I have recently returned from an amazing journey to Peru. This trip was through my high school and was centered on volunteer work and cultural experience. The first week we spent in the city of Chaclacayo at the Hogar which is a home for kids who have some type of physical disability or handicap. Throughout that week I built relationships with the kids and loved them unconditionally. What impacted me the most was experiencing all the ways they helped me.
Esly, a little boy with a cast on each leg, taught me joy. He can not walk. He can not stand. He can not run. He can not swing. He consistently sits because of the way his casts are on his legs. Despite all the actions he cannot accomplish, he can and always does smile. That boy’s laugh would make me stop in my tracks and contemplate how in the world he can posses so much joy when he can do so little. I gained a deeper appreciation for all the blessings I have been given.
Jose Lewis, an 18 year old blind man, taught me perseverance. His dream is to make it big time in the music business. Hearing him play guitar and sing inspired me to set goals and accomplish them even if they seem impossible. He may not have the blessing of sight but he has talent when it comes to music. I think of him when I feel as though I can not do something and that reminds me to never give up.
Victor, an extremely intelligent teenager, taught me Spanish (literally.) I did not include his disability in his short description because he also taught me that physical impairments do not have to affect intelligence. His handicap is not extremely noticeable at all and is not important. We shared our hopes and dreams over Spanish and English lessons. Amazed at his level of English after only one year, I realized I would like to teach English or any other subject around the world.
Bruno, a boy burned and raped, taught me love. I distinctly remember Bruno’s hugs and watching him wave and cry as our bus pulled out of the Hogar on the last day. After going through all that he has gone through I do not know if I could be able to be so loving to merely strangers. His innocence and compassion exhibit how love should be all the time no matter what. I have learned from Bruno that I need to love everyone despite what they have gone through or how they might act.
These children have affected my life without even knowing it. The power behind travel and volunteer is immense. I love going to new places, meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, and learning and teaching at the same time. That is why I hope to become a teacher in other countries and the United States and continue missionary as well. I can not wait to start my next journey to wherever it may be.
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