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The Lamb

This story has come up enough times in the last few weeks that I feel obliged to share it online. On the crazy whirlwind immersion trip to Peru, the highlight of the students’ shenanigans was when they bought a lamb. Not lamb chops, but a baa-ing, bottle-drinking, week-old lamb.

Okay, a little bit of a set-up first. Near the end of the trip we stayed in Cusco, crashing for almost a week in a hostel owned and run by some local nuns. While going on a day tour, we say many tourist traps, including ladies dressed in bright, traditional clothes and carrying baby lambs (I know baby lamb is redundant, but I can’t stress enough how cute and young these things were). Tourists could take pictures with the ladies and lambs for 1 sole (about 40 cents). To get the ladies to leave us alone, the boys asked how much for the lamb. After a few surprised seconds, the lady said 80 soles (about $30). Of course we smiled, said no, and went our own way. 

That night at dinner, the boys asked how complicated it would be to buy an animal abroad and transport it home. Assuming the question to be based solely out of curiosity with no serious I’m-really-asking-this tone at all, the teacher-director told the boys about how his wife bought a dog and got it home after 40 days in quarantine. 

The next day, I was sitting in the lobby of the hostel when some of the boys walked in. They had big grins plastered on their faces. One said, “Ms. Mason, you’ll never guess what we just did.” I suddenly recognized their smiles as cat-that-ate-the-canary grins.

Cue gut-wrenching terror. That’s never what you want to hear from a teenage boy on a school immersion trip in a foreign country. A few more boys walked in, one carrying the baby lamb. 

For two days, the boys kept the lamb in the hostel – the nuns were surprisingly understanding. That thing peed and pooped all over the place. During this time, the boys tried to figure out a way to get the lamb back to Arizona. A little research revealed that it would be much more difficult than they originally assumed. After hours of internet searches and conversations, they decided the best course of action would be for one of the students to claim emotional dependence on the lamb as a comfort animal. 

Yes, I was officially living a teenage, after-school sitcom. 

The story has a good end, an ending that is not lamb chops. The boys went to a textile factory and took a tour. While there, one of the women at the factory agreed to take care of the lamb. She promised not to kill it, and even said she would send the first blanket made from its wool back to the school. 

I must admit, I did not foresee that chain of events happening. 

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1 Comment

  1. At least they could’ve sheared it and made sweaters to hock….=0)


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