As Peru’s capital and one of South America’s largest cities, Lima is bursting with culture-- they are known for their locally caught and grown food, beautiful scenery, and unique shopping centers. The required vaccinations and inability to drink the tap water or flush the toilet paper outweighed all the city had to offer. I have never pictured myself adventuring all the way down to South America, but I am now forever grateful for the experiences and memories I made, and I’m already itching to return.
I was never a sandwich girl, but La Lucha changed me. Their Pollo con Pîna sandwich was the perfect combination of sweet and savory. It consists of locally-grown and grilled sliced pineapple placed in between grilled chicken and cheese. This hot panini will cheese pull so hard you’ll be boomeranging for days. You should see the rest of the menu. ‘Nough said.
We couldn’t resist the high waves and beautiful views from the water, so inevitably surfing was a must. The surf huts lined the beach’s shore, and the workers were extremely enthusiastic and inviting. They fit us in our wetsuits, administered a mini lesson on proper stance and steps, and guided us into the ocean. For only 30 solas (10 dollars) we spent hours riding the waves while enjoying the hot sun, cool water, and view of the surrounding city.
Lacomar was our spot. This shopping center was located atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean. The center is filled with outdoor restaurants and bars with views of the water and nightly sunsets. Ice cream shops, trendy clothing stores, and overall happy people made this our favorite destination. The Indian market was also one of our favorite spots. This outdoor marketplace was filled with shops to which we were able to barter on Alpaca blankets, scarves, colorful jewelry, and Peruvian souvenirs.
This excursion required a 3am wake up and 4 hour bus ride outside of Lima, but it was beyond worth it. The day began at Paracas, Ica where we boated along Peru’s coast through its caves. Seals and penguins proudly posed for our fire Instagram stories. The next portion of the excursion called for an hour bus ride to the desert where we went dune buggying and sand surfing. We strapped in tight to the dune buggies as they sped up and over the steep hills of the desert until we reached the three sets of slopes for the sand surfing. At the end of the day we were all so tired out, the 5 hour bus ride put us all to sleep.
MEDlife Service Work
Don’t let the adventures above fool you, the true reason I came to Lima was to help better the lives of others through the organization, MEDlife (medicine, education, and development). The service involved assisting in medical treatments, and improving the environment within these communities through projects such as building stairs over previously dangerous pathways. Just venturing 30 minutes outside of the touristy heart of Lima, these communities with no running water, little electricity, and trash-filled dirt roads- lay in poverty. The medical stations covered everything from dental work, general medicine, OBGYN, triage, pharamicitual, and an instrucutional tooth brushing station for children. We also worked alongside one of the communities to build a massive staircase to improve its safety conditions. We ended our service work in a communal celebration party hosted by the gracious, kind, and welcoming community. Reflecting on our time and work in these rural, impoverished areas changed my outlook on how I live my life. Here at Fairfield we take even the most minor things we have for granted (not just being able to flush the toilet paper, but having actual toilet paper and a toilet to flush is a major amenity to our lives which never even crosses our mind).
If you are interested in joining MEDlife, contact Gabriella Cutrali!
If you’re hesitant about exploring the world, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone… go for it… and go to Lima. There are many places to go, foods to eat, and people to meet. I also encourage you to gain a new perspective on your own life while bettering the lives of others through service work. Yes, the food, shopping centers, and excursions were a blast, but the service work was what truly made my experience worth wild and is what left me with the strongest impact.