A plot of land full of mala yerba (bad weeds)
Endless pick axing, shoveling and removing of soil
Over 10 trees taken down, roots and all
7 tons of diorite (heavy boulders) hauled and placed
30 tons of brick hauled and stacked
3 trees de-barked
Endless buckets of mud made and hauled
A roof put up
…..And a HUGE green house was built for the community and children of Yunkaypata.
An enormous THANK YOU to all the students of the two, SERVICE IN THE SACRED VALLEY 3-week group. You all worked so hard and we really accomplished so much. It was an honor and pleasure to work alongside you all. From Miguel, Serita, Silvia and Jen… we send you a BIG HUG and MUCH THANKS!
Another Day of Service
Another day at our service site with lots of confusion via our language barrier. Quickly, we had our translated instructions to begin our work. We began work on the roof and began to level the ground of the greenhouse. We put up around 70 2×4’s along the support beams and logs from previous work days. From day 1 many were skeptical of our completion of the greenhouse, but seeing the roof go up, and after watching our small military work away, we finally seem to be just about finished. Our work was rewarded with a visit to the local llama farm. Everyone was ecstatic to take “selfies” with the multiple llamas/ alpacas/ vicunas! Our fellow ‘LOD’ Maria got enough luck and full experience to get spat on by one of the llamas in the face. After taking a mini shower in the sink, we moved on and took a little tour of the store (No one bought anything because of inflated prices). We left the site and headed to the local grocery store and used the left over donation money to purchase some snacks and fruits for the school of Yuncaypata. We plan on presenting these little treats on our very last day in the community.
-Jacob Morgan, Maria Lino, Vicky Guevara
Back to Work
Back to work bright and early in the morning. We arrived at service with little idea of what we were in for, but quickly got to work digging three holes, each one meter deep to hold logs that will support the roof of the greenhouse as well as spackling. We worked hard, but had fun at the same time. The roof has finally started to come together; it’s nice to be able to see the greenhouse progress into its final stages. After completing the pillars, we headed home for lunch and then returned to the orphanage that we visited the first week. Multiple games of soccer ensued, and many a man became dizzy upon the Spinning Wheel of Spins. As Leaders of the Day we chose to interview three of the children there: Fausto, Emerson, and Uriel ages 10, 13, and 7 respectively. Following a delicious dinner of beef and rice, we got to work creating friendship bracelets to present to another person at the end of the trip. We are all looking forward to making more progress on the greenhouse tomorrow, as the end is nigh.
L.O.D’s—Alyssa the Boss, Callie $w@q, Tsar Teddy
Today we woke up a little later than usual to get ready for our excursion in the city. First we visited a local museum called Qorikancha. It was a very interesting and unique experience, in which we learned about early Incan structures and the importance of external forces in their daily lives. Cosmology was very important to Inca culture as the sun and moon were considered gods, so many of the temples and ancient structure witnessed, were in fact dedicated to these religious idols. Exploring Qorikancha we were able to observe traditional outfits, agricultural techniques and their interpretation of the stars. A mural depicting the Milky Way accentuated the astonishing view in which you were able to pinpoint a Llama constellation named Urcuchillay. Urcuchillay is best known for its emergence in November where the Alpha and Beta Centauri become visible, serving as the Llamas eyes. After leaving Qorikancha we headed to the Cathedral where the influence of Spanish Catholicism became predominant. Both groups were captivated by the beautiful architecture and paintings with powerful meaning. We also learned about important figures who had influence on natives some of which were the ones who created some of the beautiful artworks we observed. Afterwards we toured around the city before having a delicious lunch in Saksaywaman complimented with lively music. Following our meal we further explored Saksaywaman where we were able to venture through dark Incan tunnels and slide down an exciting rock structure. Lastly we visited the White Christ statue where students were able to take photos of the magnificent sculpture along with viewing Cusco from a breathtaking perspective. After, we stopped at a local coffee shop and enjoyed some scrumptious drinks and pastries before walking back to our hotel. Overall the experience was both fascinating and breathtaking, easily becoming a definite highlight of our time in Peru.
