“Are you ever scared while going into these fires and acting as the first responder in emergencies?”
-“Being a Bombero is not about being scared. everyone is scared. The job of a Bombero is about doing what you have to do to overcome your fear, put out fires,and save people’s lives.”
We have officially started our program and thus, had our first interaction with the firefighters. Each day we are traveling to San Martín de Porres a district an hour away from Miraflores, where we meet the firefighters at the fire station to learn about what it takes to be a firefighter in Lima, Peru.
When we pulled up to the station, the sirens were on and the men and women were jumping into the fire truck to assist at an emergency. When the firefighters returned, they greeted us and welcomed our members with hand shakes and hugs. The remaining of the day was spent learning about the fire trucks, the history of the station, the duties of the ambulance, and we had an opportunity to try on the incredibly heavy and warm clothing. During the next few days we were able to ride in the fire truck, train with the incoming firefighters, and climb the rescue ropes.
The energy and passion of these fire fighters have filled my heart. Every member of this team is a volunteer and sacrificed their lives, their free time, and safety to protect others without a return. The bomberos talk about the pride and honor of being a firefighter with such passion and humility that you can’t help but be inspired. Some have been separated from their families because of the commitment, most have full time jobs as well, and many are receiving further education to help in more ways.
This fire station has taken us under their wing and made us feel like family. This group of incredibly intelligent, persistent, motivated, and kind hearted firefighters have taught me how to serve with el corazón de los bomberos (the heart of a firefighter). They have seen so much tribulation on their job sites, but continue to bring a positivity and joy to life that is honestly indescribable. The men and women apart of this crew are more than a team, they are a family that stays together and stands confidently, side by side, in the face of danger.
For more information on the CGIS: Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates in Lima, Peru visit the MCompass program page.