Thanks for the checking out the blog for this Global Leadership Adventures program!
This blog is for the Peru split session starting July 1, 2022, which includes both the 14-day and the 21-day student group.
Here are a few things you can expect:
- We typically receive 2-3 blog posts per week here at GLA Headquarters from our program staff and students, so please don’t be alarmed if you don’t see a blog post daily – that’s totally normal.
- Blog updates sent on weekends may not be posted until Monday.
- Due to many factors, including but not limited to internet accessibility, photos may not always be available to post onto the blog. Sometimes onsite program staff are only able to send text back to Headquarters, where our team updates the blog.
Cell Phone Policy: The GLA cell phone policy is currently in place this summer to help foster meaningful connections between students. This means your student’s phone will be collected every day and returned to them throughout the program during designated spaces of time we call ‘tech time’. Actual tech times and regularity will vary greatly by program location. During designated ‘tech time’, your student may use their phones as they wish. Please note that your student may not always choose to use this time to get a hold of their parents. If you are not hearing directly from your student each day, you can assume that no news is good news! We strongly recommend you follow the blog to follow your students’ experience without talking to them every day. If you are a parent and would like to get in touch with your student directly, you can call us at +1-619-758-3031 and we can set up a formal time for you to connect with your student.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we hope you enjoy following along on these unforgettable adventures.
For frequently asked questions about the blogs, please visit our Program Blog FAQ page.
-The Global Leadership Adventures HQ Team
BLOG POST FOR JULY 2
After two full days of arrivals, our community is finally all here at The Garden Lodge in Ollantaytambo!
The fourteen all accounted for this morning (July 2) shared a breakfast at home base before setting off for a sturdy hike up above the town to some ancient granaries. Afterwards, we visited an artisan’s shop and took some time to explore the Plaza de Armas before taking a quick look at our service site at Sacred Valley Project before returning to Home Base for lunch.
Finally, the last six of our crew arrived and we did an orientation, where we learned about the local culture, language and some Spanish phrases before sitting down to dinner. Afterwards, we joined in a discussion to arrive at our Community Agreements before a bit more free time and well-earned night’s sleep. We’re excited for our first day of service tomorrow and to see what else the day may bring!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 3
Written by Zach and Makena
Day 3 started with a delicious breakfast, our first as a whole group. Everyone is finally settled in. Following breakfast, we walked to the Sacred Valley Project site to start our first day of service work. With extra sunscreen and lots of water, we were tasked with digging the new compost hole as well as preparing their field for planting in the fall. Using pickaxes, shovels, and rakes we broke up and redistributed the soil. Carlos led the group to dig the hole almost a meter deep. After, Carmencita and Gabi prepared us a fantastic lunch that led us into our last hour of service work for the day.
After much-needed showers and an action-packed soccer game, we were introduced to Lino, a shaman from the Q’ero nation. He taught us about coca leaves and how to offer them to mother earth. He then blessed each of us for our studies, health, and families. We then created an offering to burn for mother earth under the beautiful stars. Following the ceremony, we had another excellent meal with lively conversation. After dinner, we learned about constructive debate and worked in groups to build cases for potentially realistic situations having to do with the local communities. We talked a lot about the GLA core values and how we used them or could have used them better in our debate.
We finished off the day with card games and lots of laughs, excited for what comes tomorrow.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 4
Written by Aria and Sebastian
We started off the day with more service at the dormitory for girls who live far away and came here to study. Some jobs that we had were once again removing grassroots from the dirt, continuing to pickaxe the human-sized whole for compost, and prepping the area for a greenhouse that will be built.
We had a lunch cooked locally which was a delicious corn soup, mashed potatoes, and beef. Before we left, we were able to meet the girls that attend the building and connect with their situation. The conversation was filled with intriguing questions on both sides.
After getting back, some of us were able to see the town for the first time, and others played soccer on the nice turf field in town. After a quick break, we hiked up a neighboring mountain to visit an Incan reservoir/pool. On the hike back, the sunset was beginning and was very nice and full of energy. This was followed by a delicious dinner again of rice, vegetables, and beef. Before bed we had our first mentor group meeting to dicuss how to take responsible photography for social media. Today was a great day and we are very excited to do one more day of service at the school.
