Letters to You from Your GLA Staff Members
14-Day Peru Service Programs
So much has happened since the summer! In the weeks and months that followed your departure we managed to not only finish the greenhouse that you started, but also commenced construction and finished a smaller greenhouse for a nearby kindergarten! Of course, we would have never been able to do so without your hard work and dedication. No matter how tedious and physically demanding the work was — and after hours and hours of pick axing and carrying rocks we all know exactly how gruesome the work could be! — you guys would push through and get the job done. Thank you for that! You’re all rockstars!
To quickly bring you up to speed, Clint, Dani and I continue on our lifelong journeys of growth and self-discovery. Clint continues to be a badass (of course) and is currently biking through the massive Uyuni salt flats and beyond to arrive at his final destination, Buenos Aires. Meanwhile, Dani has started a new job in Thessanoliki, adding to her experience in the field of international service learning as she basks in the Mediterranean sun. Finally, I am in the bustling metropolis of Lima, training for my next mountain race and awaiting a trip to New York where I will be assisting my sister with the birth of her first child!
I am sure that you are all super busy with school and extracurricular activities, but I honestly hope that this note makes its way to each and every one of you. You are all amazing individuals, and without trying to sound too cliché, with determination and discipline you can truly achieve anything you set your hearts & minds to. I hope that this summer helped you to grow as individuals and to better understand and develop your goals and passions in life!
Last but not least, it was an absolute pleasure getting to know you! We miss you all, and honestly would have loved to have each and every one of you stick around to witness the end product and help us plant the first vegetables that over the years will grow and thrive and help future generations to fight off malnutrition.
P.S. On a more nostalgic note, here’s a few of our favorite moments from the session:
June 8 – June 21, 2015
- Aunt Muriel
- Marvin’s badass soccer skills
- Rock crew stories of self 🙂
- Our amazing conga line at our farewell dinner (and THAT’s how you start a movement!)
- Max’s brilliant pictionary skills — Was he drawing a man meditating? Still not really sure…
- Felipe’s heartfelt speech at our farewell dinner. This was without a doubt the best speech of the entire season!
- Carson’s ‘birfday’ & the confetti filled eggs!!
- How close we got and how we felt comfortable enough to share so many personal and meaningful stories during our fishbowl.
- Hiking up to Machu Picchu (and Adam subsequently throwing up from the exertion — Sorry, Adam!!)
- Zumba warm ups with Emily
- Fasai being a badass and finishing the trek despite everything. This goes for Sharon too!
June 24 – July 7, 2015
- The rainiest day EVER at Machu Picchu.
- Word Assassin. Was there ever a winner? Quick, everyone say North Korea!!
- Tamera’s birthday & the awesome cake that the trekking crew managed to bake at 14,500ft! Ooh, and that crown!!
- Kayla’s boot falling apart in the middle of the trek and having to bind it together with shoelaces, string, duct tape…
- Listening to ‘Chasing Cars’ as we watched the stars come out with Veronica in the background.
- Nathan teaching the kids at the elementary school to play American football 🙂
July 10 – July 23, 2015
- FEMTalk dance party (with chocolate)! Also, you lovely ladies teaching me how to whip (??)
- An entire week spent at the MacSalud Clinic — appendicitis, broken fibula, salmonella, sprained wrist… could our luck be any better!?
- Dancing in front of discotecas during our scavenger hunt. And the glorious ice cream that ensued!
- Teaching English & theater to the students at the elementary school in Chocco
- A very, very snowy trek & Annie seeing snow for the first time ever!
- Tentaciones <3 <3
- Somehow all miraculously coming together for our farewell dinner!
- PACHAMAMA!! And Sabine screaming in awe of the majestic, ponytailed singer
July 26 – August 8, 2015
- Ajit & Geo’s drumming circle
- Clint saving Kanishk’s life with a well timed heimlich maneuver!
- Cray being a rockstar and sticking back to help Geo during the hike. We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: THANK YOU CRAY!!
- Our impromptu The Little Mermaid sing along in Agnes, Geo & Emma’s tent
- That day we had ceviche AND lomo saltado AND picarones for lunch! So delicious!!
- Those awful flight cancellations and having more than 50% of the group stay an extra night in Cusco!
August 11 – August 24, 2015
- Finishing not one but two greenhouses!! You guys are brilliant!
- Ro eating everyone’s leftover pie! Can’t remember how many pieces he managed to put back. Seven? Either way it was impressive!
- Meditating on the 5th floor with Milan & Rose (plus Kelsey that one time 🙂 ). Thank you ladies for sharing those moments with me. It was truly wonderful and I hope that you continue to develop your practice of meditation and mindfulness.
