About a month ago while I was scanning my Facebook news feed, I noticed that a few of my friends had mentioned that they were away on “business trips”. I love to travel and the idea of being able to travel with work always enticed me. I know it would be work, but the adventure of going somewhere always sounded great. While reading the wonderful places my friends were jetting off to, like London, San Francisco, Venice and Washington DC, I found myself wanting to trade places with them and go myself. But after a few minutes, I didn’t think much more about it.
A couple nights ago, I returned from spending almost the past two weeks on the road. Starting in Kawai, our property located 88km south of Lima on the Pacific Ocean, I helped a water filtration team from Tennessee install a system on the property. Kawai and I have a long history since it is the location that I visited on my first trip in 2001, and then kept returning to for the 7 years with a group from First Presbyterian. It is a beautiful piece of beach front property with lots of green grass, palm trees and wonderful people. After a few days in Kawai and another couple days in Lima, we boarded a plane to head north to Iquitos and our boys home at Puerto Alegria. The water team had an installation planned for a church in the district of Punchana (just outside Iquitos) and wanted to perform some maintenance on their system at Puerto Alegria. Since the team spoke little Spanish, and part of their program includes teaching about the importance of using clean, purified water and how to properly and effectively wash your hands, I went with them to help teach.
Working with the children a church in Punchana.
The Living Waters team with their install at Kawai.
After spending a couple weeks with the group, it was time to return home. As packed up my suitcase and boarded the plane to Lima, I couldn’t help thinking, “Why would I be so silly and want to trade places with my business traveling friends?!” They get to go to neat places and travel with work, but hey – so do I! They go to cities where they only know work colleagues, stay in impersonal hotels and just work all day. But when I travel with work, I go to work with friends, stay in their homes and not just “work” all day, but get to have fun. Lots of fun.
I get to see people like Jherry, our house father and director of the home in Puerto Alegria.
I get to spend time with people like Wixler, who I have known for many years.
And, I get to take silly photos with silly boys. (Thank you Luis for that photobomb…)
So, even though I’m not going off to the same wonderful places I dreamed of as a child, I’m going to familiar places – to where people know me and I know them; to people who greet me with open arms and to a job that is never completed.
And all of that is just fine with me.