Nathaniel is heading into the Peruvian highlands this week and we have a couple of photographs to share and an excerpt from his journal:
The night before leaving for this trip I had no idea what to expect. All I knew about Bolivia and Peru were through things I had been told or things I had read. Upon arriving, the truth about these places started becoming more clear. The beautiful environment coupled with diverse cities, very different from those I am used to, are perfect places to learn about the incredible culture and the world. What I found however, was that my most important learning experiences came from simple human interaction. During the family dinners in my Tiquipaya homestay I learned about rural Bolivian lifestyle. While talking to strangers in Cochabamba, Bolivia, I was told a childhood story of growing up in the city and how it has changed. And playing cards with my two homestay brothers late at night in Huacaria, I learned how tourism has drastically changed their jungle community and as a result their day to day life. My expectations of this trip have been both right and they have been wrong. The beautiful scenery has gone beyond what I had imagined and the experiences have been both interesting and rewarding. But the most important aspect of this trip was one that I never thought of and that was the people. Last night at the Brazil nut farm, we did a writing activity in which we had to narrow our personal culture down to three words. My three words were simple and prompted laughs. Although funny at first, the more I thought about them, the more I realized how meaningful they were to me. My words, “I like people” indicate how important other people are to me. Whether it is with the fifteen people I am traveling through these countries with or the amazing people we meet along the way, these interactions are the most meaningful experiences I have.