Dissolving Borders | Day 1 in Peru | A Day of Friendship

Day 1 of Peru Trip - a day of friendship 

We've finally arrived! 


Sunday was our first day in Peru. We had such a great day and have learned so much already about the culture here - especially about the food!

One of the first things we did was attend a Friendship Breakfast. The Peru Y has been doing this since they were created back in 1920. It started with 5 people but yesterday there were close to 500 people! It was a great morning filled with caring (hugs and kisses for everyone regardless if they knew you or not), music and great food. What was interesting to us was that their Sunday morning breakfasts are larger than the typical breakfast. Eva from The Learning Circle YMCA in Summit had pork and sweet potato on a delicious roll and chicken tamale. Krishma from the Berkeley Heights YMCA branch enjoyed a huge bowl of fruit including pineapple, papayas and bananas and strawberry yogurt. The yogurt was much more of a liquid (almost a smoothie).


Coffee is also poured differently at the table. There is a pitcher of strong brewed coffee (looked like syrup), you pour this into your mug (only a little) and then you add the hot water to it. It was delicious! Even Krishma who uses a lot of sugar in her coffee only put a few sugar crystals in!

Eva’s sister brought us Grenadillas. A fruit that you peel and actually hear the cracking of the shell. You eat the seeds – it was soooooo sweet!

Ok – it’s obvious that we like the food!

Onto the Y – at the friendship breakfast, children who were very articulate and well poised from the YMCA school spoke. The school is a private school and the money goes to the Y. It runs primary school through high school. There is only one class per grade.

There was a quartet playing music during the event. Krishma and I recognized a song as the Simon and Garfunkel song “If I could” from the 70s. We learned that it is actually an orchestral piece from Peru “El Condor Pasa” written in 1913. Amazing!

The devotion and prayer part of the Y is very important in Peru. The meal began with reading from the bible and there was a prayer done blessing the food. Peru is about 80% catholic.

Later in the afternoon we had the pleasure of joining the locals at a backyard bbq (technically it was a restaurant but it felt like a home) and watched the Peru v Saudi Arabia futbol game. Peru won 3 nil and the crowd was going wild! We ate again – and enjoyed some local beer (don’t drink from the bottle, it is considered rude!). This time chicken and pork ribs with sundried potatoes. Everything was delicious!

We got to see some of the beautiful city and inhaled the salty air of the Pacific! Somehow we ended up at the mall where Krishma picked up a Peru Pandora charm for her bracelet. On a side note, did you know that it is possible to be 60 degrees and humid? - My hair didn’t know this before!

We're looking forward to Monday and all the learnings that it will bring when we tour the facilities at the YMCA of Peru!


Pam Halpin

Pam Halpin


Email: pam.halpin@thesay.org

Phone: (908) 273-3330 ext. 1134



To learn more about various upcoming events at the Summit Area YMCA, please visit www.thesay.org/calendar 

About the Summit Area YMCA 

The Summit Area YMCA is one of the area’s leading 501(c)3 charitable organizations. Founded in 1886, the Summit Area YMCA has a history steeped in working side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, income and background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Each year, we serve more than 10,000 individuals with our free and fee-based programs and services in an area spanning the communities of Berkeley Heights, New Providence, Millburn, Springfield, Short Hills, Summit, Gillette, and Stirling. Through the generosity of our members, donors, and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance for our programs and services to those with demonstrated need. To strengthen your community and provide others with the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive, make your tax-deductible donation today at www.thesay.org/give