Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Summing it all up

Between traveling and spending time visiting family and friends, it's been a while since I posted here. I just realized that I head back to school in 3 days, so it's about time I said chau to this blog.

I had no idea what to expect going to Peru. I knew that living in a shantytown would be a completely different experience, but I couldn't fully fathom it until I actually was there.

I felt like I raced through my last year at Dartmouth with little idea about what I want to study or do with my life. So one of my intentions in taking a quarter off was to slow down and think about my future. I can't say that everything is certain now, but I do know that I really want to study international development and want a career that allows me to live abroad or travel all the time. That's definitely not the whole picture, but it's something I can work with.

Living in Peru also affected my life on a more basic level. Every day I now find myself marveling over and celebrating normally unremarkable things - hot water, being in a car, getting places in 20 minutes instead of 3 hours, washer and dryers, dishwashers, toilet paper in public restrooms, ice, free water at restaurants, and more.

More importantly, I've realized that with this acute, personal awareness that things are drastically different for so many other people comes a responsibility to work toward fixing them. I met some of the most amazing people, who deserve so much more than they were given.

Deisy is one of the smartest kids I've met, but it's almost certain she won't get anything more than the most rudimentary, cursory education. She deserves college but could never afford it. Even at 7 years old, Nayeli is incredibly studious and hard working but there's only so far she can advance with the pathetic educational resources in Huaycan. Bryan is 10 years old but still can barely read and write, something that his teachers have never taken the time or effort to fix. Kids and parents there don't need handouts to change their lives, just an opportunity, be it educational or economic.

I don't yet know how to go about doing anything about the billions of stories like these, but I can't imagine not trying.

Since my Peruvian adventures are over for now, this is my last post on this blog. Feel free to comment this last time or look up my photo albums on facebook (one more to be added). Thanks for reading!


PS. I'm going to take one minute to insert a quick shameless plug for LLI and I'll be done. The Light and Leadership Initiative is one of the best organizations I know of and is doing wonderful work. Take a minute and check out their website and blog, take a look at what they're up to, and donate a few dollars if you can.

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