Thursday, October 27, 2016

Stepping Through a New Door...

As I was heading into uncharted territory, eight years ago today, I created my first blog
My 1st AAS Evaluation Team
post on October 27th. The year 2008 seems like yesterday yet so much happens in eight years. As an aside, I recall moving to Peru just a week or so before the historic election of Barack Obama. I’d been an Obama Mama early on, thinking I could not face 4-8 years of discord between Republicans and Hilary Clinton, thinking Obama would be a better option to avoid the constant discord. Little did I know! I remember being frustrated as there were no news channels in English (nor internet access) so I watched election returns in Spanish--not having a clue what was being said. But the good news is, numbers don’t lie and I could see the results as they came into the networks. Now, as I move on to a new chapter in my life and leave Peru, I find it ironic that I’ll still be here for another historic election, but this time my options for watching election night returns are much greater—and I can understand Spanish, too! And Pamela and I will again share the evening watching the returns. Anyway…

Many of you have followed me from the beginning—others have checked in now and then.
My favorite community--NSJ
I’ve gotten some interesting and mostly positive feedback—so thank you. My time in Peru has been a profound experience. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s willing and able to “step out”, where ever that might be or whatever you might think you’d like to try. You will not be disappointed. But if, for whatever reason you are aren't able to pursue your passion in this way, the support you give those who do is invaluable. We’re all inter-connected, inter-dependent in a vast varieties of ways, large and small. Among the many lessons I’ve learned during my time here, that one has been repeatedly reinforced. None of us are in this alone. I truly hope my blog--or your personal experience here with me--has given you joy and a better understanding of this place and these people. Reminding ourselves that we truly are citizens of the world is only best done once we leave our comfy lives and "step out". 

Reflections on my time in Peru:
  • There really is magic in the jungle, I’ve seen and experienced it many times—or in
    Victoria Regia lily pads
    other words, things just work out in the most mysterious ways.
  • Life in Peru is messy—but where isn’t it? The West just has better window dressing.
  • I’ve learned that people here have an awful lot of room in their hearts for many people beyond their own families and friends—even for a gringa like me. Whatever religion, political party, culture, sex you are…none of this matters—they just take you as you are, looking for the good inside.
  • Hasta mañana is a real motto that people live by—thus American and Peruvian time are two very different things.
  • After 8 years, I’m still the one and only person who brings her lunch to work each day. I’ve never learned to go home for lunch and a nap before returning to the office for a few more hours. Of course, they all think I’m crazy to sit and eat alone out of a paper bag—ya think?
  • No thank you, I don’t want to eat dinner at 10 PM--and never will get used to it.
  • The Amazon River and rain forest are challenging, vibrant and dynamic—but incredibly vulnerable to man’s many abuses and careless disregard.
  • I’ve met some wonderful people who have embraced me, taught me, loved me—always the hardest part of saying goodbye are the many individuals one meets who make life worth living.

The future of the rain forest 

CONAPAC, Explorama, the Adopt A School Program, Clean Water and our rain forest libraries will continue working to provide opportunities to the many people who live along the rivers here—the stewards of this precious resource called the Amazon rain forest. It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of Peru, as well as the many volunteers and co-workers who are too many to count but not forgotten. As in most things, during my tenure in Peru I’ve received far more than I’ve given. I hope my friendship and work here has touched at least one person, making their life better with long-lasting, positive outcomes. I have one more Adopt A School volunteer delivery event to execute at the beginning of next year. I will train our new executive director, along with help from my staff, the volunteers we work with in Peru and the great support we receive from the Detroit Zoo personnel. I will continue serving on the CONAPAC board of directors for the coming years. For a kid born and raised on the streets of Detroit, this little non-profit in the middle the rain forest will always be in my heart.

My 60th Birthday with James

What next? Well, some of you know that I’m getting married soon. Besides all the other reasons I love Peru, without it I would never have met the love of my life, James. We met in the dining room of the ExplorNapo lodge in 2010—the rest is history. Next year, we’ll finish Adopt A School 2017 together then spend next summer in the US. Before the leaves turn, we’ll be on our way back to Perth, Australia, a place I will now call home. Until now, I never imagined living outside the States for almost nine years--but always assumed I’d return. But life is short, I gave the USA 51 years, Peru 9 years so why not a few more in Australia? With luck, it will be quite a few more years filled with the love and joy that centers my life. Perhaps a new blog should be started—life in Australia? It’s definitely a different culture and another world—and in a very nice way, for sure! 

Thank you, again, for your support. Peace be with you always! Cynthia


J. Fess said...

Best wishes Cindy and James...Hope to see you again some time when you visit the US. Julie F.

Anonymous said...

Consider me touched............................Ray