Thanks for the checking out the blog for this Global Leadership Adventures program!
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 26
¡Saludos de Perú!
After a long day of traveling to and from the airport, all of us have finally arrived at our home base – La Villa Mágica. Like the name suggests, this place is magical! It feels like we are in a fairytale nestled in little white cottages between large, majestic mountains. Once we arrived at home base, we were greeted with a delicious lunch of mashed potatoes, vegetables and quinoa. After some time to relax, unpack, nap, and do check-ins with mentor Matt and ID Lauren, we played name games and did some ice breaker activities to get to know our group. After dinner, we reviewed the itinerary for the program and began some of our orientation sessions, which we will continue tomorrow. All is quiet here in Villa Mágica as most students succumbed to the lulls of sleep before 9pm! We’re excited to kick off our first full day at home base tomorrow with some exciting activities and with a group of (hopefully) well-rested students!
Lauren, Matt & Victor
BLOG POST FOR JULY 27
A visit to Marco’s house and pago a la tierra
Everyone woke up feeling energetic this morning after a good night’s sleep at home base. For breakfast, we were all pleasantly greeted by a mountain of pancakes, fruit, yogurt, juice and coffee! With full bellies, we hiked a short distance up to road to Marco’s house. Marco is one of the staff that works at Villa Mágica and graciously offered to host our group at his house for the morning so that our students could learn more about Andean families in the area. We participated in numerous fun activities with Marco and his mother. First, we visited the ponds where they raise trout. We got to feed the trout and also try our hands at catching some (literally try our hands in some cases).
Afterwards, we learned about beekeeping and got to try some fresh honey and honeycomb. Next, we headed to the greenhouse where Marco’s family grows roses. The students cut their own roses and each room at home base made a beautiful bouquet using their roses and other flowers picked from around the property. We finished the visit with many spirit rounds of mata chola, a traditional Andean game similar to tether ball. After lunch, we met Yuri, the guardian of Villa Mágica. Yuri is a spiritual guide and facilitated a welcome ceremony with us that included practicing forgiveness, expressing gratitude, and setting intentions to achieve goals. We also learned about Andean traditions and worldviews. For example, the amaru (Quechua word for serpent) is the guardian of the past, the puma is the guardian of the present and the kuntur (Quechua word for condor) is the guardian of the future.
At the end of the ceremony, we made an offering to Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) using quinoa, dried corn and flowers picked from the gardens, which we then burned in a bonfire. Following dinner, we continued with our orientation activities and ended the evening by creating our community contract, which students worked together to create. It outlines our expectations for community and respectful behavior and includes traits such as inclusivity, compassion and communication. Tomorrow we are off to Maras and Moray!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 28
Today we had our first excursion away from home base! We started the day driving through windy mountain roads to Maras, a large salt flat. We had incredible views of all of numerous pools surrounded by shiny crystalline salt granules. We learned that the salt flats are worked by families that live in the town of Maras and that they form a collective of workers that harvest and sell salt from the flats to locations all over the Sacred Valley. After doing some souvenir and chocolate shopping at the puestos in Maras, we hopped back into the bus and drove to our next destination – Moray. Moray is an Incan ruin and served as a sort of greenhouse / laboratory for the Incans where they experimented with circular terraces to see which crops could grow best in different microclimates.
We went for a short walk around the ruins and then headed to our lunch spot at Andean Colors. Andean Colors is a weaving collective for women and also an alpaca farm! For lunch we had rice, vegetables, various proteins and those with adventurous palates tried cuy (guinea pig). Cuy is considered a delicacy in Peru and families generally only cook it for special occasions. We were very lucky to be able to give it a try this afternoon! Following lunch, we fed the alpacas. A few even got to bottle feed one of the babies! Later on, we were given a weaving demonstration and were told the story of how Andean Colors began. The founder, Hilda, started the collective as a way to empower women who find themselves in challenging home situations to use their artisanal skills to make money and make better lives for themselves and their children.
When we got back to home base, we had dinner and then had mentor group sessions where we talked about our goals for program and beyond as well as worked on team building exercises. It was a long, but good day! Tomorrow we will start having our student Leaders of the Day write the blog posts, so be on the look out 😀
BLOG POST FOR JULY 29
Written by Safiya Akpinar and Madelief Rassveldt
Today we woke up bright and early and had breakfast at seven, to catch our bus for a tour around the Sacred Valley. We began visiting the Taray city center, observing a local clinic, only having three rooms and four staff members. This was extremely eye opening for many of us, to help us understand why our service will be so impactful for our communities. Then we visited a local elementary school, where the children unfortunately weren’t there, as it is Peru’s Independence Day. Following our school tour, we visited an overlook on the side of the road, over a town in the valley. This town has a lot of greenhouses which help provide strawberries for the country. The greenhouses are a large source of income for these local families.
