Thursday, March 20, 2014

Greetings From Peru!

Photo by Robert Mooney
Hola a todos! Estoy en Peru!!!

Oh. My. God. After almost a year of traveling, I have arrived at the LAST country on my agenda. I almost can't believe it. I don't want to believe it. I don't want it to end :(

OK no. No drama. Not time for that yet.


Let's talk about Peru!

My main purpose for visiting this country was Machu Picchu. It's one of those things I felt like I HAD to visit. I mean, wouldn't you want to?
So... having both Machu Picchu and Carnival in mind as I was planning my South American leg, I tried to figure out what I could do and where I could stay in Peru, Brazil, and all the other countries in between.

With my godmother, Amy :)

It's lucky that my high school chemistry teacher (who also happens to be my godmother), lives in Lima. I contacted her, asked if I could crash with her while I was in Peru, and all was set!

May I just say that with what I've seen so far in the week I've been here --- I feel like I'm back in The Philippines. EVERYTHING here reminds me of my country. I even LOOK Peruvian. South America in general reminds me so much of home, but Peru out of all the countries I've visited is the most similar to The Philippines. It's great!!! I fit right in!

Oh... and one more thing.

The food is AMAAAAAZING!!! Totally underrated. Sooo good. SOOO good.

Dunno what this is called but it was SOOO good!


While I was traveling through Greece, I had a chance encounter with this great girl, Sophie, who upon learning that I had a teaching background and that I volunteer a lot while I travel, suggested that I apply for this organization called The Light and Leadership Initiative (LLI) in Peru. She volunteered there herself, swears by it, and said I would have the best, most rewarding experience over there. I was intrigued, so I checked it out!

LLI is a non profit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of education in Huaycan, Peru, for the benefit of the women and children who reside there.

"Through workshops and classes, women are empowered to better care for themselves and their families by improving both their physical and emotional well being, as well as advancing their skills in the workforce. Children are offered similar opportunities and learn the value of education and respect for one's community."
The organization hires interns and accepts volunteers all year round, and the main task, really, is to teach the children English after school. They do tutoring as well, teach art, as well as physical education.

Teaching English to kids really appealed to me... I guess because I missed being in the classroom. I worked as a trainer for 10 years and I always enjoyed the classroom aspect of it. Plus I really believed in the organization's cause, and admired the founders for their passion for helping Huaycan. I applied for the volunteer position... and after a couple months of figuring out the schedule, it was decided that I was going to help teach English for a month, from March 17 to April 17. AND HERE I AM NOW!!!

(*Photos were taken from the LLI webpage)
I start leading a class tomorrow, so there's really not much to report about it yet... But after having been here for a few days, I can already tell I'm going to enjoy it! I am sharing a house with about 8 other volunteers and interns, and they are honestly the nicest and kindest do-gooders you'll ever meet in your life. I suppose this kind of work attracts a certain kind of people... and I'm grateful for them, because I'm staying here for a month... and it would be amazing to just be surrounded by positivity and good vibes the whole time :) I'll have more to report on this next week.

The LLI Crew :)


One other thing that I plan to do here in Peru is the Ayahuasca Retreat.



It's basically a psychedelic brew of the Amazon region, known for its hallucinogenic properties. People go on Ayahuasca Retreats (Shamanism) to drink the brew in the hopes of curing their drug addiction, alcoholism or depression. People like me who do not fall under any of those categories, go for a more Spiritual purpose. It has been said that when you take the Ayahuasca brew, you undergo some sort of mind-altering/spiritual experience. Some call it "seeing God", some encounter the divinity within themselves, and some say they just see things clearly... like everything just makes sense.

I don't know exactly what I want to achieve from this... but I just feel like ever since I got to South America, I kept encountering people who bring it up in conversation... and I've NEVER heard of this before I got here. They say Peru is where it is mostly done --- and it just so happens that my last stop on this trip is Peru... So I feel like maybe the Universe is trying to give me signs. I don't believe in coincidences anymore... so this HAS to mean something, right?
I'm definitely intrigued, and I'm doing a ton of research on it. I am in the process of finding a Shaman who can perform this ritual for me --- and if you guys know anyone, please let me know! I will talk more about this in detail on a separate post. :)

Teaching English to Kids, Machu Picchu, Ayahuasca. This is definitely going to be an interesting month. ;)