Time Capsule Letter
I can’t believe it has been six months since we were all together in the beautiful country of Peru! It feels like we just dropped you off at the airport hours ago, but time flies when you are having fun, and the last six months have been a complete whirlwind. Rudy is back in Phoenix, Arizona expanding his travel company and has since traveled with other students to Thailand, Spain and France. Natalie is currently in Spain teaching English near Madrid. If you are ever in Madrid, please reach out to her so she can show you around.
After both summer sessions, Faith stayed in South American doing solo travel and work. She explored more of Peru and then went up north to Ecuador and Colombia. She was traveling up until November so she has many stories to share. As for Bernardo, he is back in Lima working with university students in outdoor education. He is having the time of his life as he is trying to form new connections to share his passions.
Do you guys remember the going to the historic ruins and playing with the alpacas at the farm? What about our tiring but beautiful Lares Trek where some of us got sick but the views were so worth it?! I’ll never forget when Ellie accidentally cut her leg during service but was such a trooper. What about when Abby and Peyton sang their hearts our during our car rides?
What about our great service with Mario at the school and the greenhouse? Singing, dancing and teaching with the kids was magical. I hope you realize how much the Peruvian students enjoyed their time with you. They loved your games and you taught them so much.
Please never forget about our group goal of “passing the light forward”. We talked about how your Peruvian experience means nothing unless we pay it forward. Where exactly are you with your goal that you committed to accomplishing? Did the fire burn out? If it did, it’s okay. This is just a friendly reminder that you have the passion to finish your goal.
As staff, we gave you the tools and guided you through a leadership curriculum to inspire you. Reminiscing about our trip brings us back to Cusco and being with all of you. We miss your friendly faces, the amazing Peruvian food, our home base staff, Alejandro and Patricia, and Mario. Please keep in touch with everyone and don’t be afraid to reach out to us for anything.
Love you guys and hope all is well.
Gracias from your GLA Staff,
Thursday June 20, 2019
The entire Peruvian team is excited to get the Children of the Andes program up and running! While flights were hectic, we managed to welcome 19 excited students to Cusco. With 7 more arriving tomorrow, we can’t wait to get our full team together!
Students arrived eager to learn about Peruvian culture, Incan traditions, and are ready to serve the local community.
This evening we successfully divided in to mentor groups, where students met with their program mentors and began to get to know each other.
After successfully completing in-country training and exploring Cusco, we are more than prepared to give students the best possible GLA experience this summer.
Nos vemos mañana!
Pictures will be sent tomorrow!
Faith, Nat, Ber and Rudy
GLA Program Staff
Friday June 21, 2019
Our first day on program has been jam-packed with food, fun, and excitement. Today, we had a delicious breakfast consisting of eggs, yogurt, cereal and fruits. The students went to visit the school where they will be teaching English and other subjects such as dance, music, and art to four and five year old children in a nearby school community.
After a tour of the classrooms and facilities and an introduction of how to teach and interact with young children, the students went to the other service site that will be a greenhouse for a local community to benefit the school. Students are excited to start their service within the Cusco community!
After a great lunch of crema de maiz and spaghetti and chicken, the mentors took the students to a nearby park to play capture the flag. Everyone enjoyed the fresh air and running around while competing and getting to know each other better. We then walked to a local store to grab some Peruvian snacks and get familiar with our neighborhood.
To finish the exciting day, students watched a movie called Pachamama which is a story about a young Andean child discovering his roots and culture which was an excellent introduction to the Inca culture. In Cusco, the city is celebrating the Winter solstice which is the Andean New Year. Tomorrow, we will be exploring Cusco city and taking a tour of the beautiful barrios and archaeological sites.
We will keep you updated on more of our exciting adventures in Peru!
Sunday June 23, 2019
Today was the first full day with all 26 students here and ready to explore! We got up early this morning with breakfast at 7 in order to arrive to Pisac by 9:30. When we got to Pisac, we explored the ruins and the terraces that were made in the 14th century. After many, many steps we finally got to the top of the ruins and were able to enjoy the amazing view of the Sacred Valley.
After exploring the ruins, we quickly ate lunch in the main square of Pisac in order to give us lots of time to explore the market to bargain with the local vendors. After the market, we headed to the alpaca/llama farm and even got to meet up with two of the other GLA trips happening in Peru right now. And yes, Abby Cowan did get to see her brother! We fed some angry llamas and barely avoided getting spit on. Overall, everyone had an amazing experience and are excited to start service tomorrow!
Monday June 24, 2019
Today we attended the Inti Raymi festival. It was a mix of cultural dances to celebrate another year of freedom. The dancers were each used to represent the elements in precise movements and actions.
Then we broke ground at the new greenhouse. We spent over 2 hours moving dirt, painting equipment, transferring rocks, pulled nails out of wood, and laying out the windows. All the rocks were moved by hand, and the dirt by pickaxes and shovels. This was a highlight for many but for some people(Aubrynn) the pink airplane was the best part.
Wednesday June 26, 2019
We started off our day with a breakfast of chocolate pancakes with a smoothie. Then we got ready for a morning at the green house. We filled up our water bottles and we got in the car and we were on our way. Once we got there we split up into groups which were pick axing, shoveling, painting , wheel barreling and siphoning water.
