Peru In Color

Today is the reality show that is the US election.

But instead of flooding my mind with a sea of fear and disgust, I avoided social media all day, and I went to my tattoo artist tonight. [The Bee's Nest, Fargo]

I have a tattoo of a world map on my forearm, and I'm filling it in with color as I travel. Last February, I went to South America where I was able to volunteer at an orphanage for teen moms and their babies. That was nine months ago, and I still hadn't filled in the tiny portion of Peru on my arm. Actually, until a couple weeks ago, I was hardly able to talk about the experience. Or at least what the experience was really like.

Yes, I visited Machu Picchu and met amazing volunteers. Sure, the mountains were beautiful and the colors were radiant. 

But the streets were polluted, the government was corrupt, stray dogs filled the streets, running water was rare, and poverty was a way of life.

Children didn't seem to notice the filth, but the frown lines became more prominent as I met people whose eyes were immersed in fear. 

One of the mothers at the orphanage was twelve years old. Twelve. And the moms spent countless hours making bracelets to sell in the streets. 

While there are many people in the US living in less than ideal situations, including poverty and homelessness, the opportunities in this country know no bounds. 

We live in a country that lets us dream. We live in a country where adversity can be overcome. No matter what happens tonight, may we remind ourselves of the luxuries we often take for granted. 

It was difficult for me to get my tattoo filled in because I didn't feel like I accomplished enough, or made a big enough difference in a developing country. Tonight, I got a little piece of my map completed in honor of and in gratitude for the country and the people who helped develop me into a better person. 

What part of your map could use a little more color?

World Map Tattoo