– Lord Cydney, Duchess Nick & Princess Jordan
Yuncaypata & Dancing!
We woke up at 6:00 at our usual time, followed by breakfast. We left at 7:00 sharp and arrived at Yuncaypata at 7:30am. Throughout the morning service we managed to finish the brick walls of the greenhouse. BOOM! Another group achievement in the bag. That’s what we do! While we finished the brick laying another group debarked the mammoth logs to be used for the supporting frame of the greenhouse roof. 3 people died. Just kidding. 6 people died! No, but really two people got minor injuries due to the extensive, demanding, but extremely rewarding work. We left Yuncaypata at 1:00, and had lunch at home base at around 1:30, fish with a coconut sauce and rice.
At 2:30 we departed our home to take an outdoor dance lessons from a Peruvian dance teacher named Moises. We learned a carnival courting dance, that involved getting into colorful Peruvian garments, and choosing a partner. With the partner we tried the traditional courting dance. Actually pretty cool! We interviewed Moises and learned some interesting background about his life and his dancing career. We left several hours later, arrived at homebase, had a scrumptious pasta dinner and potato cakes. We finished with a brief meeting at 7:15. Peace.
L.O.D’s – Isabelle, Danny, Harrison
Service & Culture
After yesterday’s huge achievement of laying 2 and ½ layers of bricks, we were eager to be even more productive today. When we arrived, no time was wasted. Everyone went to their stations and started work right away so that we could have time to play with the children of Yuncapata. Seeing the children after 5 days away from them gave us the inspiration we needed to finish the final layers of the greenhouse. After an exhausting day of work and another 2 and ½ layers, we came back to home base for a quick lunch and to get ready for a demonstration on weaving. At the class, we learned how to wash, dye and weave the wools of alpaca and sheep. Our energetic instructor even gave us cups of coca tea to keep warm. At the end of the class we went to a colorful market where we were able to purchase some of the amazing weavings such as blankets, scarves, table runners, hats and much more. Lastly, before jumping back on the bus, we took some selfies with their llamas and alpacas all of which were super fluffy!! Back at base, we ate dinner, received feedback on our leadership today and had several LOD groups present on interviews that they had conducted. Now time to relax before bed.
L.O.D’s– Mary Goldstein, Jacqueline Morgan, Isabella Vieira
Back to Service!
Today we were faced with the task of having to lead service the first day back from the 4 day camping trip. We started by making laying bricks a priority because we were already slightly behind on the greenhouse. We put about 2/3 of the people in the mud/brick laying area and had the rest moving bricks. Jay led the brick movers and faced a minor setback because we expected a truck to help move bricks. Despite the setback, we were able to move all of the dry bricks to the work site and allowed the brick layers to continue their process. Our goal for today was to have at least two more layers completed. We ended up finishing 2 and ½ layers, which was impressive for the first day back at work. After a long day of work, we had a well-deserved 3 hour break. In the afternoon, we had Quechua class for an hour and a half. Quechua class was an enriching experience because we were able to learn about the native culture. To quote Ice Cube, “Today was a good day” and to quote Michael Jackson like the famous guide Patrick, “This is it.”
L.O.D’s- Jay, Dylan, Carlos (photo of blogging before bedtime)
Pinch You Picchu!
7/31 – 8/3 – Machu Picchu Weekend
After an early start (which we are used to by now), we set off on our four-day journey to Machu Picchu. We stopped in Mollepata to stock up on last minute snacks and buy walking sticks for the hike. Before we began hiking, we had a picnic lunch at the base of Mt. Salkantay. We warmed up and followed our local director, Richard, to the trail. This began a 3-day adventure filled with snowcapped mountains, frigid starry nights, and (literally) breath-taking views. Although the hiking was challenging, especially for those suffering from the altitude, everyone made it to the summit of Mt. Apu Salkantay and finally to Aguas Calientes, completing the journey with a relaxing ride on PeruRail. Needless to say, everyone was thrilled to sleep in an actual bed and take a shower for the first time since we left. We were also lucky enough to go out to eat in a restaurant in Aguas Calientes (which Miguel calls the Las Vegas of Peru).