Once we got there we split up into groups which were pick axing, shoveling, painting , wheel barreling and siphoning the water. Then we headed back to the homebase for lunch. We had tomato with tuna and rice with beef. After that we had time to rest. Next we went to the Popular Art Museum which had Baroque style art. This art was made Peruvians but was influenced by Spanish artists and styles. After the museum we had time to roam around to buy ice cream and visit cafes. We went to dinner and had chicken and rice.
After that we all loaded in the vans and went to a planetarium were we learned about constellations. We were divided into two groups. One group went inside into a dome where they projected the nightsky onto the ceiling. Here we saw the big, black llama which is part of the Milky Way Galaxy. The other group looked at telescopes outside. We saw Jupiter, Saturn, and Galileos moons. After this activity was over we headed back to the homebase. Learning about the Inca people used constellations to forecast the weather and lead their daily lives was very interesting.
Lots of love from Lucas and Chloe
Thursday June 27, 2019
Thursday June 27th, the volunteers were pleased with a later start than usual. After taking advantage of a longer sleep and a great breakfast including beloved coffee we’ve been asking for since day 1. Ignacio the van driver pulled up and we drove to a near by park to meet with the children. We played games like Fútbol and swung from monkey bars and had an all around good time.
Once we dropped the children off we headed back for a delicious lunch created with love by our local staff. Since many of the students were craving snack type food, Rudy accompanied us on our last minute snack run. Next we went back to the school to help with the production of Christmas cards and picture frames. We did lots of decorating and had a successful time.
Finally, we drove back to home base and got cleaned up for dinner. To end our night we began packing for tomorrow’s rafting trip as well as the trek to Rainbow Mountain and we are all excited for the days to come.
-Mia and Gauthier
Saturday June 29, 2019
Today was one of our most adventurous days yet. After a long day of rafting on the river yesterday, we went to bed early to rest up for the hike today. It started bright and early when we woke up at 3:30 am. We had breakfast at 4 then headed out to climb rainbow mountain.
It was about an hour drive from the rafting lodge to the trailhead and once we got there, it was freezing. We began the hike at about 6 am and it took people about 1-2 hours to get to the the 17,500 foot summit. While not everyone got to the top, everyone tried their hardest, hiked at their own pace, and enjoyed the experience.
After the hike, we drove back to the lodge for lunch and packed our stuff. It was an hour and a half drive back to home base where we were able to chill and rest for the afternoon.
A couple people went to the market for snacks and then we all engaged in a group activity before dinner. We learned more about ourselves and each other through hearing other people’s stories.
We ate potato pizza for dinner and hung out for the rest of the night in the common room and our rooms.
Overall, today was one of the best days yet. We all stepped out of our comfort zone and challenged ourselves- which is what this trip is all about!
Hope everyone is doing well!
-Luca and Abby C
Sunday June 30, 2019
Hola Family and Friends!
Today was a really jam-packed day! We started off our day at the greenhouse determined to make progress as it was our second to last day working there. After an efficient three hours of cementing, we headed back to home base for lunch. We had a few hours to rest and then participated in a leadership curriculum activity involving disabilities. Every student was assigned a different disability which included being either blind, deaf, mute, having one functioning leg or one functioning arm. With a variety of items (like blindfolds, earplugs) we were given the chance to see what it was like to live with that disability.
We were faced with tasks like eating dinner, showering and walking up and down stairs with our disabilities. This activity was very shocking for the group because we were given the chance to put ourselves in the shoes of people who struggle with physical disabilities every day. From this we learned a lot about how to be respectful and aware of other people’s struggles. It was a perfect way to end the night before given time to relax before bed and get ready for the adventures to come.
Today was quite a full day. We first had a breakfast of toast, scrambled eggs, hotdogs, yogurt, kiwi and the choice of coffee or tea. Then we headed over to the school and picked up the kids in our usual mode of transportation: the tourist van.
Once we picked up the 5 year olds, we drove over to the Husao wetland park. It was a beautiful place full of different sculptures, trees, and a duck pond. We walked around with the kids, some of us carrying them the whole way through. At the end of the walk we sat on benches and played with the kids while they ate their snack. After the park, we headed back to the school and dropped off the kids.
Then we went back to the home base for lunch, delicious fried rice and soup. We now had a little bit of free time to get ready for our next activity: the greenhouse. This was the last time working construction at the greenhouse. We finished pouring down concrete on the perimeter of the greenhouse and we layed down the first layer of bricks on top, leaving it for the next session to continue from. We then gave pachamama an offering of coca-cola and inca-cola. We poured these two offerings in the middle of the greenhouse we have started building, and gave her thanks.
We came back to the home base and ate dinner, burgers and fries with a choice of coca-cola or inca-cola, with warm and delicious jelly-filled churros for dessert. We then did a little activity where we discussed the purpose of coming on this GLA trip. We were aloud a little bit of free time before the main leadership activity. Two of the mentors and a few of the students had roles in a skit displaying the switched roles of homosexuals and heterosexuals in our society. We then watched a short video on the topic, which we then reflected on in the group. After our discussion, everyone got ready for bed to get a good nights rest for our next adventure.