Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Rachael in Machu Picchu

I just got back to Nicaragua after almost three weeks of visitors followed by two weeks with various members of my family in Ecuador and in Peru. I am feeling rested, affirmed, hugged, and restored. At the end of May, David came for two weeks to Nicaragua. Then three days after he left, Mom came for three days: she met my host family, helped me teach preschool, and held a clinic for the folks at Chacocente. She also brought hundreds of shoes collected in Idaho as donations. Since the previous week one of my students, unsupervised during non-school hours, threw a piece of concrete at the foot of one of my other students, the shoes were much appreciated. The injured foot had been barefoot, and the girl belonging to it had been limping around ever since. Now she is properly shoed, which is both a healing and a preventative measure. The health nurse also came in and scared all my kids with stories about all the potential horrors of going barefoot. And now that I´m back, the little girl´s foot seems to be better. So some good has come of it.

Anyway, after her day of clinic my mom and I packed our bags and the next morning we flew to Quito, Ecuador. Two and a half years ago I spent my last Oberlin College January term working in a music school there, and lived with a host family. We visited my host family, drove all over the city having exciting and fun adventures and REALLY enjoying my Ecuadorian family´s company, and I have begun dreaming of moving there someday for a few years. My host brother would be a lovely uncle for my future children who would be gaining fluency in Spanish. It´s a rosy picture, especially when you think about the mountainous views all around...

After five days Mom and I flew to Peru and crept late at night into the hotel rooms where the rest of our family was sleeping, having just gotten off the plane from the USA. My aunt, stepdad, brother, sister, mom, and I visited all kinds of Inca ruins over the next week and a half, the pinnacle being Machu Picchu.

Because of the limits of time and technology, here are pictures only of Machu Picchu. And because Sarah kept whining about taking every group photo with each person´s camera (¨we can just EMAIL copies to each other!¨), I don´t have a single picture with all six of us in it. The one that was taken the first time she whined is on the other memory card. To be fair, she does have a point.

I don´t have words to describe Machu Picchu. It was incredible. I will offer this pitiful phrase: You´re at eye level with the tops of the other mountains.

Now that I´m back, it´s school vacation for my kids, so I will go back to teaching on Monday truly feeling that I am starting the second half- of my time here, and of the school year. The time with family and the school vacation have been incredible blessings, as were the efforts of my faithful substitute teachers while I traipsed across South America. Thank you Ben, Monica, and Leanne!

Oh, that final picture in the airport on the way home was too funny not to take and show you all. The time is several minutes after the flight is scheduled to leave, and the sign says ON TIME. Just one example of the situations I find myself confused by in my life here in Latin America.

The nice thing about going away is that people are abnormally warm and demonstrative when you get back. You find out who seems to have missed you and can deduce that they care about you :)


Beth said...

Rachael, the pictures are stunningly beautiful, and even more so because you and your family are in them!

I love you!

Alexis said...

OH, just wait till you get back to the States to see who misses you and how much! There will be much rejoicing, I assure you:)