Peru is much different than what I had expected. It seems to be a cross between Costa Rica, India, and Indonesia. The people there are nice and accommodating like in Indonesia. The country itself reminds me of Costa Rica, with the same style of buildings and almost the same type of scenery. Peru has the same feeling as India, a sense that everything is bustling, with places to go, things to do, and people to see. There is also a substantial amount of pollution, reminiscent of India as well.
We arrived in Cusco after a 27 hour travel day, and we were almost too tired to see the gargantuan sign bearing our names, carried by the girls from Peruvian Hearts, the organization we were helping. The sign was beautifully made, with blues, greens, and yellows, and popped out from the rest of the others. The girls were so nice, each telling us their stories and their plans for the future. We took them all to dinner, and we got to try Chifa. Chifa is Chinese-Peruvian fusion and it gives the best of both culinary worlds. I was jet lagged out of my mind and was too tired to eat much, but the fried rice with shrimp was stellar. In the morning, we got to take a tour of a few of the girls’ houses and we got to meet the rest of their families as well. Afterwards, we took a trip to an orphanage in the small city of Anta. It was there that my mother found love in the form of a little girl named Esmeralda. There were only three girls in the orphanage at the time, because most of the girls were gone on holiday. The moment Mom saw her, she was hooked. For many days afterward, we would hear her moan that she wanted to adopt her, and “Would you like a sister?” I declined. Before you go “But Cooper, you could have given her a much better life in Colorado and she would be so much happier,” I was not alone in this decision, as my father agreed. Frankly, I was proud to wake up in the morning and see the room did not have a little stowaway that my mother had stolen from the orphanage in the night. During our days in Urubamba, we got to tour the countryside and look at different Incan ruins. The Incans were very smart for their time. They did not use mortar in their houses, but they instead cut little indentations into the stone and matching protrusions on other stones to lock them into place. Overall, Peru is a place of wonders. I would be happy to return to Peru.