Voy al Perú. I am on a plane, everything is in español and clouds float below me. How did this happen? That’s the question I have been asking for weeks. Back at Cornell, even with the madness of final exams and papers, I would awaken each morning with a sense of both wonder and anxiety. Wonder over the fact that within days I would be on a different continent. Anxiety over the idea that for a few months I would be away from all I had ever known. A bittersweet conscience would wash across my mind, as I mourned the temporary absence of everything—from my family and friends to even my little dorm room—and celebrated the beginning of the adventurous life I have always dreamed of.
How blessed I was to be able to travel! How sad I was to leave! Yet, even while clinging to these conflicting feelings, I knew that the wonder was far stronger than the anxiety, that the anxiety was only temporary, that it was natural… and yet a form of senseless self-pity and fear. It was a time for optimism, and in my eyes, not really optimism but an acknowledgement of the awesome reality of my upcoming journey.
I will soon be in the city of Cusco, a bustling center of tourists on their way to Machu Picchu, and also a place teeming with peruanos, expats, strangers—all with the hearts God gave them. I look forward to working with Alma Sana Inc., a wonderful social enterprise (nonprofit) hoping to save children’s lives with simple vaccination-reminder bracelets. I am especially excited to witness the start-up of this NGO, and to be a part of global health in action.
So here I am, jetting over South America, and the journey has just started. I do not know what to expect. I find confidence in the fact that though the landscape, people, language, and culture are about to dramatically change, my God is with me and is always the same.