In the B-School classes, I have noticed that all my phenomenal classmates have so many wonderful thoughts to share. That really makes the whole Fisher experience unique and out of this world. I love writing blogs, but one thing that I don’t like about it is its individualistic demeanor. I want all my classmates to speak out of my blog and with that intention in mind, I have decided to introduce my classmates to the blog from time to time.
This week I will introduce Nick Derrien. He is a Frenchman who has taught English to the Chinese. He is very fluent in Spanish and learned it while working at a school in Bolivia . He dreams of alleviating poverty from the face of the earth.
Over to you, Nick.
” By far the best thing I have done so far is visit Macchupicchu and Wynapicchu in Peru. For the curious ones, Wynapicchu is the tall mountain you see in lots of pictures behind Mannupichhu. To get there, you have to wake up at 4:00am to climb up to Macchupicchu and be one of the first 400 people in line, and people get up even earlier to be there. We made it to the top at about 5am and were one of the first 75 people…a bunch of tired, delirious, hungry, thirsty, but super happy 20-30 year olds. 30 minutes later there were a ton of people. Long story short, we made it to the top of Wynapicchu and it was an incredible view…maybe one of the coolest things I’ve even seen.
Oh, also, how can I forget taking part in some Peruvian mountain witchcraft practices. On this 4 day hike to Macchupicchu, I started to feel sick after eating or drinking something. We got to Santa Terresa, some small town in the mountains where they have hot springs, and the guide, who was super nice, tried to find some special tea, and managed to do so at a local’s place. The hut consisted of 4 pieces of sheet metal with the same type roof. The room was no bigger than 10 by 10 feet and housed a family of 5. One horribly decrepit bed, an old picnic like table, some makeshift over, and a few chairs all on a dirt floor. Rotting fish lay on the table, surrounded by flies , which the mother was preparing for dinner. The kids were eating raw eggs. Anyway, my guide victor asked them for this special tea, and after I drank it, I started to feel sick, so I ran out and promptly threw up! I immediately felt better and walked back in. I tried to say thank you and give them a couple of soles, the currency, but the guide told me that I needed to stay.
Then it got weird. I had to sit down on the stool. Victor, my guide, came over and started to pass an herb around my head, my body, and then told me to inhale. He did it three times and then told me to spit on it three times, all the while humming something. At this point I still didn’t know what was going on, and was wondering when the earth was going to open up and we would all be swallowed up. Then they, the residents, brought him some type of alcohol, which actually smelled refreshing, but also really, really strong. Victor did about the same thing as before, passing it around my head, rubbing in on my face and arms, inhaling, etc. This time, I didn’t have to spit on his hands! I thought it was over, but then he brought out some ‘rum’ and poured out a cap full. I told him I didn´t know how I would react i.e. whether I’m going to throw up if I take this stuff. But I did…and I did (throw up)! And so guess what, we started all over again. This time, I concentrated so hard not to throw up when it was time to take this shot again, and thankfully I passed.
I learned after the fact, which would have been nice to know before, that the belief is that if you throw up after walking in the mountains, you have inhaled an evil spirit, and it is necessary to cleanse your body of this spirit. I tell the story in a joking way, partly because I had only left the comfort of the US a week before, but please don’t overlook the incredible spirit of these Peruvians. Victor, who had no real obligation to look after me while I was sick, went completely out of his way to try to help me when I needed it. And he did so without asking for anything whatsoever in return (in fact, he even gave the family several soles, a large sum for both he and the family, and did so thinking that I didn’t see it). The family, who themselves didn’t ask for anything, opened their house and gave me everything they knew to and had to try to help me get better. While the remedy was definitely not typical, the gesture and manner with which it was done was incredible. I will remember both Victor and the family for a very long time.“