After we toured a statue of Jesus Christ, which was gifted to the people Cusco by the Palestinians after seeking refuge in the area post World War two. Then we traveled to an archeological site for a boxed lunch provided by medlife, where we ate in the grass and played a small game of soccer following our meals. Our next stop after lunch was an animal sanctuary. In the sanctuary we learned about a wide variety of animals and species that were rehabilitating to be released back in the wild. We fed llamas and watched as condors flew above us. We then took the bus ride back down to Lamay and Kaitlyn DJ’d car ride tunes that we sang the whole way back. Once back at homebase we had a presentation by Heidi, the MEDLIFE coordinator who gave us an orientation on what to expect for our next upcoming days. Then, we had a bit of rest before a lovely chicken curry dinner, which we all had seconds. Then we split up and had meaningful talks in our mentor groups, really helping us understand each other. After we took hot showers and got an early rest for our big upcoming days of service!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 30
Written by Emrie & Vivi
Upon the fifth forth night, we rose to prepare for the first of the many days dedicated to our service towards the life-changing clinics in the central Andes. For breakfast, we devoured a selection of crepes with dollops of strawberry marmalade. After fueling our bodies and quenching with native coca tea, we headed out on our meaningful journey, with the man, the myth, the legend, Kendrick Lamar. We arrived at the mobile clinic, provided by MED-LIFE, in the stunning, colorful, city of Pisac. We set up the very necessary equipment to provide the best medical care that we can give. We enjoyed a day of taking impactful shifts that gave us insight into what care Pisac citizens require. We did tasks such as taking vital signs, demonstrating toothbrushing, shadowing brave and inspiring physicians. We refueled with a lunch break and delightful puppy interactions, packed up, then headed back to the beautiful home base. We then reflected upon the work we did and the Peruvian community that we visited. We are all grateful to have been able to experience such an immersive trip.
After a quick break, we played a funny group-bonding game, that brought us closer with lots of laughs. Then we had the pleasure to witness the great musical talents of Jorge, and vast demonstrations of native Peruvian instruments. We got to participate in learning the songs and even Riptide by Vance Joy! Before dinner, we appreciated our diverse range of knowledge and helpfulness, by enlightening each other with the shoutouts in our circle. Dinner was extremely filling and yet again was a delectable Peruvian dish. #Yummalicious! After this, we split up into mentor groups and participated in a debate. This debate increased our knowledge on the many sides to an ongoing medical argument within our environment. We then took a detour up to our rooms so we could rest up and be up and ready for another day in the mobile clinic, under the strong Andean sun.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 31
Written by Emrie & Anna
Greetings from Peru!
Today was a busy but exciting day. We woke up and devoured some delicious omelets prepared for us by the amazing kitchen staff. We left homebase around eight o’clock with a long drive to Cuzco for our second day of clinics. Our bus driver, David, safely navigated us around the city despite the not only windy, but also packed roads. We were able to see a local Peruvian parade from the bus, while learning that Cuzco has the most celebrations in all of Peru. When we arrived at the clinic site, we quickly got to work unloading the bus and setting up our equipment. Everyone did their part and was more than willing to help each other out at the different stations. Unlike yesterday, today was much busier due to the more urban location. Many groups were busy with patients and did not get a break until lunch. Our rotations consisted of shadowing and assisting doctors, pharmacists, and general nurses. One of the stations, round table, had the opportunity to visit local families and their homes.
After a filling lunch of sandwiches and apples, we completed our afternoon station and packed up the site. We took a group picture to commemorate the successful day and began the journey back to homebase. On our way, we were able to stop at a local market and picked up some of our favorite snacks. A group favorite this trip has been Peruvian ice cream cones that come in a variety of flavors. Once we finally settled in after the long day, we had the chance to share some fun stories and play soccer in the field. Our dinner tonight consisted of a new dish fresh from our friends Marcos’s local trout farm. This was a special meal because we visited this farm on day two and now got to experience the delicious food. While our bellies were still full, Matt enlightened us with a thorough Peruvian history lesson. We learned about the fascinating Inca Empire all the way up to their current president today. Matt also gave us the opportunity to ask questions, and even touched on the discovery of Machu Pichu in preparation for our upcoming adventure there. We then wrapped up the night for another busy day ahead.
