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 JUNE 24
¡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’re in a fairytale nestled in little white cottages between large, majestic mountains. The day was spent playing the world’s longest game of Uno while waiting at the airport, taking a long and winding drive from Cusco to Lamay and spending plenty of time getting to know one another. With so much outdoor space at home base, students were able to take advantage of the sunshine and play games in the fresh air all afternoon. After a delicious dinner, everyone went off to bed. We’re sure our students will all sleep well after this big day. Looking forward to an excellent fourteen days with this group!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 25
Day 2: Pago a la tierra
Everyone woke up feeling energetic this morning after a good night’s sleep at home base. After breakfast, 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.
After lunch, we played name games and dived into orientation. We 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, camaraderie and being welcoming. Tomorrow we are off to Maras and Moray!
(P.S. Our leaders of the day will start writing blog posts tomorrow!!)
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 26
Written by student leaders of the day
Greetings and salutations to parents, guardians, pets, anyone to whom this blog might concern,
Finally! Many firsts for today but most significantly, our first day away from home base. The technological withdrawal is real, but all campers got access to their precious metal blocks to take as many 0.5 selfies as they desired. After a hearty breakfast, 22 tired teenagers made their way up the most dreadful set of stairs in existence, entered the cozy bus, and departed to the Salineras de Maras, a large salt mine that sources its salt water from a nearby mountain.
After a highly educational tour, we made our way to the Moray archeological site, a series of terrace farms each with their own micro-climates. Following this, the hungry high-schoolers arrived at lunch, to be met by THE CHILD. For those of you who don’t know, The Child is an energetic, unpredictable, enthusiastic, and sometimes violent toddler who knows nothing else but to live, laugh, and love. He showed us many toys and tricks, such as charging at an alpaca with his toy truck and hitting it with the force of los dios.
After being seated, all of us had a unique dining experience, seated on the floor. Después de eating, we were presented with the third, and most captivating, course of the day, cuy, or more commonly known as Guinea Pig. Next, The Child led us to the store, where we got an incredible yarn dyeing demonstration/tutorial and our wallets suffered (sorry parents) as we bought all the alpaca merch. Finalmente, we got comfortable as our Formula-1 level driver brought us home in one piece. As we arrived home, we finally got to enjoy our first meal all together and NO MASKS!! (yay 😊) After finally being able to put a face to all these names, we split into our mentor groups and reflected on our Andean journey so far.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 27
Today began with the earliest wake up time of the week so far. We started by heading on the bus for our reality tour to help us better understand the community we will be volunteering and collaborating with. Each bus ride was filled with games and music. Our first stop was at a posta médica (small clinic) learning their limitations and perseverance in having a single doctor and three nurses. These nurses must travel, paying out of pocket. Whenever the clinic is closed or there seems to be a lack of transportation.
After getting interrupted by a stray dog fight, we traveled to a children’s school servicing the communities in the mountains of Rayanniyoc. Children in third through sixth grade serenaded us while the teacher described a regular school day. We moved on to a more touristy portion of the tour, visiting the statue of Christ the Redeemer and taking our traditional .5 picture (as seen below).
Then, a much-needed scenic lunch in the forest caused us to slightly melt due to the rapid change in temperatures here in Peru. Our tour finished up at a beautiful animal sanctuary where condors flew over our heads and bears were only separated from us by a four-foot hole. This stop turned out to be our next big splurge (sorry again parents) buying over fifteen different packs of Peruvian treats shared by the group after dinner. The night began to wind down after a chaotic game of fishbowl (a style of charades) between Matt’s Maniacs and Lauren’s Llamas as we get ready for our first day of service tomorrow.
P.S. Matt’s Maniacs won 😉
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 28
What up gang!!
We all had a bright and early wake up, some of us later than others. We had our first mobile clinic at a small community called Parpacalle. After a chaotic and bumpy bus ride with fear of not making it up the hill to the clinic, the GLA gang used their gains to carry the supplies to the destination. We had 7 stations including shadowing doctors, being in the role of a pharmacists, and a visit to a nearby home to observe the day-to-day life of a local. But don’t forget about oral hygiene! Sara and Isabella made sure they didn’t forget as they came by 3 times to brush their tiny teeth. To experience more, the GLA gang changed to a different station midday. To reenergize our exhausting but impactful day we listened to “Country Roads”, Victor’s favorite song. Finally as we came back, we had the opportunity to play the game “celebrity” at least 3 times. Over some squash soup and sweet potatoes we discussed the events of the day. We obviously made it a priority to take at least one .5 selfie as you will see proof below 😉.
