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Photo by Tom Pablo, South America Semester.

First Trek Reflections

Sitting in the warm puerto maldonado air, we think back on a time not so long ago, when we were not so warm.

It’s easy to forget amongst the postcard-picturesque mountains and mystical landscape that this place, just a somewhat uncomortable trek for us outsiders, is actually the background of everyday life for the people who live here.

Indigenous people do not exist for our viewing pleasure. They do not exist solely on the pages of the census or our world history textbooks. They were there the day before we came, and they will be there the day after. This trek opened up a window into a world we know nothing of. How do you guide livestock over towering peaks and down muddy slopes with just tire-made sandals and 10 foot visibility? We certainly do not know. We witnessed an incredible bond between man and animal. When the mules were scared, the herders placed a handwoven scarf around their eyes as they calmed them and adjusted their packs. Coming from a world full of test scores, extracurriculars and the seemingly never ending college search it was inspiring to watch those whose skills differ from ours, but on observation far exceed the ábilities we value so much.

 

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Asa and Izzy