Aria and Sebi
BLOG POST FOR JULY 5
Written by Ava and Neil
Hello GLA parents! Today was our fifth day here in Ollantaytambo, Peru. We had an extra early start to our day this morning, eating breakfast at 7:30 rather than 8:00, so as to have time for our trek briefing before our service work. We continued to dig a compost pile, leveled out the terrain, and fixed up the fence before lunch. After a delicious meal of rice soup and chicken salad, we headed back out for our final hour of service work at this location. We separated our pile of rocks into a bigger and smaller pile, then said goodbye to this location.
Following this we had an hour of free time, where we took a trip into town and checked out some local shops, then walked back to the Garden Lodge in time for an enlightening experience with Jorge from Xapiri Ground. Before teaching us about the many different indigenous groups that live in the currently threatened wildlife of the Amazon, he taught us how to make a popular ceremonial cacao beverage from those indigenous groups. It comprised of 85% dark chocolate, water, orange juice, and a hint of spice. Obviously these ingredients paled in comparison to the actual ceremonial drinks prepared in the Amazon rainforest, especially the comparatively miniscule amount of spice we put into our drinks. After we finished making the drinks, we sat down with them to watch a presentation on the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest, as well as the indigenous cultures put at risk by the constant need for resources coming from the Rainforest. It really changed our perspectives on the products derived from these regions, and we will continue to research and educate ourselves on sustainable living.
After saying thank you and goodbye to Jorge, many of us played in a game of fútbol with a local team in the area. After winning by means of them taking pity on our skillset, we headed back to have dinner. Today we had pesto pasta and chicken, a wonderful meal prepared for us by Pancha. After this we had our first student-led activity, a game of spoons. After a long and difficult game, Jamie reigned supreme. What a day! We´re excited to see what tomorrow has in store for us, but until then, goodnight Peru!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 6
Written by Geneva S. and Natalie G.
Today our group woke up at 7 for breakfast. We then got ready and got on a bus to go explore other areas in Cusco. Our first stop was the salt mines, where we learned about the history and resources of the area. The group took lots of pictures together and stopped by small shops on our way back to the bus. Many people bought cooking Incan cooking salts to take home with them. We then traveled to our next destination, Moray archaeology site, where we viewed the ancient farmlands and learned about its history. We were shown how the ancient people used the area to grow corn and crops for cultivation.
Next we traveled to Andean colored alpaca farm where we sat at a beautiful table setting and enjoyed a delicious meal of chicken, potatoes, rice, and guinea pig for the brave ones. We got to pet all of the cute alpacas and llamas as well as feed them shoots of grass. The owners showed us how to weave bracelets and let us keep our finished projects. Then we were taken inside and shown hundreds of the guinea pigs we just ate. The owners then showed us how they make string and dye it with a presentation. Finally, we got to walk through the gift shop with many beautiful alpaca items and bought our items for 20 percent off! Very tired from all the excursions, we came home and went to bed.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 7
Note to families: We added a new post for July 11 shortly after the posts for July 7-10 were published. We sent a second email notification, but we are leaving the jump-link here for for anyone who hasn’t read July 7-10 yet. Scroll down to read July 11. Happy reading 🙂 -GLA HQ
Written by Hayden and Louis
Day seven started with an early wake up. Vans headed to Lares Trek departed at 6 am with breakfast on the road. A quick pit stop was made in Calca to purchase coca leaves and toys for the peoples living in rural communities that we would pass on the trek. We arrived at the trail head close to 11am and filled our bags with snacks and bottles of water to prepare for the upcoming journey. Many of us were introduced to the ¨Inca toilet¨ for the first time as well as options were limited. We hiked for 2 hours followed by an amazing lunch. From there we carried on to the campsite with a few extra friends (Ronato) we met at lunch. After two-ish more hours we arrived at our beautiful campsite. We had a nice dinner with hot chocolate and other warm drinks that filled our hearts and stomachs. We concluded the day cuddled up in our tents with layers upon layers.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 8
Written by Lia and Jamie
We woke up to a frost covered campsite early in the day. Shortly after we began packing and headed over to our breakfast which fueled us for the remainder of the hike. We set out for an hour and a half of hiking to the peak of the mountain. We learned about the stacking of rocks at the top of mountains. After we reached the peaked we began our descent down the mountain where we celebrated Rupert´s birthday. Then we got back into the vans and headed back to home base where we packed overnight bags for the trip to Machu Picchu. After packing, we went to a nice dinner in Ollantaytambo. Then we set off to a two-hour train ride to Aguas Calientes. There we arrived at a nice hotel with the perk of hot showers.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 9
