Panama City. Once we boarded on the plane to Panama City, it was all Spanish. And the Peruvian children kept asking in Spanish – of course they do, and I kept saying ‘Pardon, Yo no se espanol.’ This should have been my weekly photo challenge on ‘regret’. I regretted that I didn’t learn the basic Spanish.
The Peruvians consume enormous amounts of chicken (Pollo) and potatoes (Papa), the two Spanish words I won’t forget. Oh, there is one more word, leche (milk), which I proudly noticed in Puss in Boots. Right in front of our church, there was a lively small market, which was full of pollos and papas. It was fun, looking around the small market and using my very imperfect Spanish mixed with my less imperfect English while I was running errands. Walking through the market brought me back my old memories in Korea. Close to my elementary school, there was a market to where I used to run to find the day’s snacks, among which were junk foods. I was too old to munch on a junk food in the Peruvian market, but it was certainly fun to hang around there.
Going back to the beginning of the posting, I won’t probably go to Lima again this year as I have other plans. But on a second thought, it would be nice to see the children again.