April 3, 2012

Departure

Two-thirty in the morning — it’s time to board the bus for the airport.  The streets are quiet.  The students are thoughtful.  Three months have gone so quickly.  But their arrival in January seems so long ago.

We got checked in for the flight, said our goodbyes and took one last group photo.  Travel well!

One student summed up the experience with a poem:  “Tell Me About Peru SST”

A llama with thick, matted fur and glazy blue eyes,

On a lonely mountainside … spits.

A miniature red and white moto-taxi revs its miniature engine.

Cuy, your dinner, stares at you.

Combate – teams red, green – combat from six to eight.

A thick glass bottle of yellow bubble gum Inka Kola

Into the first Peru SST 2012 we delve.

The smell of a rain in Cusco still lingers,

A time when we hurled imaginary rocks at dangerous dogs.

There were other rocks too, larger,

Ruins with ancient stories from an ancient people.

The trees planted, the hundreds of trees planted,

All done wrong according to Luis Delgado.

Peruvian boys gawking at gringa girls

Wanting to be enamorados.

Surrounded by gorgeous mountains

While gorging on mounds of rice.

(Does Oswaldo know he has sunscreen on his face?!)

¡Pasaje!  ¡Pasaje!  ¡Baja!  ¡Baja!

The pale evening city sky, muted by pollution,

Holds us in its spans as we ride in public transit

From a day of lectures, workshops, Castellano, to adopted homes.

To mom, to dad, to a house dog that does not require the harsh discipline of an imaginary rock.

A place where the rain does not come.

Minutes morphed into months until we left city days behind,

Waving from oversized rectangular buses,

Pulling off to the destination of far, far away.

[Now is the time for individual, personal reflection,

for I can’t write this poem about your individual,

personal service experiences…]

<pause 10 seconds>

…There.  Now you have processed the past six weeks.  Good.

All throughout this time in Peru,

We’ve paid pasajes:

          micros,

          buses,

          motos.

Now we have airplane ticket pasajes

That will carry us to a different far, far away.

We will leave with Amish beards and too many souvenirs.

The matted fur, blue-eyed llama with spittle will be suddenly endearing.

We’ll leave our three new homes for our originals,

Reunited with our camas.

And as the North American stars sparkle above our roofs,

We will toss and turn, finally getting up to pee,

And toss

          the TP

                    in

                              the

                                        trash.

Annabeth Tucker

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