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 19
Arrival day was a beautiful success as the students happily and safely arrived to the airport in Cuzco. We were welcome at our home base and did a tour with Alex, our home base manager who very kindly shared about the Living Inca City we are in, Ollantaytambo. We played soccer with the local boys in the main plaza, which was a true highlight of joy for the group.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 20
On our second day we started a morning of get to know you games and orientation. Students did several activities to continue creating a sense of trust in the group. We had an interactive tour through the Ollantaytambo ruins and dove into the Andean culture with a heartfelt ceremony with Q’uero community members, one of the last indigenous Incan descendants Quechua speakers in the region.
In the night we got to be in a cultural presentation in the Ollantaytambo ruins to celebrate the original tale of the town, a truly unique experience. We are now a complete group with the arrival of one of our students today!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 21
As the leader of the day Seth U., I got the chance with my fellow peers being more of a mentor to them rather than just a friend. Being a mentor means you have to make sure rules are being followed but it’s more than that it’s all about making sure that people are safe and having fun.
I had a few jobs like making sure that people were getting to places on time and staying hydrated and not getting absolutely cooked from the sun and not bullying – that last one was luckily not hard at all.
It all started early in the morning around 7:00 waking up making sure I was ready and mentally prepared to handle a bunch of crazy 17 year old. At around 8:00 I made sure that everybody was getting to breakfast and that they knew what we would be doing that day and what they would need through out our first day of service. After eating our amazing toast and eggs we got all our super important things together and started our small hike up to a girls school to help them cleaning up the yard and making sure they would be able to grow crops for the future.
We had lunch at the service site which was really cool we got to try food that they would normally eat and it was really good. Next we got to meet a lot of the girls and introduced our selves in their native language and they introduced them selves in English. It was a struggle and very hard pronunciation but it was super fun. We played tag with them running around and we were in a pretty small area but that made it even funnier. Finally we sadly had to head back to home base after a lot of fun with the girls and helping out.
When we got back to home base there was a guest speaker ready for us so we quickly grabbed some more water and jumped right back into the fun after speaking to the guest speaker more about why and what we are doing to help these girls and their education. We had a fun little game which we got to connect more with the speaker and the small family we are creating. Then we got to take a small break and headed up to dinner. When we got there we decided to go shopping a little bit while they were making our food. We got to go out and try some of the very unique products, the very interesting candies and snacks they have in Peru. Some were definitely tastier then others. After that we quickly headed back to the restaurant and ate our food which was very good. We are only a few days in and have tried some very cool foods.
After dinner we headed back to home base and had a leadership activity with our peers. Some more then others got to a very deep level and really were able to relate and connect with our emotions. It’s very heartwarming to see how much alike we are and what hard things that we have all been through and honestly are still going through.
Last but not least during our free time we like to get everybody together or at least all people that aren’t about to fall asleep from the long day and go play cards and keep connecting for this last hour. It is definitely a special moment and one of my favorite moments every night. After that we all go to our respected rooms and head to bed getting ready for the next day.
It’s amazing we get to have these special connection and seeing these almost unworldly things from where we live today. What an experience!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 22
Written by Connor and Seth – Leaders of the Day
On day 4 we started our day early with a long bus ride to our service trip in Calca. There, we worked hard to remove weeds and moved rocks to create a more level ground. Afterwards, we travelled to explore some artisanal markets in Pisac. We were introduced to a new world of colorful textiles, and we even got to meet an alpaca.
On the way back, we had quite a bonding experience on the bus. Then, we got to eat some delicious dinner and followed the night with a leadership activity.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 23
Today was a very eventful and exciting day. We had breakfast and drove to Calca to do our service. We used pickaxes to break the ground up and get the grass out of the ground. Not as easy as it sounds. We also spent some time tanning/burning in the sun. The girls from the home finally arrived back and we got to make ceramic Makarinas. We forgot what they were called. But they made whistle noises as you blew into the hole in the top. We got to watch the girls laugh at us as we tried to speak Spanish with them. The people who were teaching us how to make the whistle noise things had brought their daughter, Naira. She was the absolute cutest child EVER!
