A short blog but one I felt best left on its own.
I have now had very different and special birthdays over the last 3 years.
In 2011, just before I began my volunteer work here, I finished a gruelling 10 day trek to Choquequirao, then following the trail to Machu Picchu . On my birthday we had an early start and toured Machu Picchu. I even have their very unique stamp in my passport on my birthday. How nice is that! It was a lovely day.
In 2012 I had another very early start (3am this time) and we climbed Mount Mismi in crampons (this was tough going as I lost everyone and my water pipe froze up)! The rest of the day improved though as we visited the true source of the Amazon very close by. It was here, as I walked back I got the most overwhelming feeling of this being the start of my new life. At the time I noted it but didn’t think to much more other than that. A year and a half later...wow was that quite a prediction. Time of course takes its own course but what I have experienced this year is certainly gradually taking me in what appears to be a completely different direction!!..We shall see.
A challenging day in many respects but so worth while... and one I will not forget!
2013, my birthday was a day we needed to visit the communities with visitors to the NGO. They had flown in especially so there was no way around it. As it turned out it was just lovely.
On the Saturday prior to that I got the most lovely surprise. A local gentleman arrived and rang the bell at the house. He had brought flowers. Lilo and I looked at each other. She said I have never had flowers before! It was from the girls! I was so taken aback! I didn’t think flowers could be sent Interflora here! I cried for about an hour I was soo touched. ..they really were lovely. Lilo said in all her 14 years here she had never received flowers!
On Sunday night Lilo and the house keeper gave me a birthday tea which was lovely. Chicken then a maricuya dessert...very nice it was too.
By Monday (my birthday) I was in work mode so I had forgotten it was my birthday. I was getting organized to do visits over the next 2 days. When Lilo (my landlady) came to say “Happy Birthday” I suddenly realized! ..so that was nice.
I arrived to meet the visiting Swiss man and his daughter who were staying in a hotel in Cusco and who could potentially be big donors for us, and who I had just met the night before. They both gave me a cuddle.
When we arrived at Pisac I received a large birthday cake from Rita , our nurse, and Aquiles , our driver and they sang “Happy Birthday” to me in the square! As is the tradition in Peru I had to bite into it to save it being pushed into my face..so I was in a nice sticky mess from the icing and it took a bit of cleaning off I can tell you! I’m not sure what they put in it but there must be some form of a glue constituent!! ..We had time for a coffee and bit of cake before heading off to the community school we were visiting that day to set up new water filters and let them see what we do. As the cake was so large I had suggested we could share it with the teachers. I knew them pretty well having worked there as a volunteer teacher and working with the NGO over the past 2 years.
On the drive up Rita and I explained a little more about the communities and way of life, to help them understand the need here. After we finished preparing all the water filters and setting them up in the school. I assume Rita must have told Dionicio, the director as he then gave a lovely speech, in front of the teachers and visitors, thanking me for all my work from volunteering to continuing with Living Heart and supporting them. I was very touched! I then invited them for a piece of cake each. One of the teachers, Julia, who has been there a long time and who I know well put lots of confetti in my hair and gave me some daisies. They all then sang “Happy Birthday” to me...partly in English and partly in Spanish.
Following a suggestion by Dionicio and something Ernesto (the Swiss man) wanted to do, we headed for the laguna above the school. I had never been to it so this was quite a treat. It is considered very sacred and special which certainly felt the case. We could only drive so far before we had to get out and walk the rest of the way..but this just added to the charm of the place. On the way back we met the friendliest llama I have ever met..and boy did he like his photo taken! He was hilarious. He posed this way and that..obviously trying to give us his best side!! Back at the car we had another piece of cake before heading back to Cusco.
There was even enough cake to give a decent amount to Lilo and the housekeepers to have a bit too!
... Not bad for one day!
It felt like a very special day all in all.
....My next blog will be more about Peru life...until then mis amigos... hasta luego y cuidate.