by Veena, Zhiyi & Iris, Civic Semester Participants
We spent our first evening wandering the plaza and exploring the local market. Vendors selling woven bags, clothing, and hundreds of colorful fruits dressed each corner of the streets. Being in the local market reminded me of home and how desperately I wanted to share the beautiful tropical fruits with my family. It reminded me of my aunt, who stops us on the corner of every street to pick fruits, my grandma’s lemon trees, and my parents and siblings, who display their love by cutting fruit for each other. We entered our new home in Urubamba, welcomed with bananas, apples, and freshly squeezed juice, and at the market with tons of fruits I could never get at home. Sharing fruit is my family’s love language, and knowing that it is a part of the community here makes me feel so much closer to home.
It’s very exciting to see all the fruits and vegetables sitting there, group by group, freshly. It seems that they’ve just been picked from the trees. They are not beautiful ones with no stains. Some of them are even wrapped in mud, totally different from what I find in US supermarkets. This scene actually reminds me of home. My family always believes the best and freshest food comes from piles in the market instead of the prettily packaged ones on goods shelves. It is always an amazing experience to discover how tasteful the fruits can be after carefully selecting my favorite ‘ugly’ ones from a large pile. I can’t wait to visit the market more and develop my ability to identify better plants.
As the sun set, we gathered on the steps in front of the church, shimmering golden in the late evening light; a group of teenagers gathered outside and began to dance. They wore white and blue skirts over their pants for practice, moving in nearly perfect synchronizations up and down the landing. Teagan and Sophia asked to join them, and before long, a group of us stood in the back, trying our best to keep up. The girls would look back at us every few steps, ensuring we followed along, laughing at our clumsiness. The sun set, the only light coming from the bubbling fountain and church behind us as we all took a bow, our bright rain jackets and their white skirts coming together as we spun and smiled.