See you tomorrow. #gracias #glagang #wheresnickwaterbottle
More photos from June 28th:
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 29
Due to the fact that none of the students have alarms, the first thing we heard was Haley and Bella aggressively slamming on the doors telling us to “rise and shine”. After that we proceeded to enjoy a delicious breakfast prepped by the kitchen staff. Similar to the day before, we hopped on the bus, courtesy of our driver Hugo. Hyped up by “Party in the USA”, we began our work in the clinic. Some of us talking to patients, while others were asked constantly by toddlers for more toothbrushes. Later, we rushed onto the bus to enjoy more Rihanna and the wonderful Victor serenading us with “Country Roads”. We took a pit stop for some ice cream as we pulled up to our hizzy (Nick’s word for homebase). Once arrived back, some of the boys received a spa day; they got their eyebrows plucked. Predinner, we had a captivating lesson on Peruvian history taught by the one and only Matt. Next, for dinner we had a delectable mix of fish, vegetables, and potatoes. To end the day we all discussed our leadership styles in the Temple.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 30
The day began ten minutes late since the leaders of the day were two Spanish girls. After eating a delicious breakfast we had the most terrifying bus ride of our lives (we were safe the whole time thanks to our driver Hugo – just some steep and windy mountain roads). Whilst Spanish music was playing at full volume, the curves that Hugo (our bus driver) took were sharper than the ones in a Formula 1 car race. The day at the clinic was calmer than usual as there weren’t as many patients as the day before, however we had to teach a whole primary school how to brush their teeth.
Later, we stopped to restock our snacks and returned to home base to relax after a long day. The highlight of the day was getting Matt glammed up with a full-face make-up look, which he didn’t remove until after dinner. For the first time, our dinner was a magnificent buffet which we all enjoyed made up of pasta, vegetables, and chicken. We then enjoyed an origami lesson with Victor in which we learnt about the history of origami and created our own masterpieces: a dog and a crane. We all went to bed early as we were all exhausted due to the three intense work days we’ve had and we wanted to be well rested for the last clinic day tomorrow.
Buenas noches familia!
Here are photos from yesterday, and some additional photos from the last few days!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 2
It was a cold and early morning wakeup call to Ichi banging on the bedroom doors at 5am in the morning; nearly shattering the glass on the doors. Somehow, although Ichi told everyone breakfast was at six, the dinning room looked haunted up until the bus arrived at Villa Magica at 7am.
As we struggled to climb the stairs up to the parked bus, we met Alexi. Alexi is one of the founders of The Mayuc Lodge, were we practiced our ziplining and water rafting skills after a long and very silent 2 hour bus ride (FOR ONCE). As we arrived to the lodge we were given our gear to raft in the freezing waters of the Vilcanota River; this consisted of a wetsuit, a windbreaker, a helmet, and a paddle. Geared up, we got straight back to the bus to drive up to our adventure starting point. Once in groups of 5 or 6, (some of them including Matt and Victor), we and our awesome rafting instructors got into our designated boats and started paddling. In the water, we were in constant competition over who was first. Rafting seemed easy up until we got to level 2 and 3 rapids, were some students unfortunately fell into the depths of the unbearably freezing cold water. Finalmente, after 2 long hours of exhausting exercise, we arrived at the lodge to enjoy the hot sauna the staff prepared for us. For lunch, we had a delicious quinoa soup (it was bussin, bussin) and a traditional “estofado de pollo” with rice and vegetables. To drink, we had an amazing opportunity to try their excellent coffee and “chicha” (a traditional purple corn drink). After lunch, we were hurried to the zipline station, were the students had the opportunity to cross the river. Sadly, this was
As we struggled to climb the stairs up to the parked bus, we met Alexi. Alexi is one of the founders of The Mayuc Lodge, where we practiced our ziplining and water rafting skills after a long and very silent 2-hour bus ride (FOR ONCE). As we arrived to the lodge, we were given our gear to raft in the freezing waters of the Vilcanota River; this consisted of a wetsuit, a windbreaker, a helmet, and a paddle. Geared up, we got straight back to the bus to drive up to our adventure starting point. Once in groups of 5 or 6, (some of them including Matt and Victor), we and our awesome rafting instructors got into our designated boats and started paddling. In the water, we were in constant competition over who was first and who was the fastest group. Rafting seemed easy up until we got to level 2 and 3 rapids, where some students unfortunately fell into the depths of the unbearably freezing cold water. Finalmente, after 2 long hours of exhausting exercise, we arrived at the lodge to enjoy the hot sauna the staff prepared for us. For lunch, we had a delicious quinoa soup (it was bussin, bussin) and a traditional “estofado de pollo” with rice and vegetables. To drink, we had the amazing opportunity to try their excellent coffee and “chicha” (a traditional purple corn drink) which was also bussin.
After lunch, we were hurried to the zipline station, where the students had the opportunity to cross the river on a zipline. Sadly, this was the last activity of the day and the students had to get back to Villa Mágica. Once we arrived and had a delicious dinner, we enjoyed a fun game of human mine-sweep, where we had to use our silent teamwork skills to cross the mine field. Sadly, that was the end of our very, very fun day.
Thank you for reading and hasta la próxima. Adios!!
