Email to Nikolas Ureta

Peruvian Highands

I have recently finished Sebastian Junger’s book called Tribe: Homecoming and Belonging.  His thesis is that “We have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding–“tribes.” This tribal connection has been largely lost in modern society, but regaining it may be the key to our psychological survival.”

I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru between 1963 and 1965 in a small Andean town called Pucara.     I became close to the Ureta family, whose youngest son, Hugo became my Godson.

I  have been back twice and remembered each time.  Hugo came to Washington to be with Betsy and myself on our 50th wedding anniversary.

The following  are emails I recently received from Hugo’s son, Nikolas, and my response:

Dear Charles and Betsy,

I know it is too late but I wanna thank you for having been so kind with my father Hugo and my brother Sam during their trip to DC last year. They have told me how wonderful the city is, also how quite it is but they also very grateful with you. Maybe my father haven´t said you, but one of his dreams was not only to visit USA  but to be with you there enjoying a lunch or maybe discussing about any subject. He and all my family appreciate you as persons as couple and thank god we are blessed to know you.
This year, 2016, I will finish my Fachabitur and the next challenge for me is to study in a university in Germany. I have already a couple of options but next year I will decide it. The winter semester start the 1. October 2017 so I will have more or less 8 months in Peru before I go to Germany. One of my dreams is to visit USA and know different cultures . So I hope you can receive me in Januar 2017 in DC, I will be very happy to spend time with you. All depends of your availability, the last thing I want is to interfere in a trip or plan you have already shedule.
All my family wish you good vibes. Hope to hear from you soon.
Yours sincerely,
Nikolas
PD: I am sorry for all the mistakes I have made, I’m still learning english 🙂

Dear Nikolas,

What a delight to here from you!

And what a delight to have had your Dad and brother come visit us during our 50th wedding anniversary.  It was just a pure pleasure to have had both of them here. 

It is amazing how lasting our contacts with the Ureta family are, particularly with your dad, but also with the rest of the family.   And Pucara continues to be one of my very special places.  You all are very important to us, and continue to be very much a part of our family.

And, of course, you are truly welcome in Washington.   As the time gets closer, we can be more specific.

And your English is pretty amazing!  Your writing is really fluent.

Betsy sends her love to everyone.

Many hugs and blessings,

Collie 

My insight about belonging to a tribe is that members can be interconnected even though they are separated by distance.  And that is clearly the sense that I have about our relationship with our friend Roy Lara in Honduras.  He is closer to me than many people I know.

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