Amy Huang shares a very personal and tender story of a letter and the memories it brought to her of the people she will never forget. Read about the friends she made in Peru who will also never forget her.
A letter arrives
I never get letters anymore… almost everyone on this planet now has an email account and communication through Twitter and Facebook has become common.
That’s why I was over the moon when the mail came a few weeks back with an envelope with my name on it among the pile of bills and advertising.
The envelope had a hotel in Brisbane embossed on it, and in it was a short note accompanying yet another envelope.
Hi, we just came back from Peru and spent an amazing night with a family in Peru. When they heard we were from Australia they gave me this letter to give to you. I didn’t know you, but here it is and I hope it brings good news.
Intrigued, I tore open the second envelope and started reading.
Hola mi amiga Amy….
It took me only two seconds to realize who this letter was from: Esteban Giuppse, the father of the family I stayed with for three weeks while I volunteered at the local school on Amantani Island in Peru.
It had been three years since our trip, and I can still remember the tears that he shed when we hugged each other goodbye.
The island is isolated from the mainland community and has no electricity, nor roads, it has no postal nor telecommunication facilities; families often rely on travelers for news of the outside world.
And it seems that Esteban had taken the opportunity of meeting Australian travelers to send a letter to me.
The letter brought news of the children growing up, the condition of their family crops and updates from the school; most of all, that the family missed us and asked when we would be returning.
A tear smudged the edge of the paper. The couple who forwarded the letter had inserted a photograph of the family and I can see that they were doing well, their weather-worn faces frozen into lovely smiles.
Encounters with unforgettable people
Throughout my travels I have encountered people that I’ll never forget, people whom I thought were just chance meetings became close friends and in this case, family.
I have traveled to many exotic, different cultural destinations, and etched deeply in my memories on each of the journeys are the people I meet.
From the first handshake, to the awkward conversations helped with hand gestures, to the midnight chats over a cup of tea or the laughter we shared; from the adults to the toddlers, the teachers to the students and often other travelers too.
One thing that bonds all of us together is our curiosity for each other, and despite what the media says about the dangers of the world, I am not convinced we have a reason to hate each other.
I pinned the letter on my wall along with the photo of the family and began compiling a reply.
I am not sure when I’ll get to see them again, but their smiles, their generosity to share what little they had with me, and the simple life they lived will stay with me forever.
Have you also made special connections with people you have met on your journeys? Do you have a story to share of a deep bond you have with someone on the other side of the globe? Tell us your story, or comment below on Amy’s lovely article.