Greetings From Tacna

On June 19, 2013, in 2013, by Leslie Hanson

This is my second year experiencing the Peru Immersion trip.  I don’t need to tell you how much I enjoyed it based on the fact that I came back! This week we are all staying with families in a Habitat for Humanity area just five minutes outside of Tacna. I am lucky enough to live with the same family I stayed with last year, the Caimanques.  When I arrived they greeted me with open arms and we picked up right where we left off last year.  This is my favorite part of the trip because I have made true connections with my siblings here in Peru.  It has gotten to the point where, like real family members, we mess with each other and make fun of one another.  This is the part of the trip in which I think that your Spanish really improves. At first it is difficult to pick up on all of the words because the Peruvians speak so quickly, but usually if you pick out two or three words you can make a guess at what they are saying.  But if that fails you can just play a little charades and you can try figure out what they are asking. Communication is also easier when two of the children in your family know some English!  I speak in Spanish to the kids and they respond in English and if any of us make mistakes we correct each other.  The parents are a little bit harder to communicate with, but my Peruvian mother, Yemile, is so welcoming and loving and she always wants me to eat more.  I swear I eat more in one meal here than I do the whole day at home! The home itself is nothing special, but it is the people that live in it that give it its character. It must be difficult to share one bathroom between five people; I don’t know how they do it. The family is always trying to accommodate for me and I have to force my way into helping with the dishes, my mom would be so proud. I love it here and hope this awesome, but unusual, relationship can last a long time. I cannot come back next year with Brophy as I will be heading off to college, but I hope that I can spend time with my Peruvian family again in the near future!

Ps. Love you mom and dad…

Alex Ross

I’m sure you have heard this before, but it amazes me how happy the people are here. I asked my family in Tacna why everyone is so happy in Peru despite lack of basic necessities like a toilet seat. The Mother, Laura, responded: “There is so much to be happy about.” As we have been traveling, It’s obvious that most people here are not as fortunate as us. So what exactly are we missing? If we have more material objects, then doesn’t that mean we should be happier? Maybe it’s our ignorance to appreciate what we have, or failure to be in the moment (as Deacon would say). Over this trip, I am determined to find out what makes the people here so much happier than we are back in the United States. On the plane ride here, I read something inspiring out of a book that Alex had. The quote was: “Humans, at their basic level, are kind and loving.” I believe that this is the reason why we came to Peru. We came to strip away our luxuries and comforts to reach our simplest form. A form of love and compassion.

Kyle Scheuring

Since this is going to be one of the last blog posts, I won’t be able to talk about the whole trip from the beginning, but I can tell you that the night we arrived I was intimidated quite a bit. Once we were outside, the smell hit me, and right then I was already doubting my decision to come here. Now looking back to that day, I realize how much of a selfish and first world though that was. I absolutely love Peru. The people here in Tacna like us for the most part, but the people in Lima gave us nasty looks and called us “gringos” and “leches”. When we first arrived in Tacna I immediately saw that it was quieter, cleaner, and we could actually see the sky. In Lima, there is trash every, pollution in the sky, and there is always some driver of at moto-taxi, taxi, or a bus, honking their horns. The next thing I thought was that I am excited to meet my family. We got to the school, and as my friend put it “auctioned off” to our families. My dads name is JuanCarlo and my mom’s name is Delcy (Del-si). They are very nice. I figured out on the second night, that they gave up their room for me to sleep in, and for that I was very grateful. One of the first things my mom said is that “My house is your house, and you can eat whatever you want”. My mom will always make food for me whenevery I asked. One night after plaubg soccer, she made me and brother, Anthony(not a joke), soup, I thought it was the greatest thing.

In  conclusion I love it here in Tacna, and I look forward to visiting Machu Picchu, and the last week of our adventures.

Tony Pagnillo .

