Today is May 2, 2010. This weekend in May is celebrated by many cultural traditions around the world acknowledging and honoring the beginning of Spring. In the Celtic tradition, it is Beltane, a celebration of Spring and the greening of the Earth. Elsewhere in the world there are maypole dances and other activities that celebrate the awakening of Earth from the slumber of Winter and a venture into the fertility of Spring.
For me, this evening marks the culmination of preparations for our trip to Peru with World Neighbors. The last few days have been spent in mundane activities such as packing and planning and getting ready for our travels, but once we arrive in Lima, what lies ahead is what I suspect will be life changing for us all.
I have always wanted to visit Peru: the culture has intrigued me and Peru's spirituality has touched my heart through the research and reading I have done in the past. Because of our previous travels, I am not unfamiliar with some of the world's most challenging jungles and remote mountainous areas but I sense that there is something uniquely special about Peru.
So I am simultaneously excited, awestruck, exhilarated and a little anxious that tomorrow morning (very early) David and I will board a plane to Houston and then another one to Lima to begin our trip to a destination I have previously only dreamed about. What will we experience there?
I love World Neighbors. The motto says it all: "Inspiring people, strengthening communities." As a former Peace Corps volunteer, I can relate to an organization that does not just march into a country and begin to tell the indigenous population what to do. For me, it is imperative that such an organization be culturally sensitive towards the countries they are operating in. So, when I learned that World Neighbors has specifically targeted aid to some of the poorest Andean communities in Peru, I wanted to go and see for myself what has been accomplished and what the challenges are. I hope we travelers will be able to provide you readers with an almost real time accounting of what we discover on our journey so that you can experience a little of what we are experiencing.
But back to the beginning of this blog entry: Let me introduce myself. I am Sarah (pictured front right), a nutritionist, nutrition teacher and chef by profession, and I design programs for my clients which incorporate whole foods, herbal medicine and natural remedies into their programs. Some of the natural remedies I have used include foods, teas and herbal remedies from Peru. So on this trip, I am also hoping I might see some of the "tools" in the toolkit of my profession living in their natural state. It would seem that though we may be south of the equator, and therefore not in the throes of Spring as mentioned in the first paragraph, we will nonetheless be immersed in nature in a very profound way. And this makes me smile.