Finding Purpose

Discuss how an event, novel or experience has significantly influenced you or has changed your life.

We were inches from the edge; they were shouting “Dale la vuelta! Dale la vuelta!” (“Go around!”). Unless they moved their truck forward, we would plunge to our deaths, our tires were beginning to slip over the edge of the 2,000-foot cliff.

Our group prepared for the trip for months. It was going to be a grueling 25-hour trip into the Andes in Southern Peru and a lot of hard work once we reached Marca Bamba. I was determined to build, fix, assist, and do whatever the townsfolk needed to be done. I was not prepared for what did happen. The mountain road was only 1.5 cars wide, which made it nearly impossible to pass the oncoming buses or mining trucks without the tires of our truck slipping off the edge and a breathless prayer to keep us from plunging to our deaths. Nor was I prepared for the much less terrifying hardship. The airline lost my luggage, leaving me with only my backpack that contained 1 change of clothes and 6 granola bars. I endured 19th century plumbing, dirty living quarters, and the pangs of hunger. My trip mates shared their provisions, but I still lost 7 pounds in 10 days. I was far, far from home.

After traveling to what seemed like the end of the earth, we arrived in Marca Bamba and began our work. We played...

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