PASEO Program Adventure: Overview

Throughout the past two months, I’ve been living in Huanchaco, Peru, and even though my trip is officially over, I wanted to dedicate a post to the town I called home this past summer. 

“Huanchaco is a surfing and fishing village about 30 minutes north of Trujillo- the capital of the region, La Libertad, and the third biggest city in Peru. Huanchaco is best known for having waves that are surfable year-round and for it’s traditional ancient fishing methods using reed fishing boats called Caballitos de Totora. These boats data back 3,000 years and numerous festivals throughout the year celebrate this fishing culture.

The town of Huanchaco has about 5000 inhabitants, and is home to several shanty towns that are largely populated by migrants from the highlands. Many of these migrants came to the coastal region due to extensive flooding caused by the natural phenomenon El Niño in 1997/1998. In addition to the influx of migrants over the past twenty years, Huanchaco has also had a small but significant increase in the number of European expats living in the area. This population change is largely related to the increasing presence of international NGOs and international schools in the Trujillo area, as well as to the pleasant climate and laid-back lifestyle” (paseoprogram.com).

The peaceful and serene atmosphere in Huanchaco is truly unique and refreshing, and the locals are incredibly kind and welcoming. While it can be difficult adjusting to a new location in a different country, and while it can often be strange and uncomfortable calling another place your home, things are different in this town. In Huanchaco, home is exactly the word one would use to describe the sensation you experience while staying here.

Aside from being able to live in such a wonderful town, throughout this experience, I was fortunate enough to have made such great friends who truly enhanced the feeling of being home. Living and working in Peru alongside incredible individuals in such a beautiful country has been the experience of a lifetime, and one that I hope will take place again in the near future. (Stay tuned for more on that later). 

In the meantime (of course, until tomorrow), I’ll end on this note. It can absolutely be nerve-racking and even terrifying to pick up and move to a different country to pursue a new adventure. We don’t all need to make such drastic changes, but at least being open to new possibilities and adventures is truly important. A challenge that we can all work towards overcoming is not allowing our fears to overpower our desires to pursue new experiences. We never know what awaits us on the other side if we don’t take a leap of faith once in a while and try something new and exciting. 

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PASEO Program Adventure—Day 13: Huanchaco Peru

Today (I’m now two days behind), we started the morning with a class on motivational interviewing. My internship site was closed due to a federal holiday, Day of St. Peter and St. Paul (San Pedro y San Pablo)—a day to celebrate San Pedro, the patron saint of fishermen. Huanchaco was filled with marching bands, parades, and a beautiful celebration by the water, in which large reed rafts, or caballitos de totora are placed into the water. (Still no camera, so use your imagination.)

Seeing as today was more of a slow day to catch up on homework and enjoy the festivities, there isn’t a whole lot to report. We got water heaters installed in the showers throughout the house, which was pretty exciting. I figured I could only comment on one obstacle during my time here, and decided to discuss the rigid toilet paper situation instead. However, now that I have been able to purchase a different brand and the frigid cold water has been changed to lightly cold water, I feel like I am in a place where I can now share that with you.

And just because today really was slow, I’ll share this other story with you. Today I spoke with my grandmother for the first time since my phone fell out of my pocket. Again, I was told by locals that someone either sold the phone or switched out the sim card so they could use it for themselves. My grandmother asked if I could put an ad in the local newspaper asking whoever ended up taking my phone if they could please return the sim card to me. I wish everyone could have this same faith in humanity. And with that, here’s hoping I’ll have something more interesting to report tomorrow.