Small, Unexpected Moments #3
This is a post about the time we woke up to a loud speaker inviting the entire town to send us off at 5AM.
Floating in and out of sleep with visions of yesterday’s glorious descent from 4,500 meters, we awoke this morning to the sound of what could have easily been mistaken for a marching call at a military camp. Some kind of announcement was blaring throughout the valley. Still rubbing our puffy eyes, we rolled out of our sleeping bags to the sight of dozens of young kids attempting to fold tent poles and pluck stakes from the ground. Once their families and the local school principal showed up, we finally put the pieces together: the pueblo-wide announcement we heard was to invite everyone to send off the crazy group of cyclists who had set up camp on the soccer field the day before.
In Nazca, the riders pooled together some money in anticipation of making a donation of toys and sports equipment to a small school in Cortaruse. After a day of shopping around the local stores, we arrived to Cortaruse loaded up with tennis rackets, basketballs, volleyballs, jump rope, and even a handful of chess boards (per the teacher’s request). After the kids sang us a lovely song about their local Apu (mountain spirit) to start the day, we emptied the bag of goodies to roughly 30 wide-eyed young students – all of them were giddy with excitement yet none had ever seen the likes of a traveling caravan of crazy foreign cyclists.
And so our day began with a herd of singing Peruvian students and the principal, who gave an inspiring and touching speech about the importance of using sport as a way of collaborating “…because someday you’ll leave the pueblo and if we work together like these cyclists from all over the globe, we can accomplish great things in a world that is currently in a crisis of values.” she concluded.