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 1
Written by Laya and Trevor
We’ve made it to the halfway point of our trip! To start off the day, we had breakfast at 7:00. We ate omelets, yogurt, and juice- just as delicious as the day before! After gathering in the field, we headed to the bus and began our 45-minute journey to Rayanniyoc, the city in which we set up for Day 3 of our MED-LIFE clinic. We arrived at 9:00 and set everything up in a local school that we had visited during the initial few days of the trip. We had a great turn up at this location, having seen over 60 patients in the span of 4 hours. In triage, we met a seven-year-old little girl, and we sang happy birthday in Spanish to her after finding out that it was her birthday. In education, they gifted her a sweater, and she walked out with a smile on her face. Working at education and teaching patients about illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, and certain types of cancer was rewarding, and with the help of Alex I improved my Spanish greatly, learning more medical and advanced terms.
After I finished with that, I shadowed the second doctor. She was amazing, as she made sure we both understood the main points of each conversation with her respective patients, even using google translate to make sure we completely understood. The first patient my partner and I saw had severe stage 2 hypertension, which was awakening, having just worked with one of the nurses to educate on the symptoms and dangers of hypertension. He had thrombosis in his right foot, which had visible damage due to the restricted blood flow, and the doctor recommended a cleaner diet and a visit to a cardiovascular surgeon. Once we had finished seeing our 60+ patients, we returned to home base.
After some free time and soccer, we undertook a group activity led by mentors in which we shared our strengths and weaknesses as leaders- we then did an activity that gave us more insight into our leadership styles. Next, we played a real-life version of minesweeper as a team building activity, we witnessed aspects of leadership styles in action. We then had our shoutout circle, which uplifted the group as we recognized our peers for their contributions to one another and the community. After a great chicken stir fry dish, we learned about the significance of origami in Japanese culture. Under Victor’s lead, we folded paper cranes and hung them on a tree. We are finishing up day seven, looking forward to another life-changing week in Peru.
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 2
Written by Abby and Eliot
We had a very successful eighth day of our trip! After beginning the morning with some refreshing fruit and iconic Peruvian coffee, we headed put for our last day working with Medlife at the clinic. Today, our clinic was based at the hospital in Taray, the same one we visited earlier this week on the reality tour. Surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery, the team set out to work. We served over 40 patients, and we are so glad to be able to make an impact in their lives. We shared a bittersweet goodbye with the amazing Medlife crew, and after stopping for snacks we headed back to home base. An hour of free time was given before we were able to participate in a traditional Peruvian dance class. This class was a lot of fun, and we certainly got our workout in for the day. We finished the day with a delicious dinner buffet and a viewing of the movie “The Road to El Dorado”. We are extremely grateful for the opportunities of today and we can’t wait to travel into Cusco tomorrow!
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 3
Written by Gabriel Rahmani and Liana Nixon
Hello family and friends,
Today the GLA students had a very exciting day! The GLA students woke up to an extravagant breakfast of crepes made by our amazing staff. They then got ready to go, played with the resident cat Boots, and loaded the bus. Our first destination was Sacsayhuaman (an Incan archaeological site) where we saw large stone walls in which Incans from across their empire came to watch the Inti Raymi ceremony. Inti Raymi is a celebration to the sun god and is celebrated every winter solstice in Cusco. We also saw stone animals that represented different aspects of the Incan culture built into those same walls. Then, we took a scenic walk from Sacsayhuaman down through the streets of Cusco to our highly anticipated lunch destination, the restaurant Tunupa. There, our students enjoyed a phenomenal lunch of their choice. They then went to the San Pedro market where they got to look around and shop for over an hour. Our students bought many souvenirs to bring home to their families. We then walked through Cusco back to the bus.
We arrived back at home base around 5:30 pm. Our students had around 30 minutes of free time until dinner where they were served an immaculate (Liana’s word of the day) dinner of Lomo Saltado (meat, tomato, and onion stir fry). Dinner ended around 6:30 and the students had more free time until 7:30 when they played an intense game of fish bowl (similar to charades), but not before our next leaders of the day were chosen (stay tuned for their blog tomorrow). After the game, our students had to turn in early, because we’re going to have an early start tomorrow. The students will be going white water rafting! That was our GLA day and we can’t wait for the next one!!!
