Friday, December 16
11:30am rolled around and I heard Piero and Brian saying, “should we wake her up? She is knocked out.” Laughing, I woke up and said, “give me 20 minutes and I will be ready”. Unfortunately, we had missed the complementary breakfast served by the hostel. That seemed to work in our favor, as the place Piero took us for breakfast was absolutely delicious. I had a latte, passion fruit juice, and a quiche with, cheese, egg, and a green vegetable that has yet to be identified. Whatever it was, it was delicious.
After breakfast, Piero caught a taxi and took us into downtown Lima. We explored the city, walked through shops, and had a delicious lunch. By far my favorite event of the day was when we rode a bus to the top of San Cristobal. It was incredible to stand at the top of the mountain and look down on the massive, beautiful city of Lima.
Next we went to the Monastery of San Francisco. Inside the monastery are catacombs. These catacombs were part of Lima’s original cemeteries, which were built under churches. The tour guide said that an estimated 75,000 bodies are buried under San Francisco alone. The remains were exposed and stacked in patterns in circular stone pits. It was jaw dropping to see so many bones and skulls face to face.
Once we finished the tour we took a cab to watch a water show called “Circuito Magico de Las Aguas” at the Parqu de la Reserva. Afterwards we took the bus back to our hostel and had dinner at a nearby sandwich shop. Dinner for me was a chicken, pineapple, and queso sandwich with a frozen passion fruit juice drink. I am in love with all of the fruit drinks here.
After dinner was free time until another volunteer, Grace arrived. Grace and I were actually on the rowing team at UNC together my freshman year and her junior year. Both of us decided not to return for another season this year. However, we were ecstatic when we realized we'd have a familiar face while volunteering. Once Grace arrived, we caught up and chatted before I called it a night.
Saturday, December 17
I woke up at about 9:00 am and prepared for the day. I met Timothy, another UNC student that is serving as a coordinator on this trip. Then the volunteers and I went upstairs to get the complimentary breakfast we had missed the day before. The coffee was absolutely delicious and it was paired with bread and jam for me. Other volunteers had boiled eggs, avocados, apples, bananas, and more. The last two volunteers, Ramy and Omar, arrived midway through breakfast. Brothers, Ramy attends UNC and Omar attends ECU. After breakfast was free time until the taxi came to take us to the bus station at 12:00 pm for our 1:00 pm departure. While we waited, Grace and I went and walked around some of the most local shops before Piero took the entire group to see the cats in the “cat park”.
At 1:00 pm we boarded the "Itsabus" Bus; they have the nicest seats ever! The bus ride was scheduled to be 9 hours long, putting us in Trujillo at 10:00 pm. Being on the bus for 9 hours and getting to travel through the roads of Peru was incredible for me. I loved watching the scenery go by and was amazed when the city turned in to the desert outside of one window while there was an ocean outside the other. Eventually this desert turned back into a city, hinting that Trujillo was getting closer.
As soon as we arrived in Trujillo, we met our host families. My “mami” and “papa” are the sweetest. They quickly took us to their lovely home, where they had a night snack prepared for us. I was very thankful, as I had not eaten well that day. Soon we were showered, into our rooms, and ready for a good nights sleep. After a few days of hectic traveling, I feel at home again here, and it is so nice to say that. My bed was so comfortable, and I feel energized and ready to go after a good nights sleep.