Arequipa(n) Rocking- Jack Bennan

We left La Inmaculada the morning of June 1st. Leaving Lima and La Inmaculada was difficult for me because it was leaving the sense of community and acceptance that our entire group had tried so hard to foster. La Inmaculada for me represented safety, because it was so different from the slums from which we had just come from working the day before. Leaving our homes and loving families, La Inmaculada was a smooth transition into Peruvian life with each of our own rooms, and 24/7 guards protecting us from the outside world.

After arriving to the airport, Señor Cordova gave us free time to get food in the airport. Most people got Papa Johns or McDonalds and decided to sit outside the food court. Everyone was enjoying their lunch until a family of Peruvians approached us and asked if we were Americans. After saying yes, the family asked us if we could take a picture with them. I thought this was odd at first, but we all got up and took the photo, however awkward it was. As I was thinking about it later, I began to recognize that we were probably the first Americans they had ever seen. I don’t think any of us really thought about this before the fact, as in America it is extremely easy to see a diversity of people.

When we arrived to Arequipa, all of us were amazed by the difference in terrain from Lima. Lima never had any sun and was constantly cloudy, Arequipa was already hot even at 5 o’clock at night. Arequipa also has the tallest mountains I have ever laid my eyes on. I felt like I was looking at Mount Everest.

When we got into the single carousel airport, we immediately saw the families waiting for us outside. They were so excited, it sounded like the crowd of a football game. When I met Gabriel’s mom and Grandma, I was caught off guard with their Spanish. It was embarrassing to tell Gabriel that I couldn’t talk to his mom clearly because I didn’t know enough Spanish.

That night I was introduced to my room in my family’s two story penthouse. With no TV or electronics as always, I know I will finish my book on Steve Jobs. That night, I went to dinner with some other Brophy students at a Chinese-Peruvian restaurant. It was surprisingly good. When I went home that night, I fell asleep instantly, even with the dogs barking because of the fireworks going off. Apparently setting off fireworks for no reason on a weekend is an acceptable thing to do in Peru. I am thrilled at the idea of serving the community here.


2 thoughts on “Arequipa(n) Rocking- Jack Bennan

  1. Thank you for your honesty and sincerity in sharing your experience regarding your immersion trip in Peru.
    It sounds like you are learning a lot regarding the communities that you are visiting. Continue to be open to the people you are meeting and know that you and your amazing group are being lifted up in the prayers of many people back home.
    Safe travels. God Bless!

  2. This photo of the mountain range in Peru is stunning. I bet pictures don’t do justice to what it really looks like.
    I loved hearing about the reunion with your host families. It sounded so joyful. I would guess this was one of the many high lights of your journey throughout Peru. And to be immersed into the home and life of your exchange student. We all look forward to hearing about these day to day experiences with your host families. What was different? What was the same?

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