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.
Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we hope you enjoy following along on these unforgettable adventures.
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 after activities are completed to have with them through the night. Actual tech times and regularity will vary greatly by program location and time zones. 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.
For frequently asked questions about the blogs, please visit our Program Blog FAQ page.
-The Global Leadership Adventures HQ Team
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 14
Here we are, safe and sound at our home base in Cusco, Peru! Every single student flew all night, but we made it safely and happily with only one lost bag (it’s on it’s way here!). After everyone arrived this morning, we made our way to our charming home base in the historic district, on the way we got to see women walking around with their fluffy alpacas.
After arriving to home base, we were able to do some introduction games and made some beautiful portraits with a mix of the features of everyone in our group. After, we ate a yummy lunch to energize us, followed with our lovely, knowledgable, local Director, Mateo, leading our group to walk around the area by home base on this sunny day. We got to see the plaza de Armas, huge cathedrals, groups dancing, walk the cobblestoned streets, stop by Qorikancha (temple of the sun), before heading back to home base. Right now is the season for Inti Raymi (festival of the sun — the Incan winter solstice), which means every day there are traditional dances in the plaza, and crowds of people enjoying the festivities of the season by watching the dancers and wearing traditional clothing.
After a bit of well-deserved rest, and what sounded like some intense card games, we met back up for orientation. At this point, our group was really running on fumes, but I have to say everyone is unwavering after getting through the day with only a wink of sleep and long travels. For dinner, we got to eat traditional lomo saltado (and a tofu version for the vegetarians), yummy squash soup, rice, french fries, salad, and a piece of dessert, all accompanied by a warm mug of tea (Coca tea, anyone?). Now, we’re turning in early to energize for the adventures to come!
– Adela Traeger, International Director
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 15
Written by Hunter I.
Today we started by having a nice breakfast! After breakfast, there were multiple rounds of card games, one of them being an intense game of spoons.
Then, we had a reflection activity at the home-base which took up most of our morning. We debated on our positions on an issue in Peru. This gave everyone in the group perspective on how our actions can have environmental and social impacts.
After lunch we then went to a celebration in downtown Cusco during our walking tour. In this tour we explored the city while gaining historical knowledge about the buildings surrounding us. Near the end of our tour we visited a local market (called San Pedro market) selling churros, Peruvian ponchos, and the traditional baked Guinea Pig.
After walking around the market we went to indulge in a spiritual connection to nature. We came back for dinner and played a very riveting game of jeopardy, which included many questions about Peru and GLA. One of them being, “What is the traditional drink made of fermented corn?” Answer: Chicha!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 16
Written by Jack
Wake up call was at 6:00 where the GLA students got ready and made it down to breakfast at 7:00. We enjoyed bread and yogurt for breakfast. After breakfast we hopped into a van and traveled across cusco where we expierenced a reality tour of rural cusco. We witnessed a kindergarten, elementary school and medical clinic. We all then enjoyed lunch with a beautiful view of the mountains. After that we continued our journey by visiting an animal sanctuary where we saw llamas, monkeys, alpacas, condors and a bear. We then returned back to base where we rested for a moment before heading back out for some ice cream. There was some time to waste before dinner so the students played poker betting with local types of candy. (Grace won big) We all finished the day by eating a great meal of chicken and rice and then heading to bed early before our big day tomorrow.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 17
Written by Waverly
Today we started our day off by having a delicious breakfast at home base! We took the opportunity to fuel up before our first big day of volunteering at the mobile clinic! Right after breakfast we packed our bags with lots of water and sunblock before heading out to catch our bus.
At the clinic, we were divided into the different stations. These stations were education, pharmacy, triage, shadowing a doctor, and assisting in tooth brushing/dental hygiene. Each station provided a hands-on medical experience for every GLA student, and was a great way to kick off the service portion of our trip!
After having lunch at the clinic, we continued to help out with the second rotation of stations. Each student got to experience two different stations today! Once we had all finished the work at our stations, we headed back to home base before hearing some Quechua stories!
In the evening, we winded down with shoutouts before an amazing dinner at home base. To end our night we learned about responsible photography and played a fun game of “hot seat” where we asked each other questions to get to know each other better.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 18
Written by Zayne M.
For today, we all went and did the mobile clinic in Yuncaypata, and helped out the local doctors. We got to help out in the pharmacy organizing people’s medicine that was prescribed, teaching the children how to wash their hands and brush their teeth, writing prescriptions assigned by the doctors, and taking some of the vital signs of patients.
After that, we all decided to go to San Pedro market and got ice cream and shopped around. Once we finished that, we went back to home base to rest, but not for long as we all had dance class not thirty minutes later. They taught us the dances of the jungle, mountains, and coast, and even let us keep the items we danced with as souvenirs.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 19
Written by Clara
Today was the final day of the mobile clinics. We traveled to a different small community with the local medlife doctors we have been working with the past few days. We assisted the doctors by teaching the kids how to properly brush their teeth and applied fluoride; took patients vitals, height and weight; educated them on diseases; and proscribed and passed out medication. There weren’t many kids today because most were in school but a few came by while we were cleaning up to get a toothbrush.
Once we returned to home base from the medlife clinic everyone spent some time in their rooms before meeting up to listen to a local musician play a few of the traditional instruments of Peru. He taught us to play a song as a group and demonstrated a few songs in instruments such as a harp, banjo, and flute. After that we had dinner and latter pizza then got ready for bed.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 20
Written by Grace
Today we started our morning by getting to sleep in a little later than usual and had breakfast around 8:20! After our meal we made our way to our bus where we drove to a cooking class. In the class we got to help prepare and cook a three course meal! These dishes were traditional Peruvian meals: causa, lomo saltado, aji de gallina, and masa mora for dessert.
