by Jaclyn Lee, Marketing & Communications Intern

When I think of Petronila, I instantly think of the cutest, kindest, most loving woman I have ever met. I had never been outside of the United States before I arrived in Peru and I was nervous about the different challenges that come with living in a new country. The second I met Petronila, I realized I arrived in a place I could call home. She is a caretaker in the truest sense of the word – she is always trying to provide every comfort possible whether it’s plenty of food or a big hug. She has a truly radiant, kind spirit and animals flock to her. When she was hospitalized last week for pneumonia, the house cat cried for hours every night until she returned.

Petronila just turned 77 and I’m so happy I was able to spend it with her; celebrating another year of joy that she has added to the Sacred Valley. Her happiness is contagious. Every morning, she greets me with a huge smile followed by the endearing phrase, “Hola Mamí!” and at meals she finds it hilarious when I ask for less food. My time in Peru is sadly coming to an end and as I reflect on my time here, I’m really grateful I was able to experience everything a homestay has to offer and forge relationships that I will remember long after I leave.