Time Capsule Letter – October 2016
We started off with a bang. What a diverse group of students, from all parts of the States, with an eclectic cultural heritage, different religious backgrounds, all in all a completely composite sculpture! And this time around we were split down the middle, just as many young men as young ladies. That meant for a wide array of opinions, lively debate, to say the least! As the session went on we discovered in a very vivid way what it means to co-inhabit, to live together among difference. This posed a true challenge for us as a group, how do we live a rich experience and turn personal differences into an educative process?
I would sum up our experience over our two weeks together as a journey of seeking positive perspectives while including and allowing space for difference and disagreement. Learning how to participate in a community necessarily includes all colors of reaction. We can like, love, dislike, disagree, and as we do so, we can use this difference to create an intricate bond, string together a community by accepting difference.
In the end we were successful. The scene of goodbyes at the airport, full of warmth and tears, proved how much growth can trans-pass in such a short amount of time. I remember the meeting we called mid-session, to assess the direction of our journey together. During that meeting we learned about the concerns some of our students had with their experience in Cusco. The podium was open. Voices could be heard. And then in the following days we as team implemented a plan to meet these concerns with a positive answer.
All this could not have happened were it not for the inherent positivity of our team as a whole. We made it through the trek, albeit we were deterred from our original plan due to a blocked road in the high Andes. But we made out of it an adventure. That is actually a very good metaphor for our adventure as a whole.
- Early morning hike to see the view from the mountains to the jungle with Finn, Cortland, and Kyra.
- Poor Lia had to turn around due to a crazy bout of altitude sickness but then still made it up Machu Picchu.
- Semi-truck accident on an Andean road diverts our trek to another location.
- A puppy is born at one of the work sites, the old woman calls him Bubi.
- Kyle holds a mentor group at the basketball court where we play ball and discuss Love.
- Lunch at the public sports arena. We are caught by sprinklers!!!
Summer Blog Posts
Almost all of us are here! Yes I said almost! We have three compatriots coming in tomorrow, but otherwise, solid as a rock, all together, here we go! After a more than thorough orientation we are all but over equipped to deal with whatever dragon comes our way. Peru says hello to our parents. We are safe and sound and ready to wake up bright and early tomorrow to start our work on the Cuy houses for our service project. Tea to adjust to the altitude, and sleep to regenerate our engines.
July 15, 2016
Today was our first day of service. We drove about 30 minutes out to a beautiful rural town named Chocco. We arrived in the bitter cold of 7 AM and were greeted by majestic mountains and morning fog. We then broke into small service groups and went off to help 4 different families in building houses for their guinea pigs, a traditional delicacy in Peru. Even though the living conditions in the town were poor, the locals were full of life, gratitude, and kindness. Our work consisted of pick-axing at a muddy cliff to make space for the guinea pig houses, shoveling dirt into wheel barrows, and dumping the dirt at the edge of a creek that ran through the valley at the worksite. As the day progressed the day warmed up and during break we gathered at the local park/soccer field to rest. After snacks and playing at the park in a valleys surrounded by beautiful mountains, the group became closer despite the scary seesaw from hell. Later that night a Peruvian regional government official gave us an eye opening talk on the issue of poverty in Peru and its causes. And now we are all getting ready to sing Cat a happy birthday and head to bed!
-Jenna and Veronica
Today we took a very interesting adventure. After finishing up our amazing breakfast, we all gathered at the front of the building to discuss the plan for the day and then we split up into the two busses and headed out for our adventure. Upon arriving at Patabamba, we were greeted by the five, friendly, local family representatives who’s families we worked with throughout the day. Throughout the day we worked with the families to take out their daily activities, such as removing the husks off of beans, as well as shucking corn. During the day they offered us a plentiful amount of snacks to keep us energized. Following the daily work, we ate lunch with them and proceeded to play a game of soccer along with the local children. Following the journey to Patabamba, we came to our home-base and discussed what we have observed throughout the few days of us being in Peru. We reflected through our journal entries, along with silence to reflect upon our service work with the many families we are helping.
Tom and Ajish
July 18, 2016
On the fourth day of the two-week Service in the Sacred Valley, students went on a tour of Cusco. We visited ancient Incan ruins, which included various views of the city of Cusco. After visiting the ancient ruins, we also had lunch at a restaurant, which featured grilled alpaca, which many of us enjoyed. Following this, we visited two cathedrals. The first cathedral that we visited featured many gold sculptures, however pictures were permitted in the two cathedrals. The second cathedral displayed multiple canvases of religious and sacred paintings. We all loved the mixture of Incan and Spanish culture and are very thankful to our tour guides. All in all, the day was very fun but also tiring.
– Lia Ingersoll and Adrienne Murdock
July 18, 2016
It’s our fifth day in Peru…second day of service. We’re building cuy houses (guinea pig houses). After coming to home base for a quick lunch, we went to a field on a cliff with a beautiful view. A musician taught us about the history of traditional Incan instruments and previewed them for us. After learning about the rich history of Peruvian music, we had a chance to play them ourselves. Then the musician taught us a nice melody on a flute. He offered to let us buy the flutes that he taught us the melody on (only 15 soles :D). Before leaving the field, we went and admired the view for a brief moment. We then got to explore around at the cultural market – the woman at the store gave us all big hugs and welcomes. After enjoying the market for an hour, we had a nice, peaceful stroll back to home base. The three-week group came back today and were having dinner at our arrival to home base (our buddies are back!). We had a nice dinner circle today, where several people received some very kind shout-outs. After dinner circle, we had an amazing dinner and got to watch a documentary. It was a good day overall because we got to volunteer at service and have fun later on 🙂
– Ashish Wadhwani and Eve Sullivan
July 19, 2016
Today, we went to the service site in Chocco and worked on our designated projects. After returning to home, base we walked to a local produce market and did a scavenger hunt for different foods around the market. We looked for exotic fruits and vegetables native to Peru. We walked home and a nurse came to speak about public health and malnutrition in Peru. All of today’s activities were a lot of fun!
-Connor and Emma
Sunday morning was unnaturally cold, to the point at which the water in my bottle completely froze solid. After packing our bags and having a nice, warm breakfast, we headed down to our buses. During the long bus ride, we noticed that the weather got significantly warmer. It felt wonderful to finally experience humid weather, compared to the cold, dry air in Cuzco. As we looked outside, we noticed that the vegetation in the mountains drastically increased. We saw a lush, green jungle, complete with tropical vines and trees, compared to the dry yellow grass and course soil we saw in the Andes.
When we began our hike along the railroad, we noticed that the air became more comfortable to breathe, since there was more oxygen at a lower elevation. The hike was so much easier than the hike in the Andes; the road was mostly flat, and we didn’t have to wear our heavy winter attire. After the hike, we reached the secluded town of Aguas Calientes. The town itself looked beautiful, since it was built along a valley with a river running through the middle of the street. It almost looked like a fantasy movie set. We settled down in our hotel, and took a nice, hot shower for the first time during the trip. That pretty much concludes Sunday; we traveled to a warm jungle took some warm showers, and had a warm dinner and it felt so good.