Peruvians Are Loves
First 24 hours south of the Equator…Day 1, Peru.
I forgot kids sell goods on the street. I forgot running water, toilets, warm showers, and safe drinking water are amenities. I forgot that some have dirt sidewalks and only torn shoes. I forgot that people with less, sometimes have so much more…
I realized dirt does not smell, and kindness is universal. I was reminded my tolerance for cleanliness is not the way it stands around the Globe. Exploring off the beaten path, I meandered through a market where tourists might not find themselves. I had instant gag reflex when a woman hacked off a chickens head. Meat and produce lay out in the heat, lacking sanitation I am accustomed.
A mans ingenuity pumped a foot pedal, which turned a wheel to sharpen a blade. Peruvians are cute, bundled in September in warm jackets and hats. Children chased each other with big laughter and uniforms. Men worked on cars, their office space; the dirt between the sidewalk and street. Vehicles pass abruptly, and bars cross vacant shops and window panes.
I saw dirt poor today, but smiles from locals, and their warmth rate higher than infrastructure, shiny stores and sidewalks.
I explored via foot, resting on a park bench, admittedly lost. A local woman in a blue jacket came by and starting speaking rapid Spanish. I smiled and said what I could, as in 5 words I remember from High School Spanish. She started laughing at me, and gestured to the sky. She rehearsed an entire skit. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud, wondering what she was saying. Through our charades and smiles we both discovered I was lost, and she wanted to help. She said she would have her Amiga translate. I smiled leaving the bench, and followed her to her friends door. Four dogs surrounded us in the street barking. It was 0930, I was embarrassed creating a scene in this quiet neighborhood.They spoke a few words, then the woman in blue whisked me off to her Casa, and went inside for her wallet. Upon her return, I asked if I could take her photo. She played with her hair, motioning she had been asleep. She had me belly laughing as she prepped herself for a picture. She motioned to have it taken next to a wooden structure, that I assume was her product. She walked me to a pay phone, called my hostel, walked me to the correct street, to the correct bus stop and flagged down the correct bus. She not only did all this, but she rode the bus with me, and if that wasn’t enough, walked me to the doorstep of my hostel. She wouldn’t take any Soles in return, it was so much to take in…I was in complete disbelief, and filled with gratitude. She wrote her address and asked for mine. We discovered both our names are Jenny, hers spelled, Jenni. We exploded like teenage girls at a rock concert, laughing, hugging and yelling “Jenni!!!” I checked into my hostel with an overflowing heart. Jenni had walked outside to buy bread, and found me. I must have looked like a lost Llama, but what a heart, Jenni of Calloa, Peru has…I came here to volunteer and help others, but it was I who was helped and cared for first…