Hola mis amigos de SIA! My name is Nicki and I had the opportunity to travel to Peru on the May 2012 SIA trip. It was definitely one of the most uplifting and life changing experiences of my life. My eyes have been opened and those that I encountered on my travels have filled my heart with much joy. One of my professors would often share this quote with my class about her passion for travel: “Eyes that travel see’. After going on this trip, I can now understand the meaning of this quote; I have now seen the world in a completely different and invigorating way.
I have been home now for one month and I have to admit, it has been a hard time adjusting. It took me a while to see any of my friends and I felt like my family couldn’t really understand what I had gone through. I knew they were happy for me, but they just didn’t see what I saw. I missed the kids of Pronei Daycare, Juan Pablo and Cristo Rey schools, and their smiling faces and infectious laughs. I missed the Peruvian SIA team, and the insightful conversations we had about their culture and lifestyle. I missed my fellow volunteers and the relationships we had built. For two weeks we were thrust into a whirlwind of adventure. And then just like that, it was over. I came home and everything felt foreign to me. It felt weird to use a computer, driving a car felt strange and I know I wasn’t the only one who kept forgetting that we could actually flush the toilet paper! Crazy that two weeks away from a normal routine can do that to someone.
One of the biggest things I have learned from my time in Peru is appreciation. Appreciation for the things I have and the people I love. I know this was a huge topic during our nightly discussions at the retreat house. I am so grateful to the people of Peru for teaching me what it is to be part of a family and a member of the community. I envy their sense of pride and dedication to helping each other get through tough times. I experienced this on one of my favourite days in Pacifico de Villa on my first day of volunteer placements. After a fire had destroyed a family’s home, it was their neighbors and friends that rushed to their side as soon as it happened. Their sense of pride and eagerness to learn, teach and contribute to the well being of others should be admired.
I think about my time spent in Peru everyday. I find myself scrolling through the pictures reminiscing over and over, until my parents walk in and say, “Are you looking through those pictures again?!”. An experience like this will never leave you. I believe that it will stay with someone forever and impact their choices whether they realize it or not. Like I said before-life changing.
Te Amo Peru y SIA!
I miss you Corndoughs everyday!
Nicki helping out at the daycare on the day of the community fair, May 2012