August 3, 2011
Well, we landed about 15 minutes after the last blog entry. Now, Peru Air only flies to and from Cusco to Lima, and the flight is only one hour. Yet somehow they LOST OUR LUGGAGE! Oh man, Dusty almost lost it. Anyway, I had to take Dylan to the hotel to meet his Lunahuana group, so Alex was going to grab his luggage later (supposed to be on the next flight) and we took off. We had a great chat on the way there and I said goodbye. I hope he has a great final week in Peru. I saw his new group and realized that I would not be working with teenagers from the US until March. There is definitely a little sadness there.
I got to know the Yanina at the front desk of the hotel while waiting for a taxi back to the hotel. My driver was a cool guy and he asked me about what I was doing in Peru. I explained what I was doing, and he asked me “Why?”. I tried to explain how I thought it was a good thing to educate everyone, especially young women who had no access to education after 6th grade. I also explained how I wanted to connect my students and community back home to what life is like down here. Then he asked, “Why a motorcycle? Es peligroso. (dangerous)”. This one was a little tougher. I started with the quote from the Motorcycle Diaries, “Let the World Change You, so You Can Change the World”. He asked me to teach it to him in English. We then had a little chat about Che, and he did a great job of correcting my numerous mistakes while trying to speak. I also tried to explain to him about my personal quote for this trip. “I don’t want to die, but I do want to live.” If you read it carefully it should make sense. I know it is dangerous, but the fear of going through life without fully experiencing the beauty of people and the Earth trumps the safety and comfort of my own life back home.
Anyway, back at the airport spirits were low. Alex was killing himself trying to rebook over 20 flights, get the money from Peru Airlines, and work with United. The kids had little information and were sick of airports. So luckily Peru Air bought us a van and a driver and said we could go anywhere in the city. Cool. I’ve always kind of wanted to check out Lima. We dropped off Molly and a representative at the United office and the final eight of us (Dusty and David had flights) set off. We started at the Plaza de Armas and the President’s house. It was pretty impressive. But shortly thereafter, we all crashed. My sister took her kids in the SUV when they were little to help them fall asleep, apparently it works for stressed out and tired teenagers as well. Haha. We went to the ocean and put our feet in the Pacific. The only other time I have touched the Pacific was in Sydney at Bondi beach. We then hit a chicken place for dinner. We really bounced back after that. It was incredible food and we all kind of bonded a little. Back at the airport, they all had rebooked flights by then so it was just a waiting game until the flight at 11:50 pm. Chris went to the special station that wraps luggage and asked if they would wrap him. Yes. So we carted a small, green, mummified Chris around on a luggage cart for a bit. Good times. It was then back to Starbucks for internet and President. At 8:00 pm, it was time. Yes, time for the famous McClutch that the last group introduced me to, so four of us ordered the Big Mac meal with a chicken sandwich on the side. The total cost was the same as the last group so everything seemed okay. But back at the tables we discovered that they gave us DOUBLE McChicken sandwiches. This was seen as a challenge. So we ate a sandwich that contained 5 buns, 2 meat patties, 2 chicken patties, toppings, and an entire medium fry. Yo. Chris named it the Double McCluck McClutch. Jonas finished in 3 min, 15 sec. I was last in 8 min, 10 sec. Then Julia asked about starting a club at her school to raise money for the dorm, and I got her email in order to send her my powerpoint about the Girl Effect and the Sacred Valley Project. Thanks Julia!!
Goodbye was tough but I think because we were so tired it was a little easier than usual. As the last group walked through that famous entrance to security, I didn’t know what to feel. What a run, an amazing six weeks that will stay with me forever. Thank you to every student this summer (and last) for making Peru an important part of my life story. I will definitely miss everyone.