As I was hiking this weekend, I just so happened to run into a family of Peruvians on the trail! We started talking, and they informed me that SLC was having a big Peruvian party downtown that very day in honor of Peru's Fiestas Patrias- Independence Day! Before I knew it, I was surrounded by the smells of aji de gallina, picarones, ceviche, and Inca Cola - and serendaded with some traditional Peruvian music (I am still waiting for my hearing to return to normal) :)
I can't describe how much joy I felt to be reunited with the culture I grew to call my own from the past year. I've had little bits and pieces of Peru flavor trickle into my life here in Utah lately - meeting Peruvian exchange students at my church, bonding with the staff at my new favorite restaurant "Que Rico Peru" on 3rd west and 21st south, browsing "La Pequeñita" market on state street... but the event was a beautiful and unique reminder of the amazing people, food, and traditions of the Peruvian culture. Call me a silly gringa, but I felt like I was "home."
What's even better than a bunch of Peruvians in Salt Lake.. are a bunch of Peruvians in Trujillo!!! Tommorrow I'm headed back to Peru for 3 weeks!
The itinerary includes:
- Regis DPT students service learning trip - we will meet with leaders at the Peru Ministry of Health, tour rehabilitation facilities in Lima and Trujillo, and forge an alliance with local universities in Trujillo
-Field work with Proyecto Rehabilitación con Esperanza - the new community based rehab project is in full swing and we'll be doing home visits with the kids and training sessions with families/caregivers and community health agents
-2nd annual international physical therapy conference - a 2-day continuing education event focusing on physical therapy management of cerebral palsy and stroke
-1 day of tourism and (hopefully!) a little surfing! ;)
But what I'm most excited about is getting to see my family, friends, nuns, mother's in the support group, PT colleagues/coworkers, and old patients!
Special thanks to Sarah Hansford and Cindy Potter for graciously volunteering their time and resources to make the conference happen - Regis University, Nancy Mulligan and Regis DPT students Julie Reagan, Leesa Henderson, Janelle Brown, Ryan Gary, and John Klapheke for all of the teamwork and planning - St. Catherine of Siena Newman Center community for supporting the fundraising efforts - CMMB and Claudia Llantén for making all of this possible.
Nos vemos prontito Peru!!!