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 4
Written by Allison Pflanz and Alex Martin
Greetings from Peru,
Following an early rise, the GLA students, prepared for a thrilling Day Ten, were greeted by a breakfast of eggs, yogurt, and fruit. After gathering our swimsuits, towels, and sunscreen, we set out on a two-hour excursion through the Andes to arrive at our daytime destination, Mayu Lodge. Once we arrived, we were fitted into a wetsuit, helmet, and boots, and an informative safety demonstration prepared us for our rafting adventure. We split into groups of six, hopped into our rafts, and began our paddle down the Vilca Nota River. We enjoyed the remarkable landscapes and wildlife which depicted the natural beauty of South Cusco. Other sectors of the ride were comprised of daunting rapids and frigid water, which some individuals unfortunately plunged into. Towards the end of the expedition, many of us chose to float with the current, which proved to be an exciting conclusion to the rafting voyage.
After changing out of our wet, cold, gear, a warm sauna awaited us at the lodge. The talented chefs provided us with a delectable meal, comprised of hot soup, chicken, rice, and beets. With our stomachs full, we were ready for our next adventure: Ziplining! We were suited with harnesses, helmets, and gloves, and climbed a ladder which led to the first of two ziplines that crossed over the same Vilca Nota River. After the thrilling conclusion to the day, we returned to home base, but not before a quick stop for snacks at a local convenience store. Prior to dinner, many GLA students partook in activities such as chess and volleyball. As usual, the Villa Mágica staff provided us with a mouthwatering meal of chicken, vegetables, and potatoes. The day drew to a close with our daily mentor group meeting. On to Machu Picchu! 😊
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 5
Written by Samantha & Natalia
Hi Families! Today we started our day at 7am with a breakfast of scrambled eggs, yogurt, bread, and of course coffee. We packed our overnight bags and headed out to the bus at 8am (after saying goodbye to boots of course) to Ollanta to visit the town and ruins.
After the hour and half bus rides of naps and music, we arrived in Ollanta and visited the beautiful Inca ruins. Starting with photos for Instagram, we then split into our mentor groups before heading up what felt like a million stairs. The views of the mountains and ruins were incredible and our wonderful guides pointed out details within the rocks. After touring for an hour, we headed to the main square for some shopping (families, you will be spoiled), and later a local market.
After all this walking, we went to a local restaurant for lunch. Here we were treated to an appetizer, main dish, ice cream dessert, and the most delicious lemonade and pineapple juice. Special thank you to the restaurant for our incredible meals. After lunch we walked over to the soccer field our mentors graciously rented for us to play for an hour. Around 2pm we made our way to yet another beautiful market and chocolate shop for some more snacks. We all stocked up for our busy day tomorrow, Machu Picchu! After this shopping we walked to the train station to board our train to Aguas Calientes. On the train we were surrounded by the beautiful scenery of Peru. Within minutes some people were already sleeping (our favourite activity during travel). After some beautiful change of scenery from mountains to the Amazon Jungle and some overpriced snacks, we arrived at Aguas Calintes. After settling in with our new roommates at the hotel, we met up for a delicious dinner at Chef House with live Peruvian music
After we walked back to our hotel, stopped for ice cream, and got settled into bed for our hike and day at Machu Picchu tomorrow! Good luck to everyone hiking at 5!
BLOG POST FOR AUGUST 6 & 7
Written by Kaitlyn Mortman, Nate Heberlein, and Cora Kemp
Greetings from Peru,
This will be a joint blog post for Days 12 and 13. This will also be our last blog post as we prepare to embark on our separate journeys back home. On Day 12, a large group of students woke up at 5 am to complete a two-hour hike up Machu Picchu with Matt and Lauren. We finished the hike in an hour and 45 minutes, and was mostly steps making it a difficult journey. All the students and mentors met together at the top and got ready to see Machu Picchu. The views were worth the painful quad workout as we got to see a Wonder of the World. We spent around two hours on the mountain and saw things we will never forget. After the bus ride down the mountain, we played soccer in Aguas Calientes and spent time at a café. We then boarded the train to go back home. Most of the students went to bed early as we were tired from a long day of fun and travel. The next day, Day 13, we packed and did wrap-up program activities. We did a small service project as we drew drawings for a local school and wrote notes to the incredible staff of La Villa Magica.
After our service project, we did a game where we each shared a fact about ourselves that no one knows. Then we had our final mentor groups and took the time to appreciate one another. For dinner, we prepared for our arrival back to our home countries as we had burgers and fries for dinner, and chocolate cake to celebrate Gabe’s birthday! We said our thank-yous to the kitchen staff and jammed out to music as we danced around our farewell bonfire. Shout out to those on aux! It has been an incredible two weeks and we cannot believe our time in Peru has come to an end. We look forward to seeing our families, and a special thank you to all of the parents, staff, and Peru who made this trip possible.
See you soon!