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Reflections after a homestay in Pumamarca, Peru

From our group in Peru:

When we first arrived in Pumamarca, I felt a bit shocked because the living conditions were something I’ve never seen before. Overall, I left there more grateful and had the desire to help those less fortunate than I.  -Jacob
The entire experience culminated the last day. We woke up and ate what we ate most days (eggs and fish, delish 🙂 and finished off our world map. Everybody in town was so grateful for what we did, and while what we did may have seemed small to us, they impressed upon us how much it meant to them and how much it would affect further generations. I’m glad to have done what we did and will try to remember how I feel right now about the experience. – Max
One of the most surprising aspects of our stay in Pumamarca was the hospitality all of us experienced in our various homes. My ¨mom¨ was the grandma of the village and despite having an injured arm, she still made breakfast for us every morning and would make sure we were comfortable by giving us copious amounts of tea and cookies and making sure we had enough blankets at night. Despite only having one usable arm to wash dishes or pour hot water from a kettle, she was always generous and put our needs above hers. -Hena
The families were amazing and they made us feel as if we were part of their family. Our parents would call us son or daughter and our siblings brother or sister. They helped us realize a lot of how life is lived with very little material things and they were always able to place a smile on our faces. We could also sense how they had a different and unique culture that we were able to embed ourselves in. -Arturo
The homestay was the highlight of my trip because of staying with my family.  I loved how we had the most kids, which I loved playing or being with the little kids. Our host Mom and Dad were great at teaching us how to cook, eat, hike, and to be strong.  Everyday was so much fun being with them and everyone had a smile on their face everyday.  This was truly so impacting and fun being with my second family. – Emilio
One of the biggest things I got out of the homestay was appreciation for the little things in life.  I learned that a simple cup of tea or a warm shower can make your day a whole lot better.  I also feel a lot more grateful for the things I have and the life I live in the U.S..  Being in Pumamarca for an entire week did feel quite overwhelming, but looking back, it seems like we were there for the perfect amount of time.  We were there long enough to complete a project that had a big impact on us, and the people living there.  We were there long enough to grasp an understanding of what it is like to live a more isloated life, with no wi-fi or electronics to distract us from reality. One thing that I really loved about being there was just how happy they were to have us staying with them.  I realized just how important we all are and how much power each individual has to make a difference. – Blair
The experience of the homestay was really similar to the visits I have done to my grandmother in Mexico.  My grandmother and homestay mother are very similar. They are always so welcoming and they both cared for our health first before their own.  Despite the different culture, I have learned so much from having to carry so many things to other places in order to sell her handmade creations to tourists.  It is more difficult than how my grandmother lives, but amazing to be able to see the similarities between how my parents and grandparents might have lived before moving to the U.S.  I have become so grateful for what I have and also don´t have because from it I have learned to appreciate what my parents are able to provide for me. – Jessica
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