One year ago, two days after my 22nd birthday, I said goodbye to my family and friends and got on a plane to Lima, Peru, thinking that I would be interning there for the next two months. My mom kept jokingly posting "#rachelsnevercominghome" and teasing me that I was going to stay in Peru because I loved it so much. As it turns out, as always, she was completely right.
I have spent the last year living and working in San Juan de Lurigancho, Lima, Peru while also being a full-time student and to say it has been difficult would be an understatement. Living in a new culture and working in a job that I have almost no experience with can make it feel like every day I am being told that I am doing something wrong. Working with families, children and college students who have been through unspeakable and unimaginable things throughout their lives can leave me feeling completely discouraged and hopeless, questioning how so much hate and darkness can even exist. I can't tell you how many times I have felt completely unqualified to be doing the work that I am doing; but I am always reminded that God doesn't call the equipped, rather he chooses to equip those he has called. Reminding myself of this, I find joy in the process of learning and adventure that fills my life right now.
I find inspiration in my Peruvian brothers and sisters whose strength to overcome outweighs the circumstances that have tried to overcome them. I love that I am living in a constant state of inconsistencies where I have to fall back on faith just to know that I am going to make it through the day. Most of all, I am thankful for my family and friends, both here in Peru and in the United States, who have been encouraging me through this whole process. I really can’t fully express how much I appreciate you guys helping me make it through my first year living and working in my favorite place in the world ❤️