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Photo by Tom Pablo, South America Semester.

A Rumination from the Rainforest

It’s impossible to describe the intense, beautiful, scary, and overwhelming sound of the jungle. I could try to explain the hum of the insects,  the howl of the monkeys, the flapping of wings, and the rustle of the trees, but I don’t think even the most talented writers, let alone myself, could do it anywhere near justice. It is magnificent.

As I lay underneath my bug net at night, listening to the chorus of nature, I could not help but feel completely insignificant surrounded by the magnitude of the Peruvian rainforest. It terrified me.

A myriad of thoughts ran through my head: What am I doing here? How did I get here? The sounds are so different. I am so far from all that I know.

It was all so big and loud and powerful and I was in the middle of it. Little old me! Little old me in the middle of a group, in the middle of the jungle, in the middle of Peru, in the middle of the world.

My existential dread, however, was fleeting. I woke up the next morning to the sound of a howler monkey waking up the forest and I couldn’t help but smile. Yes, I am small, insignificant and covered in bug bites- but I know how and why I came to the rainforest. I made a decision to come to South America and expose myself to discomfort in all of its forms (even shower tarantulas and wasp stings!) because I know that I’ll be a better, more aware person for it.

Despite my initial hesitation and fear of the rainforest, it ended up being a really fun an eye-opening experience and and my favorite week of the trip so far. I learned about an ecosystem that produces so many of the products I use every single day and how and why we need to take care of it. I also enjoyed spending so much time with my peers and solidifying our dynamic as a family.

Regardless of the sweat, stings, snake bites, and Settlers of Catan fueds, our time in the Amazon was really special. It brought us closer to the pachamama and to eachother, and I’m looking forward to seeing how our experiences along Río Las Piedras impact the rest of our time together.