1. Feeding wild Monkeys.
We took a day trip to an island that is known for their friendly wild monkeys and at first we offered them bananas, but after a couple hours of not seeing them, I ate mine. But when they eventually came, I luckily had a Granny Smith apple to give them.
In the picture above, I had an apple in my hand and one on my should, and this smart little guy took the piece in my hand. After eating it, he then wrapped his tiny hand around one of my fingers and pulled me closer to him, so he could reach the piece on my shoulder and ran away.
2. Soccer with a little girl.
Every Thursday night the religious community we stayed with invites the locals out to their place for sports. Since I’ve never played a game of soccer in my life, I thought it would be best if I sat out and played with some of the younger kids. One young girl and I found a soccer ball that we kicked around for a while but ended up just chasing each other around and falling in giggles multiple times.
3. When Raphaella fell asleep on me at the orphanage.
Rachealla is a sweet little six-month-old baby that was getting sleepy, and after I sang to her and rocked her a little, her little head slumped on my shoulder. I felt so much love for her and was grateful she felt enough peace in my arms to fall asleep.
4. At the top of SunGate Trail.
After we did the tour of Machu Picchu most of the group wanted to go down and wait for the bus, but luckily for my adventurous-self, Nick and Ally wanted to take the small hike up the SunGate Trail. I didn’t realize until after we started that there was a final destination, and it wasn’t just a random walking path. We were on a time crunch and Nick literally pushed us up to the top. The view was so surreal and unlike anything I had ever seen.
5. Eating stir fry out of a banana leaf.
Our cook, Alicia, made us lunches to take on one of our day trips. She packed rice with eggs and all kinds of veggies and hot dogs…which sounds odd but was delicious! The food stayed warm in the banana leaves that Alicia so carefully wrapped each of our meals in which was comforting on a cool day. Alicia was very motherly to me and even though we couldn’t speak the same language, she would envelop me in a hug that only mothers can give every time she saw me.
6. Morning prayer with Ally.
Each morning at 6am the religious community we stayed with gathered for morning prayer. Ally and I decided to join them every morning for the three hours they prayed. I felt so much peace, and there was a special grace that came with each day because I started it at morning prayer.
7. Walking and Talking with Mother.
Mother Agnes is a beautiful soul that I was able to bond with during my stay in Peru. She’s from the United States but has lived in Peru for a while now. We shared deep (and sometimes painful) parts of our lives with each other and were often surprised at how much we had in common and how well we could relate to and understand each other.
8. Praying with people.
I had never felt comfortable with praying over people before my experience in Peru and once I viewed it as praying with people instead of over them, it was much easier. I prayed with a mother and her young son and as I placed my hands on their backs and closed my eyes, the young boy started clapping which obviously filled me with joy. The boy could barely talk but was excited to pray.
9. When 17 of us piled into a van.
So we had just finished talking to students at the University about Alcoholics Anonymous and some of us were still inside talking but the majority of us…17 to be exact…were ready to leave. So instead of waiting for the others in the truck, we all piled into the van and laughed all the way home!