Since I’ve Come to Peru #5

Since I’ve come to Peru I’ve experienced jagged landscapes that (literally) take my breath away. I’ve glimpsed a different way of life with a richness that my narrow North American view sometimes mistakes for lack. I’ve seen abundant farmland and faces beautiful, weathered and open and colors so vibrant they beg me to paint them.

Since I’ve come to Peru I’ve tasted the freshest food, the most complicated seasonings and teas blended from herbs and made for healing. I have breathed air so crisp and clean that I don’t want to leave it behind and smelled cooking in open pots by the sides of dusty roads waiting to be shared with friends passing by.

Since I’ve come to Peru I’ve smelled fields in the rain and sun and watched chickens pecking in the dirt yard of a modest farmhouse filled with hospitality, generosity and the love of Pachamama

Since I’ve come to Peru I’ve felt humbled and grateful, excited and awed. I’ve felt out of breath, exhilarated, happy and bone tired. I have met proud people who work hard and welcome strangers. Who worship the earth mother and thank her loudly for everything she has given them.

Since I’ve come to Peru I’ve met people who love their country, cherish their land and their history–people who generously share their culture with anyone who is open to it. I’ve been reminded that the world is diverse and full of love and that family and friends are the true riches. I’ve seen Shamans and farmers blow on coca leaves to protect visitors, their families and the children suffering in Syria.

Since I’ve come to Peru I’ve learned about dedication to ancient arts and sacred traditions. I’ve learned to barter with street sellers in terrible Spanish and carry exactly what I need in a small daypack. I’ve learned about Incan civilization and how just plain lovely the Peruvian people are with their appreciation of life, family and nature.

Since I’ve come to Peru I have learned how 21 strangers can become a community. I have savored the time away from my day-to-day life and my comfort zone, the differences, the sameness and the love I feel for the rugged landscape and the people who have been my companions on this beautiful adventure.

— Joyce Bartlett

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