- FEMTalk!! I’m sure BroTime was cool too…
- Cloe’s layering demo. We should post those pics so that future Peru GLAers understand the importance of many, many, many layers!
- Hiking to the top of a 15,200ft mountain with Ro, Nick, Daniel, Bishop, Broheme (that’s how I spell it, y’all), Kelsey, Makayla, Clint & Richard. Also, contemplating nature at the summit (me), screaming at the top of our lungs (Kelsey) and nearly taking someone out with an enormous boulder (Makayla).
- Abba wakeup calls. And Queen. Lots of Queen.
- Our guide Cesar, and just when you thought it couldn’t get any better… Patrick Swayze <3 <3
- Clint & I sneaking away to go to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes — Oh wait, did you guys not know about that? Hehe
- Jesus the cow & his magical beans. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure on this one, but is anyone really?
- Everyone waking at 5am to train with me on the 5th floor. Oh, wait, this didn’t happen. But it should have!
Finally, I wanted to send you a poem written by Spanish poet Antonio Machado. Clint shared this tidbit with me after our beautiful train ride from Machu Picchu to Ollantaytambo.
Caminante son tus huellas
el camino y nada más;
Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace camino,
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.
Caminante no hay camino
sino estelas en la mar.
21-Day Peru Service Programs
June 16 – July 6, 2015
Hey guys! I hope by the time you read this you are still reminiscing on our time in Cusco together. I definitely am, after all there are so many things to remember. We worked diligently for three weeks together and surpassed our goal of putting half the adobe wall into place. You guys laid the foundation of our greenhouse, and we finished just in time with our last group, all thanks to you guys!
My hope for you is that you never forget the work that you did, and the impact that you made on the community of Choquepata. That greenhouse witl directly serve all the sweet children we got to know and loved on during our breaks. All the sweat, lack of oxygen, and pick axing (ALL the pick-axing) was what we needed to turn the greenhouse into reality. Please, never loose sight of how huge that is.
Beyond our service project, we learned together. We learned about the city of Cusco, and we learned about each other. This time was so precious and I am still inspired by your drive and motivation to make a difference in the world.
Thank you all so much!
1. Getting in mud fights at service (sorry Fausto and Cesar…)
2. Maddie’s shaman “experience”
3. My awesome mentor group! (S/O Eliza, Hannah, Renee, Chris, Bill, Talia)
4. Trying to play telephone while passing 50 lb. adobe bricks
5. Inti Raymi!! So cool…. So stressful
6. Fireworks in the square
7. Churros <3
July 10 – July 30, 2015
Hey everyone! I hope you all are still obsessing over every photo you took during your time in Cusco. I’m sure you are all busy and in the rhythm of normal life at home but please, take time to live in those memories, they are memories worth keeping for sure.
The difference you guys made in the community of Choquepata is so real, and I get pumped just thinking about it. We were able to finish the greenhouse with your help. And now it will continue to serve the school and all the children we got to know and love. We left it full of lettuce, onions, cabbage, and all the apple trees we had to transplant with you guys.
My wish for you guys is to remember the work you did, the difference you made, and the lessons you learned while in Cusco. Even more my wish is for those memories to motivate you to continue to learn and to make a difference in the lives of those around you. You guys rock and I am so thankful for our time serving, learning, and having fun together.
1. My super cool mentor group! (S/O Annie, Flor, Regina, Shelby, Spencer, Tomas, Max, Jacob)
2. Making record time on the Salkantay trek
3. Seeing more stars than I’ve ever seen at our first campsite
4. Everyone calling me mom (thanks guys)
5. Running around Zona X
6. The amazing yearbook Andy made for the school
August 3 – August 23, 2015
Hola mis amigos! I hope this letter finds you happy, healthy, and still thinking about our time in Peru, because I never want you to forget it! I hope you still consistently reminisce on your pictures and stay in contact with one another.
We accomplished so much together last summer. We FINISHED the greenhouse! It was iffy there for a minute but you guys pulled through and finished the thing. Now it will directly serve the beautiful children we got to know and love. The difference you made in the community of Choquepata is real and it is big. My hope is that you will continue to have the same drive and motivation to make a difference that you had every single day that we were in Choquepata. Our group was small, but man, you guys were the fiercest.
I will never forget the fun we had together and how loving your group was. I am so thankful for our time together! I know you guys will continue to do amazing things.
1. All the group hugs and love <3
2. A snowy Salkantay wonderland (and snowball fights)
3. Hiking the stairs to Machu Picchu
4. All the llama selfies (especially Gigi’s <3)
5. Linshan’s blog posts
6. Star wars themed schedule ( and laughing until I cried )
7. Cake day, and pizza party
8. FINISHING THE GREENHOUSE (and celebrating with potato ovens and Inca Kola)