Written by Jett and Leo
Today was the day! Machu Picchu!! We had breakfast at 6 and hopped on the bus shortly thereafter. The 30-minute switchback bus ride was breathtaking as we climbed higher and higher up the mountain. When we got to the top, we walked for a little and arrived at the most scenic spot to take all of our pictures. From there, we split up into groups with the tour guides and they gave us the grand tour of the stunning ancient Incan city. We learned all there is to know about why the site was built, and what it was used for. Afterwards, we made our way back down to Aguas Calientes and had an amazing lunch. Weighed down by chocolate covered pancakes, we headed to the local market and did some shopping before our train. The rest of the night was for well-deserved winding down time and an early sleep.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 10
Written by Mae and Aryan
We started the day off later than usual at 8:30am. After breakfast we headed over one of the local’s homes to learn about native foods. There we made smoothies using grains from the mountains around us. After our lesson we went around town shopping and getting ice cream. After that we returned to home base for lunch and shortly after began a salsa dance lesson from one of our mentors. After that we had some free time where people either played soccer or relaxed at home base. After the free time ended, we had our official Peruvian dance lesson that everyone enjoyed and embraced. Following that we had a delicious dinner and refreshed our memory on the code of conduct. Once everyone had finished eating we decided to play a few rounds of a game. After that we all headed back to our rooms and had a relaxing night.
Here are photos from July 7-10!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 11
Written by Noel and Alok
Today we started the second half of service at Calca. The group worked at the girls dormitory helping to build a wall by moving rocks and digging trenches. After we returned from service, we painted ceramic bulls, toristos, which are commonly places of roofs. We were given an hour to walk around town and pick up snacks and nachos. To complete the day we had mentor groups, which was just to check up on how everyone was feeling.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 12
Written by Rae and Rupert
Our last service day in Calca! With only two days left, a lot of motivation was present and our hard work prevailed. After our service, we spent an extra hour engaging in cultural exchange with the girls living at the dormitories. Sharing music tastes on the ride home prepped us for the capstone project in order to set up goals to continue service while at home. Students decided on two people to hold everyone accountable for this.
A quick white water rafting briefing led right into dinner, ending with a surprise birthday cake for Sebastian! For an extra dessert, a large group had a walk in town for some ice cream, followed by a relaxing night in and an early bedtime for most.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 13 & 14
Written by Sebastian
Day 13 started off bright and early once again with a 6 AM breakfast and then drove 3 hours to Cusipata. There, we started our white water rafting adventure. We learned from our tour guide Juan Carlos how to safely raft with the five basic commands and then set off into the river for two hours going through rapids and having lots of fun.
The freezing water from the river made for an amazing sauna session once we got back to the lodge. Lunch was then served, and after that we went on two nice little zip lines across the river, which was quite fun. Finally, we said goodbye to the two-week students who left Cusipata while the three-week students stayed for the night.
Day 14 was the earliest wake-up so far, at 4:30 in order to leave to go to rainbow mountain and beat the crowd. Once there we hiked up in two hours to reach the top with a lovely view. Some of us did handstands at the top! And took great photos as well. After getting back to the lodge we ate lunch and then headed back to Ollantaytambo and then walked around town for a bit while eating some crepes.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 15
Written by Sebastian and Louis
Starting off the day with some fresh eggs cooked up by Saulo we left at 8:30 to Cusco and arrived two hours later. We met our tour guide Smith who wore a fedora and guided us through an Incan archeological site on the hill of Cusco called Sacsayhuaman. He explained in detail how the Incas were able to move rocks weighing up to 130 tons using techniques similar to how the Egyptians’ built the great pyramids. Indeed this site was a temple and aslo the location where the Incas held their last stand against the spanish conquistadors in Cusco in 1537, which is why it is referred to as a fort even though its original purpose was to worship the sun god.
As it is built on a hill overlooking Cusco we had a great opportunity to see the city and see the different forms of architecture throughout the years, from Incan to colonial and now modern. Following this we walked for 45 minutes through the beautiful streets of Cusco, which was accompanied by the explanations of the guide, until we reached the lunch spot in the Plaza de Armas, the beating heart of Cusco. There we had a great three course meal where some us had alpaca meat again.
