How does spending 3 weeks in Peru sound to you? This summer I was priveledged to travel abroad to Peru, with an incredible program called Global Leadership Adventures. I spent time in cities and in villages, hiked through the Andes and visited the world heritage site Machu picchu, built by the Inca civilization. I learned about the local culture, and taught people about my own community. Along with many valuable lessons, I took away one overarching theme from my trip, and that is: conservation should be a responsibility that not only gets focused on locally, but one that everyone embraces on a global scale.
The primary “service” aspect of my trip was to begin building a greenhouse for a local community. What some people fail to have a perspective on is how many things we only give passing consideration to are of huge importance in less fortunate countries. The rate of malnutrition in Peru (while dropping, fortunately), still sits at around 30% in urban areas. I’d never had a first hand experience seeing a true sustenance garden. I’d never seen a person, (let alone an entire community!), that genuinely *needed* to grow their own food to survive. I saw kids who’d eaten rice, and corn, and quinoa for their last who-knows-how-many meals, kids who would genuinely be positively impacted by what I was doing.
Having a chance to step into a community where conservation is a necessity for survival was a sobering experience. It not only reminded me of how fortunate I am, but also inspired me to continue volunteering in the future.
I’m so fortunate to have had an experience that allowed me to step out of my local bubble and see how another culture functions. Having studied abroad in both peru and the Bahamas, I view myself as a Global Citizen, first and foremost, and encourage others to do so.