Our cuisine of the day consisted of some delicious green noodle soup, and shredded chicken stuff with rice. But the most exciting meal of which we had been waiting for since the day we saw it on the menu was Alpaca. Now that may sound gross but it was actually amazing. They added this sweet sauce and it just had so much flavor and tasted like no other meat we’ve tried. Some people had a hard time eating as we were having laugh attacks mid dinner. Also the fact that we had just held a baby alpaca yesterday and now we’re eating one. Overall it was a very good day.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 24
Written by Beatriz and Kaitlin – Leaders of the Day
Good morning, today we had a later wake up and some of us got up early to go on a jog with Manu, our local director! After breakfast we packed our bags for Cusco and learned about responsible photography. Shortly after we headed to the Maras salt mines where we learned all about the history of the mines and got some great photos. After that we headed into Cusco for lunch at a local restaurant.
We then did a walking tour around the popular streets of Cusco and got to visit the local markets that sold delicious foods. Shortly after we checked into our hotel where we then had a safety briefing to prepare us for our exciting day tomorrow of white water rafting and zip lining. For dinner we had delicious chicken and fries and ended the night playing group games.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 25
Hello dear parents!
Today was our adventure day as we went rafting and zip lining! It was a beautiful day with the sun shining and the students adventuring the nature in Peru. We woke up early in our hotel in Cuzco where we spent the night and had our breakfast prepared with much love from the wonderful host in the hotel.
We arrived to the river with our rafting guides where they prepared us for the adventure, getting us the right gear including our padels, lifeguards and our suites and boots to face the cold water. We grouped in two boats and had fun rides as we navigated through rapids up to class 3. We had some exciting moments with rougher water but both boats made it through without any falls. As we arrived back to the lodge we had the sauna waiting for us, where we enjoyed warming our bodies and relaxing after the adventure.
They served us a beautiful lunch with nutritionus quinoa soup and the main dish chicken, vegetable and of course potatoes – we have had many potatoes as Peru has 4 thousand kinds which students are enjoying.
After lunch we zip lined across the river to close our journey. We came back in bus in a 3 hour ride, where many students peacefully slept through 🙂
The journey has been smooth and beautiful!
My kind regards,
International Director Maria Alejandra Gonzalez
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 26
Written by Aedan and Montana
Today was day 8 in Peru and it was extremely exciting. We woke up and had a breakfast of pancakes and eggs before heading out to our last day service here in Ollyantaytambo. We worked in the garden using pickaxes to get rid of weeds and loosen up soil. After lunch we tanned in the scorching sun. On our walk back to homebase we stopped in the plaza for some ice cream and handmade Peruvian goods, such as clothing, backpacks, and bracelets.
After our shopping spree we hit the dance floor and learned some cultural dances from the four regions of Peru. Turning the tables, we taught the dance instructors the Cotton Eyed Joe line dance. We finished off the day with some free time before dinner and a leadership activity (Extremely competitive Pictionary). We also learned how to be a more cohesive team with a power point presentation. Today was another great day in Peru and we cannot wait for tomorrow and our trek later this week.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 27
Written by Seth – Leader of the Day
It all started waking up nice and early in the morning of course as the amazing leader of the day I was totally not late 😉 lucky my amazing partner Dane the other leader of the day, also my right hand man, was there and up making sure everyone was at breakfast and on time. Me and dane explained the schedule to everyone to make sure they knew where they were going and were ready for the day. After that me and Dane rounded up everybody and made sure they had their necessities and were getting on the bus for the service we were going to be doing at this school.
When we got there we separated into teams and started getting work done with Connor who had speakers so we could be jamming while working. After working for a while we all sat down and had lunch together. It was amazing probably one of the best things we had so far and a little taste from home if you could guess what it was I wouldn’t be that surprised because it was a delicious burger.
After that we headed back out and finished up doing some more work and ended the service pretty strong. After that we made our way back to home base to chill for a little then do a nice debrief of the good hike/camping trip we had in store for us which was around 12 miles in total. After that we had FREE TIME! We all played some cards joked around and had some really interesting and fun talks. After that we went to dinner and had some amazing food then ended the night going to bed early sadly for the crazy camping day we are going on. Good night for now.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 28
Written by Connor and Montana – Leaders of the Day.
