One month since I left Chiclayo

(Written yesterday and not posted then because the internet cut)
Exactly one month ago I was somewhere in between Chiclayo and Lima on the first leg of my journey back north. I had several cards from friends in my backpack and even a giant hand-made one in the side compartment of my violin case. I felt full of the energy of hundreds of kisses and hugs I had both recently received and given to the Project Chiclayo program participants, co-workers, friends and loving host family, right up until saying final hasta luego ‘s at the Chiclayo airport.

And after chatting informally with the Director of Project Chiclayo via Skype for the past two hours, I feel like my heart is once again topped up with the positive spirit and energy it was then, that hope that I will be able to return to continue working alongside the Centro Esperanza team that I felt apart while in Peru, that I still feel apart of.

The past month sometimes feels like it has been much longer than 31 days, and at other times it feels like it was just last week that I was in Peru. I have had moments of joy and moments of reflection when I battled between different interpretations of seemingly simple ideas or situations. Overall, it feels good to be back, but there are many people and realities that I continue to miss as the days pass.

In terms of sharing my experiences in Peru with others, I have had an interview with my co-intern on CBC Radio and spoken to four different (geography and Spanish) classes at my former university, after which interesting discussions occurred. I have yet to speak to middle and high school students in the coming weeks and I am also excited about returning to my home-region of Canada to speak about the new perspectives on international development that I have gained during this hands-on internship experience.

While I was translating documents emailed from Chiclayo this past week I was reminded of many happenings there over October, November and December. I also translated various testimonies that showed the positive impact of Chalice Gift Catalogue items on beneficiary individuals and groups (working to create positive social change in communities in the Lambayeque region); donations included eye exams and fitted glasses, first aid kits, medical cabinets and sandwich carts (to be able to generate income).

Working back at Chalice is allowing me to continue to learn about what the NGO does in its 49 sponsor sites other than Chiclayo and gives me a better idea of everything behind a successful child sponsorship program; striving for a true relationship of solidarity, trust and communication are key. International development has many complexities and things are certainly less ‘black’ and ‘white’ than ever in this field, but I do feel that Chalice is helping to make many positive waves possible.

* * *

For the next two days (as I did yesterday and today) I will be spending time with my fellow CIDA/ACIC interns doing internship and intercultural debriefing. Story sharing among interns has so far been very interesting, amusing and thought-provoking. We are all at different points of readjusting to life in Canada and it is comforting to spend time with other individuals packed with their own experiences and changed knowledge of and appreciation for other cultures.

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