All flights have gone well and I was able to make the connection to Cusco without difficulty. The customs line is incredibly short before 6AM. Only took me 3 minutes to get through instead of the hour that I was predicting. Lima’s airport is very different than an American airport. Security is slightly more relaxed. I didn’t have to take my computer out of the bag, etc. Also, to go from customs to baggage check-in, I actually had to walk outside the airport and enter through an external door. That would never fly in the states, especially in a place that gets cold. As I’m writing this, I am flying over the gorgeous Andes mountains. Unfortunately someone took my window seat, but I don’t want to kick her out because she seems excited to take pictures. I’ll get another chance.
I’ve met a few people on this trip. First was Jason, an army man who was leaving GR on my flight. He seemed like a fun character, happy to talk and share experiences. He wasn’t too excited to have to leave home again after the holidays; his motivation to enter the military was rooted in his desire to not pay for college. I then had a long dead-time, since the O’hare-Miami flight wasn’t very full so I had a whole row to myself. Good for sleeping. Bad for meeting people. Totally fine. On the flight to Peru I found myself in the vicinity of a few other college groups. One from New England doing basically a medical mission trip, and the other a kinesiology class from University of Miami Ohio hiking Machu Picchu and “taking data.” That’s my kind of class. Talking to the medical people I was able to gain some valuable information about the region, and where I should hope to be placed. The professor mentioned that Dr. Jesus (he didn’t know his last name) is a great guy to shadow. His words were “follow Dr. Jesus.” Yup, I can do that J All these people are only here for 2 weeks so the connections won’t help me for long, but we may run into each other in a clinic or something. Anyway, my flight is landing soon so I’ve got to go.
In the airport I had more of a chance to talk to Steve, the professor from the University of New England who is leading the medical trip. He shared some very helpful advice about Cuzco and about the clinics. Be told me the clinic that would probably be the most interesting would be Clinica Belepampa; it is more geared toward children and the underprivileged. That’s also where Dr. Jesus is. His favorite part of Cuzco is a little bit off the beaten path, near the main plaza. It’s called San Blas. I’m certainly going to visit there as well. Heck, I have 4 months to explore!
ProWorld did a good job picking me up. I walked out of the airport and saw 20 people holding signs for different things. I eventually found ProWorld, and the guy who picked me up (I was told he didn’t speak English) started chatting with me in English. Surprise! Haha. He took me to the ProWorld office, where I met Hannah. I had some downtime and we went over the basics of ProWorld and what my time here will look like. I’m going to be in the clinic from 8 or 9 until 1 every day, then I’ll go home and eat lunch with my host family (the big meal of the day). In the afternoon I can head over to the ProWorld office for my Spanish classes. This will also probably be the place where I can post my blogs, stay connected to people, and do some research for my independent studies. This still feels a little surreal, but I’m about to meet my host family so I think it will set in more then!