The following day, we hopped on the buses and ascended the mountain to Machu Picchu. What we saw when we pushed through the crowds of tourists blew our minds, and even made some of us cry. The beauty of Machu Picchu is indescribable in words, and incomparable to the photos on postcards. We learned a lot from our talented and passionate tour guides, Patrick and Wilfredo, as we weaved through the ancient ruins. We were sad to leave, but excited to bargain at the markets back in Aguas Calientes before finally starting the four hour trip back to Cuzco. It was an exhausting weekend, but completely worth it. How many teenagers can say they’ve climbed Mt. Salkantay and seen Machu Picchu all in the course of four days!?
Leaders of the weekend: Oni Kibblewhite and Priyanka Patel… and many more who were too tired to write the blog
Woke up as usual this morning, only to find out that eight of our group were sick. By the time we left at 7:00, we were missing five of our fellow group members. One bus went directly to Yuncaypata, while the other bus stopped by the pharmacy to pick up medicine for those who needed it. By 8:00 everyone had arrived at the greenhouse, where we took inventory and split up into groups to haul bricks, make mud, and lay bricks. At 10:30 we took a 25 minute break to play soccer with the locals. After soccer we went back to work, and by 12:15 we had moved the entirety of the dry bricks. We laid several more layers of bricks to the greenhouse and made great progress. After lunch at home base we collected money to purchase supplies for the orphanage that we would travel to later in the day. We collected a grand total of more than 750 Soles!!! At 2:15 several of us went to the grocery store to buy supplies such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, canned foods, rice, shampoo, milk, soap, etc… At 3:00 we drove to the orphanage, not 15 minutes away. At the orphanage we took a tour of the estate, which houses 34 boys ages 5-17. After the tour we played soccer, tag, and hung out with the kids. We all sadly left at 5:00 to drive back to home base, followed by dinner at 6:30. We had another meeting at 7:15, and watched a TED TALK regarding single stories, and discussed the video. Tonight we finalize our packing to Machu Picchu. Next blog will be on Sunday when we return from our 4-day trip!
PS: parents…. Everyone is feeling much better tonight!
–Misha Bogdanov (Ted), Harrison Rusk, Isabelle Orlando
Service & Learning
Yet another 6 a.m. wake-up met us this morning. Our alarms went off and we knew what we had to do. Out of bed we went to wake up our whole loveable group. Our morning routine has been getting easier and easier these past days, something we are all thankful for. After a quick warm-up and stretch we quickly get to work. For four hours we haul bricks, mix mud, stack bricks, and haul some more bricks. Progress is being made and the final project is taking shape. Of course problems always arise but we are getting better at solving them quickly and efficiently. After we packed everything up and set out back to home base morale was high. We ate a delicious lunch and proceeded to the local park. There we people watched, conversed, played various games, bought well needed ice cream and smoothies, and earned ourselves a half-hour of Wi-Fi, that was especially loved by all. Before dinner we were blessed with a public speaker that gave a very informative speech on public health in Peru. We learned everything from malnutrition, to Peruvian viruses, to lack of vital resources in villages. Once the speaker ended and the claps died down we all sat down for dinner. Many agree it has been the best meal we have had yet. It consisted of delicious pesto pasta and breaded chicken. The last event of the day was the group meeting. We went over the work day (pros and constructive cons) and we went over the agenda for our three day hike to Machu Picchu! Everyone is tired but the talk left us in high spirits. Tomorrow is one more day of work and a trip to an orphanage. Well, enough for now, we are off to bed.