After we enjoyed all the food we cooked, we headed to the MedLife roundtable. During this round table we got the opportunity to visit the homes of three families who have been helped by MedLife. They shared their stories with us and this was a good opportunity to see the first hand impact we were able to help make by volunteering in the clinics.
Lastly, we traveled back to home base where some people stayed to rest before dinner and others went to buy some snacks! The rest of this evening we will be packing and getting ready to head to Maras to see the salt mines, then Aguas Calientes tomorrow.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 21
Written by Mason
We started today early by waking up at 5:30 for a 6:00 breakfast and departed at 7:40. After a very bumpy ride we arrived at our first stop, the Maras salt mines. We got to view and take pictures of the beautiful salt mines. We then set off to our second stop called Andean colors where we ate lunch on a site with alpacas surrounding us and got a taste of the Peruvian delicacy, the cuy, or guinea-pig.
After our meal we got to see the guinea pig farm that was a host to hundreds of the fussy animals. Then we were taken into another room where we were shown the process of how alpaca blankets are made and the dyeing if the material. We left for our final stop of our van trip at a small town, Ollantaytambo, where we ate dinner and bought some mementos. After dinner we took a train to the town closest to Machu Picchu called Aguas Calientes where we checked into our hotel and spent the night.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 22
This morning we woke up for an early 6:00am breakfast to leave for the bus to Machu Picchu at 6:30am. After a quick bus ride, we soon arrived to the incredible ruins of Machu Picchu. Our local director and guide, Mateo, lead us through the ruins, showing us the difference between living quarters and sacred temples based on whether the rocks used mortar or not. Those that didn’t use mortar fit together perfectly, and were used for places that were sacred to the Incas.
We also saw sun dials, and perfectly circular rocks that were theorized to either be used as mortar and pestle for food, or they put water in it and used it as a mirror to see the stars. We also got to take some amazing pictures!
After Machu Picchu, we headed back down to aguas calientes where we played charades, had a wonderful lunch of burgers and pizza, and spent a long time at the market. Soon after, we took the 2 hour train ride back to Ollantaytambo, then a 2 hour van ride back to Cusco. Upon arrival, we ate dinner and are already ready to get some much deserved rest.
– Adela (International Director)
Here are lots of pics from the last couple days!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 23
Today was a relaxed day after getting back from Machu Picchu. We got to sleep in for a late breakfast at 9am. After, we did some leadership activities at home base, and then had some free time to play cards. After lunch, we walked to Qorikancha, the sun temple that the Spanish had converted into a convent. It was very interesting to see the intricacy of the Incan stones and then the more unsophisticated additions by the Spanish.
After this museum, we walked to San Blas, the art district, and got some crepes while we played uno and other games and got to shop around a bit. Afterwards, we headed back to home base where we got our rafting briefing and ate dinner, then headed to bed early for the exciting rafting day to come!
– Adela (International Director)
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 24
Written by Nico
Today we got up, ate breakfast and drove forever for two hours to the River Lodge in Cusipata where we went rafting. Rafting was exciting! We rafted for two hours, and in the middle there was a big rock that we got to jump off of into the freezing glacier water river (it’s okay though because we were wearing warm wetsuits.) We got to raft in up to class three rapids. Then we got back and had a big lunch. After lunch, we ziplined really fast over the river. Then, we hung out and played poker and had a big fire outside. We had a delicious dinner, then got creative and cooked bananas and chocolate over the fire. We are going to bed early to wake up reeeeeeeally early for rainbow mountain tomorrow.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 25
Written by Miles
We started today at 4:30am, where we had breakfast at the lodge before embarking on a two-hour hike up to Vinicunca, the Rainbow Mountain. At the summit, at almost 17,000 feet above sea level, we enjoyed some hot chocolate and companionship. The difficult hike was rewarded with a beautiful view. We learned about how the rainbow mountain was formed and with what minerals. Then we relaxed at the home base before going to McDonald’s and playing some poker. We then enjoyed dinner at the home base, and are headed to bed to get some sleep after a long day.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 26
Written by Vitoria C.
We started the day by having a filling breakfast and discussing our plans for our final day! We headed out to the market for some last-minute souvenir shopping at the artisanal market and stopped at McDonald’s on the way back.
The group had lunch, and then we began our closing activities. These included naming one meaningful goal (OMG), an appreciation circle, and student evaluations. We all went back to our rooms to pack, and some of us joined in on a game of poker, while others walked around the city to find churros.
After that, we enjoyed our final dinner before having picarones which are like Peruvian donuts. Then we returned to our rooms to finish packing and rest before our day of traveling tomorrow!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 27
Today, 7 students had to wake up super early to head to the airport at 6am. We were sad to see them go, but happy we made the memories that we did!
The remaining 3 had a relaxed day, they checked out of their rooms at 10am. Before lunch we hung out at home base, and then spent some time at a nearby cafe to eat empanadas and pan con chocolate. We then headed back to home base for lunch, and afterwards walked to and ambled through San Pedro Market to window shop and get the last churros and orange juice of the trip. After hanging out a bit more at home base, the car came and took them to the airport.
Now that everyone has passed through security, home base feels quiet. Mateo and I will definitely miss this funny, adventurous, brave, strong, kind, resilient group. To my group, thank you so much for coming and everything that you added to make it what it was.
– Adela (International Director)