Cleaning up!

Have you ever taken part in one of these activities?

For me, last Sunday was the first time, and it was such a great way to begin!

Caju-Perú (Comité Ambiental Juvenil), a local organization that joins together volunteers and different groups run by young people with the commitment to preserve the environment and educate population, was celebrating its '8th birthday'. For the occasion, they organised a clean up in a place called 'Lomas de Lúcumo', in Quebrada Verde, Pachacamac.

When I got the invitation, I really didn't know what to expect. I didn't know the place and I only knew a couple of people there besides Tommy.

We woke up very early and went to the meeting point, where around a hundred volunteers congregated. I felt so old! I was probably one of the oldest in the group!

Two extremely crowded buses took us to Quebrada Verde. The place was grey and seemed like a lifeless hill from where we gathered. I was a little worried.

People from all ages and districts of Lima joined the campaign. It was a particular joy to see kids from the community proudly wearing vests that ID them as 'environmental promoters'.

We got instructions and were divided into five brigades. Each brigade took a different path, and armed with gloves and bags started our morning picking up the inorganic waste that we found along the trails.

The higher we got up the hills, the greener they became. Life started to show. It was an amazing climb, picking up lots of garbage, and enjoying the stunning views.

I used my right eye and hand to bird, and my left eye and hand to pick up waste. Right hand was in charge of binoculars, left hand was in charge of cleaning up. It was a bit hard not to stop every two seconds to enjoy the view, as the rest of the volunteers walked faster and focused totally on the goal. I have to admit that I couldn't do both, I was torn between them and kept trying to; but, eventually, I had to give up birding with the promise to return.

High up on the hill (that was our brigade's main goal), the fog and mist around us made me feel as if I was in a magical world. I felt a bit sad watching such a beautiful place and imagining the people who left all those things behind. It was also sad to think of getting back to the grey, super noisy and dirty city.

The way down was harder, it was foggy and slippery. My legs were shaking after four hours of climbing and jumping and generally moving around! I spend too much time in an office. I discovered that I lost some of my strength and drive for these things (it could also be that the average age of the volunteers was ten years younger than me!). But I am moving forward now, trying to do things I enjoy and believe in, together with people I love and care about.

It was an awesome experience that I plan to repeat. I loved the place, its simple beauty and its quiet trails. I loved the activity and the perfect company of great people with such different backgrounds, but united in one single goal. I loved to see so many young people involved in it.

It was awesome. Whatever I could have expected of it, this was by far, so much more. So much better.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

I think it is wonderful that you got out there and did something about the trash. It is also great that so many young people are doing this. Hopefully it will cause a chain reaction and they won't trash nature and they will pass along the will for others not to trash nature. It is up to the young ones to carry on.

shirl said...

Hola Mel, Well done to you all… it is a fantastic experience to work together like this. Hopefully everyone will have enjoyed it as much as you. Thanks for sharing your pics… looking forward to seeing some birding ones next time you visit this area ;-)

Oh… just got my ‘garden visit’ posting up you mentioned if you want to share it. There is a link to a previous visit at Kinross House… if you scroll down that you’ll see some video footage of young swallows being fed :-D

Besos… wishing you a good week :-D

P. Ollig said...

I agree. It's great to see such a large group of younger folks helping out! I always try to sign up for these types of things whenever they come up.

Thanks for doing your part!

Mel said...

¡Hola chic@s!

Yes, it was fun and I do believe it will start a chain reaction. Maybe small, but good anyway.

I want to see some birdies too! I'll stop by your blog and see that garden post.

I'll start doing more of those, those things are good fun.

Gallicissa said...

Hola Mel,
This looks very interesting.
I have not participated in any organised campaigns of this nature, but I have on many occassions done it myself, lowkey.

Nice to see your happy faces!

Q said...

Hola Mel,
What a wonderful experience for you and for Nature. Teaching respect, cleaning up and taking care is wonderful. I pick up litter whenever I walk or hike and in my front yard all the time. Why people litter I do not understand. I guess they have no self respect so they do not respect nature.
A great compaign.

Sherry at the Zoo said...

Sounds like a great way to spend the day....

RuthieJ said...

Good job -- way to go Mel and the rest of your group!
I have participated in highway clean-up many times. I wish every person who was caught throwing garbage out their car windows would have to spend hours cleaning up the highway and maybe they'd be more responsible about throwing trash out the window!

Cassie said...

It would be great if the proper disposal of garbage is taught in schools so that the children will follow the right way of managing waste and help save our environment.