The guide then led us to the Xapiri Grounds coffee shop and museum. You may remember from a previous blog that a man called Jorge gave us a presentation on Xapiri Grounds who work on protecting the Amazon rainforest and also gave us a wonderful chocolate experience. In this museum/cafe of theirs, we were able to have some wonderful cacao and coffee drinks that were stunnding and rich, as well as delicious pastries in a relaxing enviroment. The museum also included a sound-proof room that was pitch black and that simulated the sounds of the rainforest which served as a great place for reflection where many of us spent a large chunk of the afternoon. We also explored the streets and shops in the neighborhood. Indeed we were in the artsy district of Cusco, and therefore there were many beautiful galleries and shops that we were able to explore.
The bus picked us up around 3h30 and after arriving home two hours later, we freshened up and then ate spaghetti bolognese. After dinner we did a leadership workshop and had a little movie night watching Paddington Bear, we thought it was suitable given Paddington is from the Peruvian jungle.We then went to bed and had a good sleep as we need to be well rested for tomorrow given service resumes.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 16
Written by Lia and Jett
Back to service! We woke up today later than usual at 8 and headed out to the Ollanta dorms where we continued our service. We made progress on digging a hole to place a water tank and helped patch holes in the fencing. We ate a great Peruvian lunch, ´Causa´, and kept working for an additional hour. We then walked across town to visit a local archaeological site, where we discovered huge rocks and water systems moved and created hundreds of years ago. It began to rain so we headed back to home base early and started our mentor group discussion. We all learned something new about each other and created our own quotes to live by every day. We finished the day with a great dinner and ¨Pachamama¨, a short animated film about an ancient Andean village.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 18
Written by Neil
Hello GLA parents! We started our day this morning with a couple hours of service with the Sacred Valley Project right here in Ollantaytambo. Following this we had an amazing lunch with the Sacred Valley Project, which consisted of vegetable soup, trout, beans, and rice. We continued with our service after this, meeting another GLA group on the way. This group was an older age range, from seventeen to twenty year olds.
After we had finished service in Ollantaytambo, we drove to Pumamarka archeological site, where we hiked up to the actual site, a place you can´t get to by car alone.
Pumamarka was beautiful, and as Manuel explained to us, it is the only archeological site in the Cusco region with three story buildings.
After that, we began our hike down the mountain back to Ollantaytambo. Though the trek was mostly downhill from Pumamarka, it was long, and took a while for us to complete! Through it all, the incredible scenery made it worth it.
We ended our day with a fun game of futbol with the other GLA group at a field in Ollantaytambo. Until next time, see you later GLA parents! Hasta luego!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 19
Written by Sebi and Louis
We started the day with an 8 AM breakfast to leave for service again at 9. Once there, we greeted girls who were staying there from a different dormitory in Paucartambo as, due to the festivities over there, they vacated their dormitory for a few days to ensure their safety, as these festivities can get quite lively. A large chunk of the morning was spent covering the outdoor wood fence in petroleum oil to prevent any insects from deteriorating the fence. Obviously, we wore heavy duty face masks and gloves to ensure protection and to avoid inhaling any of the fumes. Unfortunately, we ran out of oil, so Lia, Jett and Sebi (me) spent the rest of the service time continuing to dig the hole for a backup water tank, while Alok, Louis (dude next writing with me), Neil, and Aryan spent that time sanding and varnishing wooden chairs.
For lunch, we had delicious fried chicken wings that were scrumptious, as well as a soup (as usual). After that, we returned to the Garden Lodge and freshened up before two guest speakers from an organization called Mosqoy, which means ¨dream¨ in Quechua, the native language of the Sacred Valley. We learned that this organization helps students from rural communities achieve higher forms of education in the Cusco region. Indeed, they lodge 10 students every year in Cusco. We also reflected on education as a whole and its different forms. We then had dinner consisting of pasta and a beef steak, or eggs for the vegetarians in our group. We are now headed into town for an ice cream, or crepe in my (Sebi) case. It feels good to have finished service, and it´s crazy to think that we only have a couple more days with each other.
This concludes our blog writing for this wonderful trip. We appreciate everyone who has been reading and commenting on them throughout our journey. Shoutout to Claude (Louis´ mum) who I (Louis) found out reads these.
Sincerely, Sebi, Louis, and Neil, who helped edit this masterpiece.