“Make sure you are persistent that you need to be back at six; they don’t really do time here.”  The soccer coach laughed and tossed his hands up in the air.  The coach, a Spaniard who came to Peru to volunteer at a free afterschool soccer program sponsored by Real Madrid, was worried that we wouldn’t be back on time because, in Peru, time is more of a suggestion than an absolute.  As we tried to communicate to the two women supervising our travel in our Tarzan-like Spanish that we had to be back at our Casa De Los Ninos by six, they insisted that they understood but, when the time came, they checked their watches with confused faces.  Here, clocks are almost as scarce as mirrors and our new excuse for being late for our nightly reflections is that ‘we were on Peru time’.

The loose time is both a blessing and an annoyance: it’s difficult to be considered late to anything, but we do risk being late for cramming all of us gringos into one house to watch the NBA Finals.  The loose time might explain the difference in our sports as well.  The shot clock is always twenty-four seconds and there are always twelve minute quarters, but in soccer there’s extra time at the end of the game and it’s subjective. The teachers even adopted this new way of telling time as we walked briskly through the airport at 5:10 to board our 5:30 flight on our way to Tacna.

At the start of our work, the minutes tick away as slow as the gimp dog that hobbles by the church each morning but once we engage ourselves in the work, time becomes secondary and we are able to enjoy what we came to Peru for.  This same idea is applicable to the entire trip. Days have seemed tedious and long, but reflecting upon the time we’ve been here, we still have the good sense ofuncomfortability that comes with immersing yourself in the unfamiliar.

By Carter Watson and Scott Fitzgerald


5 Responses to Greetings From Tacna

  1. Shelly Scheuring says:

    Kyle–we are so happy to “hear” from you via the blog and proud that you are having the experience we hoped you would. You will come back from Peru with your eyes and heart wide open. Our biggest thanks to Senor Cordova, Deacon, Mrs. Parise and Mrs. Hanson for shepherding you on this journey. Milo and Atticus and all of us miss you. Love you and travel safe.

    love, mom

  2. Patrick Scheuring says:

    Hey Kyle, glad to hear that you are getting a lot out of your adventure to Peru. You usually meet a lot of unforgettable people on these trips that help change how you view the world and how you view yourself; it seems like you have found that with your hospitable “mom” and “dad.” Enjoy your last few days there, and I’ll see you when you get back!

  3. Michael Scheuring says:

    Hi Kyle –
    So good to see your post. You are having such a tremendous experience and we are grateful it’s making an impression. Trips like this can be life changing so pay attention to Deacon and “live in the moment.”
    Make sure you get in some good pictures over the last few days. You are going to one of the most amazing sites in the world.
    Travel safe and see you soon. Love, Dad.

  4. Dominic Scheuring says:


    It is refreshing (and encouraging) to hear about your literal and figurative stripping away of ‘baggage,’ may that be possessions, routines, seemingly important yet uncomfortably petty problems, or even those wonderful gourmet chicken tenders supplied by Michaels. If you’ve been embracing the moment, as Deacon stressed, I shouldn’t have to tell you to that you will remember that family for the rest of your life. Not only will they and their situation with all of its complexities become a catalyst for reflecting upon your own life, but their actions of hospitality and love will teach you what it is to be more fully human. And I emphasize the word action in particular, because embodying the compassion and love you speak of is more than attitude, more than recalling a hazy memory of this family you stayed with 20 years from now. It is a conscious decision, or rather a response to a question that is demanded from you on a daily basis. Do you choose to act compassionately, with intention, and with charity, or do you remain in attractive silence, as many of us are prone to do?

    I hope you’ll find experiential truth in David Foster Wallace’s incredibly simple yet profound words:

    “The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.”

    See you at home,


  5. Margaret and Dan says:

    Tony we are glad to hear you are having a good time, meeting new people, experiencing different cultures and receiving the kindness of strangers that took you in as family. We know this trip experience will stay with you forever. Make sure to bring home the receipe for you Tacna Mom’s soup. We miss you and are happy you will be home soon. Love Dad, Mom, Maddie and Mary.

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