BLOG POST FOR JULY 3
Written by Kelby James and Alexa Roccholz
Today, we had a later day; waking at around 7:20 still waiting on laundry. Breakfast this morning was the same as every other morning – eggs, fruit, yogurt and granola. (yay!) Afterwards, hugo took us to Sacsayhuaman, an Incan archaeological site which was thought to be centered around astrology. Post-wandering around Sacsayhuaman, our group made our way down to the city of Cusco. After the grueling hour-long hike, with one 15 minute stop to listen to music for, we reached our salvation. LUNCH! Today’s lunch was randomly fancy and was very scrumptious, we even got dessert this time! Shortly after exchanging money, the San Pedro market was next. Filled with fear for our lives and belongings (just kidding), we made it through the parade to an even busier market. Once we all successfully shopped until we dropped, the leaders decided churros would be a great idea! Spoiler, they were right, except for those with stomach issues.
Moving on, the “three blocks” to walk back to the bus felt more like 30 blocks, yet we persevered. Hugo turned left onto a sketchy bridge, but because he is a Formula-1 worthy driver, we all made it across in 1 piece. The scenery changed from the middle of nowhere to the middle of somewhere as we made our way into a beautiful town where our hotel was supposedly located. While walking through town, our morale was low and lassitude was high, and we were prepared for Matt to pull out a couple of tents out of nowhere and tell us that we were sleeping in the woods for the night. However, the 21 tired teenagers were led into paradise on earth. They even had real pillows! The walk to dinner through sketchy back roads left a bit more to be desired, dinner did not. It was good, but the brownies were even better! After dinner we rambunctious teens wandered through the city square, shopping once more before bed. I guess overall you could say our day was okay 🙂
BLOG POST FOR JULY 4
Written by Ava Sanchez & Lourdes Morales Lands
After a restful night in the gorgeous Tierra de Las Incas, we took on the mesmerizing ruins of Ollantaytambo with our guides, Smith and Raul. Through archaeoastronomy and ancient technology, we discovered many Incan secrets. While the ruin’s steps depleted our energy, a tasty lunch and some retail therapy at the local market and chocolate factory lifted our spirits. Continuing the adventure, we navigated our way to the local train station, boarded the Peru Rail, and headed to Aguas Calientes. We traveled though the Sacred Valley, abundant with biodiversity and breathtaking views. As the train pulled into Aguas Calientes, the GLA crew prepared for an exciting night.
After settling into our hotel, Sol de los Andes Inn, some of us set out for the local hot springs. Here, we were able to relax in refreshing pools in preparation for tomorrow’s Machu Picchu hike. To fuel up, we feasted on a three-course meal at a local restaurant called Munaycha. Finishing off the night, we strolled through the streets of Aguas Calientes and took in the local night life. With hearts and tummies full, Day 11 came to a close.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 5
Written by Norah and Ariella
The morning started with hot showers and a hotel breakfast in Aguas Calientes! After a short walk to the bus station, the happy campers were on their way up the steep mountainside to Machu Picchu: The Lost City of the Incas. After a bumpy but safe 30 minute drive, we made it to the entrance where we had to do a 15 minute hike up to the peak of the mountain. We met up with our wonderful tour guides and split into three groups. We had our OG tour guide Smitty, along with two newbies. Then we walked down through the city. Don’t worry there were many picture breaks in front of the iconic views. As we strutted and skipped through the village, the tour guides told us all about the interesting history and construction of Machu Picchu. It was more amazing in person than the pictures could ever portray. After the tour was over, some of us stopped to purchase gifts. Next the hungry group of students boarded the bus back to Aguas Calientes for lunch. We had a two-course lunch, and then Matto let us stop for some street artisanal ice cream. The cappuccino was well-worth the wait in line. After grabbing our bags from the hotel, and stopping for yet another bathroom break, we began our journey back to homebase.
We started with a 2 hour train ride back to Ollantaytambo. The ride was bumpy, but very pretty. After jumping off the train, everyone was in the mood for a coffee break. So we stopped at a bakery for some café con leche y galletas. We met up with our epic bus driver Hugo for one last fun ride back to Villa Magica. Victor finished off the bus ride with a heartfelt karaoke session filled with all the classics like “Country Roads” and “Party in the GLA”. Back at homebase we unpacked our souvenir-stuffed sacks and sat down for a lovely home cooked meal by Kike. Kike is our talented head chef, that helped to fuel our travels this far. We ended the night with a good group meeting, discussing our adventures and what to expect for the rest of the trip. Everyone was exhausted from a long day of travel and passed out as soon as our heads hit the pillow. We dreamt of the exciting final day activities and writing the final blog post tomorrow!
BLOG POST FOOR JULY 6
Written by Carlo Leslie and Nicholas Benazzi
With the trip coming to an end, the gang started off with a hearty pancake breakfast. Followed with a return to service by seed planting at Villa Mojica. After, we reflected on our trip by setting goals that will take our experiences back home with us. Next, we got to visit Marco’s house featuring a trout, honey, and blueberry farm. With the end in sight, we packed up and realized that we actually have to go home. After packing, we showed our gratitude for each other with our closing activity. And now we truly end our trip with burgers for dinner, a bonfire, and lots of loving memories. Now time to return back to real life.