Megan Ramirez recently arrived in Peru where she is volunteering with our team. She is working in the community of Trujillo as a Speech and Feeding Therapist, Megan will be working with special needs children. She shared with us the first few days of her journey in Peru. From our CMMB Peru headquarter office in Lima, to the beaches of Huanchaco, Megan got to explore and understand Peruvian culture and community a bit better. Below read the journal entries that Megan has shared with us about her journey in Peru thus far!

Day 1

Note to self: when flying into Lima, there is a lot of water. However, while it may look like you are going to land on a barge in the ocean, you will in fact be landing on…you guessed it, land. Phew! The second we landed, like clockwork (pun actually intended), my phone followed suit to adjust to Lima time, which is an hour behind New York time.

Seconds after arriving, memories of living in South America came flooding back to me: people applauding after the plane landed, multiple family members waiting at the gate to pick up their loved ones, the smell of the air in general. I was in the right place. CMMB Peru’s director, Ariel, kindly picked me up from the airport and brought me to my hotel at 11pm. During the ride to the hotel, he briefly explained the neighborhoods of Lima and the plan for the next day.

Day 2

The next day, Cynthia, who works as an organizational coordinator with CMMB in Lima, picked me up from my hotel to bring me to the office. We decided to walk because, as I quickly learned, traffic in Lima is…difficult, for lack of a better term. I learned quickly that honking is utilized for multiple purposes including: soliciting pedestrians for a taxi ride, saying hi, complimenting women, and most importantly, “Get out of the way!!” When we got to the CMMB office in Lima, I met the rest of the Lima team: Margarita, Cecilia, Doris, and Carla. They warmly welcomed me with open arms.

I spent a few hours in the office orienting myself to CMMB in general, but the best part of the day was lunch. They took me to a buffet called, “La Bisteca.” It wasn’t until I was in the middle of eating my medium rare bistec (steak), which was probably my 5th and almost (operative word being “almost”) last plate, that I remembered the warnings to be somewhat cautious about the food I ate the first few days. Ooops. No problems yet! (Knock on wood).

Jokes aside, the food wasn’t even the best part of lunch (I know, shocking!). What I enjoyed the most was the company of those I was with. I appreciated how kind the team was to me, and how appreciative they were of each other. There were multiple times throughout lunch that they thanked each other for their friendship as well as for the hard work that they put in for CMMB. They also thanked me for giving a year to help them, which seemed unnecessary, as it will probably be them who will be changing my life. They laughed with each other, enjoyed each other’s company, and even made fun of me for enjoying the weather (65 degrees Fahrenheit to them is like living in Antarctica for us – okay maybe that’s a little exaggerated, but you get the point). And to top it all off, I don’t even think I’m funny in Spanish yet, and they laughed at everything I said! Although I do not get to work directly with this team on a daily basis, it is so nice to know that there is a wonderful group of genuinely kind people working to keep CMMB Peru running.


Megan and our Peru team out at dinner!

That night, I flew off to Trujillo (which is about an 8 hour drive up Peru’s coast from Lima or a 50 minute flight). Yhanina, CMMB Trujillo’s administrative assistant, picked me up from the airport and brought me to my apartment in Trujillo. The apartment is on the fourth floor of an apartment building. I’m behind three very tightly locked doors on a busy street (See Mom and Dad, I’m safe). The apartment has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, and large living space.

Second note to self: the current of electricity must be stronger here because when I turned on my blow dryer for the first time on high, the inside turned red immediately, and I’m pretty sure it would have caught on fire, had I kept it on a second longer. Luckily I learned my lesson for the straightener — turning it off every 10 seconds so that I do not burn my hair off. No joke.

Anyway, I had 4 days to explore the city, as everyone is on vacation for los dias feriados (Peru’s Independence Day). The first day, I didn’t have internet and also forgot to ask what the address of the apartment was, so when I left the apartment I had to memorize every turn I made. Luckily the apartment is in the middle of a busy street with a lot of tiendas (stores). The center of the city (Plaza de Armas) is about a 25 minute walk from me, which is really beautiful.


Day 3
After day 2, I became more acquainted with the city and on the 3rd day, I took a tour of just one of many ruins just outside of the city.

Day 4

On the 4th day, and my last day before work, I took a 45 minute bus ride just outside of the city to a beautiful beach called Huanchaco.

Being here for only a few days, I’m remembering quickly about little differences between Peruvian culture and my own. I feel lucky enough to be somewhat familiar with it already to where I can realize that these difference are neither good nor bad (I do have to say though, street food is much better here than in the U.S.). Living abroad presents a whole new set of challenges that I have not encountered in some time; but this experience is unique, in that I’m figuring it out all by myself. Doing it alone has been liberating. Tomorrow, I start volunteering for CMMB and I cannot wait to meet the rest of the CMMB Peru team! More to come.

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