"Why Peru?" people asked me when they heard about our plans for spring break. After all, I am not known to navigate South American jungle mountaintops in my spare time. I seldom daydream about crossing rickety suspension bridges over roaring rapids, or fording deep, stinky mud puddles on a borrowed mountain bike. I don't believe I've ever waxed poetic about spending quality time with a cell phone deprived teenager.
And yet, I found myself in Peru. Doing all of those things. And more.
There are two possible explanations:
1) I read a book called Secret of the Andes when I was ten. It's about an orphaned Inca boy who lives hidden away in the Peruvian mountains with a wise old man and a herd of llamas. The boy goes on a journey (with the llamas), discovers something important and meaningful, then returns home to the wise old man who knew all along he'd be back. Despite being a small black girl from a nuclear family in a pancake flat area of urban D.C., I somehow subliminally internalized this story as my personal destiny.
2) There is a god.
Given the weight that was lifted from me up in those mountains, and the joy in these faces, I am going with number 2.