We started our day bright and early with a 6:00 am breakfast. We headed to our starting point of the hike just past the town of lares. We got oriented to what the hike was going to be like and started our journey.
We hiked past waterfalls, alpacas, and spikey grass on our way to base camp which was situated at about 14,000 feet. On our journey, we got to meet some locals at a small town that we had lunch at. Though it was a tough feat, we all made it, and got congratulated as we were one of the fastest groups of hikers that our leaders had. After this long hike, we were met with a light snack of pocorn, crackers, and warm drinks before dinner. Dinner was hot spaghetti. The stars in the night sky were to die for and the constellations were very different from what we were used to as Peru is in the southern hemisphere. In preparation for our long day tomorrow we went to bed very early in our tents.
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 29
Today we woke up freezing and above 14,000 ft! After we found it in ourselves to leave our warm sleeping bags, we had breakfast and packed up our tents and started our trek. We climbed to the highest point of the mountain and took a long break to enjoy the view. Then we continued down the trail, some fast and some slower, and all eventually met to have lunch in the nearest town to the lares pass.
We took the bus back home and enjoyed the views, and then unpacked and showered off all the sweat from our hike. In town, we got coffee and bought souvenirs in the markets. We also saw a concert in the town square, as there were many festivities going on today. We had fun chatting at dinner, and back at home camp we relaxed. Overall a very fun day!
BLOG POST FOR JUNE 30
Written by Luella and Kaitlin – Leaders of the day!
We were awaken at the crack of dawn. Had delicious bread for breakfast and then headed on our way to the train station to start our journey to Machu Picchu. We soon realized we could have slept in an extra hour as our train got delayed. We spent the hour in the train station coffee shop drinking our delicious Peruvian iced coffees. We then got on the train for a two hour drive and arrived around 10:30 to the town of Machu Picchu. Throughout the train ride the habitat around us changed, we were used to a dry and cold environment, but it changed into a more jungle and humid environment. The town of Machu Picchu was full of tourists waiting to go to one of the 7 Wonders of the World. We waited in line for about 15 minutes and then we went aboard the bus to our destination. The bus ride was around 30 minutes and had the most beautiful views we’ve ever seen. We arrived at the bottom of our walk to Machu Picchu. We climbed up flights of stairs and finally made it.
As we turned around the corner we were struck in awe. The views were mesmerizing. The pictures of Machu Picchu do no justice of what it is like in real life. The amazing architecture and beautiful views were stunning. We got to learn about many things including the Sun Temple where they would sacrifice pure children for the gods. We also learned about the astrological significance of Machu Picchu and how many buildings were built around the way the sun and stars move. We then arrived back to the bus stop and headed on our journey to lunch. The ride down from Machu Picchu is the most beautiful but most scary car ride i’ve ever been on. The road is the width of a car and a half and we’re all holding on for dead life. The whole tour took around 2 hours and we were on our way to lunch!
We finally arrived back at home base around 7:30 and went to our dinner spot. After dinner we had our own concert down the streets of peru, singing and dancing! We then have our closing activity as two of our people are leaving tomorrow, a day early.
Closing was an emotional roller coaster. We started off laughing and ended outside around a candle crying our eyes out.
BLOG POST FOR JULY 1 & 2
Written by Alejandra Gonzalez – International Director
We have closed our wonderful learning journey finalizing our time together with space to relax at the homebase, pack, share with peers, play games and music and enjoy a fire in the terrace. We also walked around the town for the last times. Students enjoyed getting ice cream, being in the plaza and buying last souvenirs from the local artisans from the stores in town.
We had our last lunch all together on Saturday, and student reminisced as we played a video from all the memories we shared in our last 2 weeks. Seth and Dane departed first on Saturday afternoon, with a feeling of nostalgy but also warmth from the new friendship that have been formed. Our next 3 students, Katie, Kaitlin and Luella left the home base at 3:30 am – great early bird warriors 😄! Other students woke up to give the last huggs and goodbyes to them!
Finally we had Beatriz, Connor, Montana and Aedan be the last students to leave homebase and leave all together in the airport Sunday afternoon.
We feel so grateful to have shared this life-changing experience with our dear students who have made this time truly memorable.
My best regards and wishes in receiving your sons and daughters back home. Thank you for your trust and support throughout the journey!