Our students have arrived!
Days 1 and 2
Greetings from Cusco!
So far it has been a tiresome 3 days here in Peru. The first day felt awful mainly due to almost 15 hours worth of travel in order to get to Cusco in the first place. Then, the 2nd day was ROUGH. Holy crap, it felt about as exhausting as an entire field hockey game back home. This may have been due to our bodies being not yet adjusted to the new altitude but even still, my body was not prepared for this kind of work! We are currently in the third stage of constructing guinea pig (or cuy) farms for the people of the Cusco. When these structures are completed and ready to be used, they will help with improving income and overall health of the local Peruvians. Later in the afternoon when we finished with our service and were back in the hotel, a guest speaker from the local community came and spoke with us about the Peruvian culture. He talked about many different customs and traditions that Peruvians experience. An example of one of the traditions is called Tacca Naquita, which is started when a dispute happens between two people (same gender/age) and they “schedule” to fight on the 25th of December, along with most other Peruvians… and there’s a referee!! Anyways, on the second day we had to get up an hour EARLIER than the first day, which I’m not gonna lie was a bit of a struggle. We continued our work from the day before by breaking up dirt from the ground, sifting it, and then using a mud/cement like mixture as a cement for laying down bricks. When we got back to the hotel, we took the time to shower and rest before trekking over to the local Shaman. A Shaman is known as the local healer for the community. We took the time to make offerings to Pacha Mamma (or Mother Earth) before we got our own fortunes. Surprisingly, my fortunes were pretty accurate!
Excited to see what the next day brings! Signing off for now,
July 26, 2017
July 27, 2017
Our group just got back from the three day trek which was an amazing experience. I have not had much experience hiking prior to this trip so the first day was very challenging for me due to the altitude and other reasons. We hiked along the Inca trail to our campsite for about four hours. Along the way we encountered rivers, narrow and steep paths, and rocky grounds. We all pushed ourselves physically and mentally, but by the end we were so glad that we were able to push through and complete something so challenging. Going up the mountain was definitely tiring and scary at times, but as soon as we arrived it was so worth it! Our campsite had a beautiful view that my camera could not give justice and as night came around, the stars came out and the sky looked unreal. The more time that passed, the colder it got, but I don’t think any of us minded because we were so awestruck by the sky. On the second day, we woke up very sore, so we had a relatively easy day of walking along side a train track for a couple of hours to our hotel of the night. Along the way, we were able to see Machu Picchu in the distance which we climbed the following day. When we arrived at the hotel, we were all so glad that we were able to shower and change our clothes and were able to sleep in a bed (YAY!) That night, we did some shopping and bought some very cool items including shoes, jewelry, tshirts etc… The next day, we climbed up machu picchu which (again) was very physically and mentally tiring, but was also rewarding. The ruins were very cool and we were able to see llamas roaming around. We were able to get many cool pictures as a group and of the ruins and had a very insightful tour. The last couple of days have been great but I’m so glad to be back at home base! We are all very sad that our adventure is soon coming to an end.
We are back from our three day trek to Machu Picchu and ready to continue building our guinea pig houses! Today was a short but productive day at service. Some of our girls are working on more detailed blog posts and we’ll be getting those to you soon.
Last week we had the opportunity of visiting the community of Patabamba. Patabamba is located among the andes mountains and their economy is strongly based on agriculture. Our group was divided into four smaller groups and each one visited a different family. Most of us helped the families shell beans or corn and we were able to talk to them and get to know them a bit better while we helped out. The families were very grateful and invited us into their homes for a traditional snack called “watia” which consists of boiled potatoes and fresh cheese. They also cooked quinoa soup for us at the end of the day. Everything was delicious! Afterwards we had a soccer game with people from the community and enjoyed the incredible view.