When I was walking to my academic advisor’s office one day, I noticed a flyer on his desktop. It was about a trip to Peru. At that time, my knowledge about Peru was almost none. The only information I knew was, it’s a country in South America. In fact, studying a course abroad wasn’t even in my mind at that moment. Yet, curiosity pushed me to read the flyer. The first thing to capture my attention was a photograph of Machu Picchu!
Time was flying so fast last semester, as I was preparing for the trip. I was beyond excited to finish the semester and travel to Peru. i read a lot about the country and watched several videos online about the culture, while I was preparing for it. But, most of all, I was extremely excited to visit Macho Picchu. Adding, the trip was during Ramadan and Eid was after that. Thus, I wanted to celebrate it in Peru for the first time. Although I didn’t have any expectations, I knew it was going to be a memorable trip. I was optimistic. I believe, many reasons motivated me to travel and explore another side of the plant. Therefore, I packed my luggage, I booked my ticket, and I was ready to travel by the end of May.
On May 26th, I arrived at Lima, Peru. The first people I met in Lima were Matthew and Lindsey. I never forget the warm hugs they welcomed me with when I arrived. They were so kind. after meeting Matt and Lindsey at the airport, we went to the hostel and I spent my first night trying to sleep. It has always been a struggle for me to sleep comfortably in a new place!
The first day in Lima was a day to meet all the group members. It was an orientation day, and a day to have the chance to explore the city for the first time. Even though the sky was cloudy that day, the view of the Pacific Ocean and the fog was amazing! The days later, in Lima, continued to impress me. As much as I was captivated by the historical buildings there, I was shocked when I saw some neighborhoods almost being neglected. For example, when i got to Pachacutec, the air was heavily polluted! Pachacutec was an Area in the northern part of Lima. The majority of people who live there were poor. so, our mission was to visit their hospital and another health clinic. In my mind, I was wondering the whole time. what would a person with respiratory issues would do to breath well in that neighborhood, since the area was extremely polluted! life must have been very difficult for the people there!
Sadly, I realized, air pollution wasn’t the only health hazardous for people in Pachacutec. They had many other health problems within the area. The manager of the hospital we visited there also explained to us some of the struggles they face to keep the hospital still going. For example, they lack availability of basic equipment to collect information and store it such as a computer. Water utility was also an issue for the people in Pachacutec due to It only runs for three hours per day. It was hard to see some of the daily struggles people, who live in poverty, face in Peru. it was even harder than what I had imagined!