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Study Abroad | July 27, 2017

Amantani Island

Faith Winston

After hours cruising through the lake and stopping by to visit several islands, we docked on Amantani Island for the night. After eating lunch, relaxing, hiking, and watching the sun set over the lake, we had dinner with the members of our new family. Freddy, his wife Violeta, and their daughter Julissa welcomed us with their hospitality and warm faces. This dinner was definitely a highlight of the trip for me and many of my classmates. I will never forget sitting alongside these amazing people in the small, dark, kitchen area. We sat and talked as we held our warm soup bowls and tea cups in our cold hands. Freddy shared information with us about the herbal remedies that he learned from his ancestors who lived there before him. In the middle of dinner, he even went outside and brought in different herbs and told us what each one is used for. These herbs are used for anything from altitude sickness and colds to severe labor pains. I was fascinated that he helped his wife deliver her two children and the only pain medicine that she had was tea from one of the herbs found on the island. Although we only stayed on Amantani Island for this night, we learned valuable information about natural medicine. After a great conversation at dinner and an evening fiesta with the entire village, I was left in awe by the vast amount of knowledge and love that exists on such a small island. The next morning, Freddy walked us down to the dock to say goodbye. It was time for us to leave the island, but I believe that we left pieces of ourselves there, and took with us enough memories to last a lifetime.  (originally published June 18, 2017)