Serviam in Lima, Peru | My Family Travels
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My high school, Ursuline Academy which is an all-girl private school, offered summer travels to rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors. One of the places to apply for was Lima, Peru. I saw the option and immediately checked off the option. Peru has beautiful landscaping and historical buildings; it is known particularly for Macchu Picchu in Cusco and other Aztec and Incan ruins. The main objective of the travel with the school was to engage in Serviam, our motto which means "to serve" in Latin, and bond with our Ursuline sisters at Colegio de Santa Ursula.

â–º  Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship

I am so blessed and honored to have been chosen to travel with the school and to represent what our school really means when we serve others in need. While we were in Peru, the group of girls from my school participated in a few community service projects. One included visiting Miramar which is another branch of the Ursuline schools in Peru. However, this school is not solely for girls; instead the children who attend this school are underprivileged. A woman explained to us that the kids who came to the school were not properly fed by their parents and not treated as appropriately. There was no cost to attend the school with limited spaces. Numerous churches and organizations donated beans, meat, rice, vegetables, and fruits in order for the children to have a healthy diet and meal when they come to Miramar. Both Colegio de Santa Ursula and Ursuline students went to Miramar and helped prepare meals for the children. Most importantly, we were there for the children to just talk. They need a friend and someone to talk to. We conversed in Spanish as best as possible.

Another service project we helped with was visiting a home for teen moms. The moms there were as young as 12 and 13 year olds from either abused relationships or molestation. The mothers are given the opportunity to live in this home where they can leave their babies in a daycare on the same campus while they attend school during the day. Fortunately, I was granted the opportunity to help the nice staff and women in the daycare take care of the infants and two to three year olds. Granted it was a hassle taking care of children who are constantly crazy and hyper; however, what we were doing as a group helped a great cause and taught us to handle children wisely and even our patience…

After the trip to Peru, my eyes were opened as wide as physically possible. People in America tend to forget the real world because we are trapped in our "bubble." We live in an American fantasy. When I talked to the girls in Peru, they said everyone in America was rich with beautiful clothes and lived the perfect, ideal lives. A stereotype has been set for our country which has spread throughout the world. I came back to America appreciating my life and opportunities even more than before. We are a blessed country with many blessed belongings. Honestly, I have never appreciated breathing such clean air too, compared to Peru since it is an over-populated city with thousands of vehicles. I touched the lives of many young children who will have an unforgettable experience just because I talked to them and became their friend. That is the real definition of Serviam, serving others with utmost sincerity from the bottom of the heart. We are going beyond our local community and reaching out globally too.

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