Leaders of the Day:
-Marc Gonzalo, Carlos Linares, Jay Pedrero
Back to Work
After a weekend full of adventure, we got back to our daily grind. Even though we were tired and sore, we all pushed through and came together as a team. Using new techniques, we were able to move a record amount of bricks. During our much needed break, we played with the children of Yuncaypata, the village where we are building the greenhouse. Some of us started a soccer game while others gathered the little girls and taught them some games in English such as “Ring Around the Rosie” and “Simon Says.” Later after our second half of service and an amazing lunch, we traveled through rain and hail to a music workshop where we learned to play some traditional Incan instruments. Each instrument was made out of different materials such as metal, wood, plastic and even alpaca bone. Each had their own particular sound and story. For example, the instructor’s favorite instrument the kena, similar to the flute, has a very unique legend. In Incan times, there was a couple who were madly in love but weren’t allowed to be together. When the woman died, the man was so grief stricken that he took her femur bone and created the kena. The music was so eerie and melancholy, that anyone who heard the music was inspired to commit suicide. So much so that the kena eventually was outlawed in the Incan Empire. When we returned to home base and ate dinner, we had our nightly meeting where we created our very own GLA Constitution outlining our team standards. With everyone on board, we turned in for the night to get rest for another exciting day tomorrow!
Leaders of the Day
~ Mary Goldstein, Janice Jhang, Elisa Benitez
Biking and Rafting!
We gathered our gear, put our laundry away, and packed up for a two hour bus ride to our mountain biking adventure. After a brief safety talk, we embarked upon a winding path, cruising down the snow capped mountain as buses and cars sped by honking. Our bikes put away, we headed over to our campsite, where we got settled and played soccer with local children. We ate two delicious authentic Peruvian meals, topped off by s’mores at a bonfire, where scary ghost stories were exchanged and we craned our necks to see a multitude of stars and even shooting stars. After a night tucked away in our sleeping bags and tents, we awoke to the sounds of the Urubamba valley. We packed up camp and headed to the Ollantatambo town center for some shopping and exploring. After visiting the marketplace, we travelled up river to board our rafts and embark on an adventure down the river. Throughout the river, we encountered class 1, 2 and 3 rapids under the towering peaks of the Andes, while seeing the beautiful wildlife and pristine nature of Peru. Even in the slower parts of the rapids, we had fun by engaging in water battles and games. During our trip, we talked to our raft guide, who has worked as a guide here for 20 years and lived in Cusco his entire life, yet never gets bored of exploring the Urubamba river. At the end of the trip, we had lunch, played with the kids some more, and boarded our buses for the ride back to our hotel in Cusco. It was indeed an unforgettable weekend.
Leaders of the weekend!
~ Jillian Gordner, Nick Orribe, Isabella Vieira, Jacob Morgan, Maria Lino, and Anjulee Bhalla
First Day of Service
Our third day in Cusco, Peru was an extremely eye opening experience and provided a look into a different, unique side of life. Today was our first day on our local service project, with the ultimate goal being to build and complete a greenhouse over the next three weeks in the village of Yuncaypata. Many of us were not expecting our work to be as strenuous and tedious as it actually happened to be. At a very high altitude of around 11,500 feet, moving 30 pound bricks of mud and straw proved to be a difficult, but rewarding task. The location we were at had very rough and bumpy grounds. As a team of inspired and driven young leaders, we worked together and managed to flatten out a path in the land. With this, we brought many bricks to the building site and started assembling the walls of our greenhouse within the first day. We were very proud of our work and progress. In short, we headed back to our base today with sore and tired bodies, but left Yuncaypata with hearts full of pride and compassion. This project will truly be one we will never forget.
*The internet has just been restored at the home base!
Hello readers, my name are Jacqueline and I just arrived today. My journey to this destination was very irritating to say the least, but I’m glad I made it. As my cousin, Jacob, and I were in the plane we saw the beautiful, snow capped, breath taking mountains along the horizon. I did not know what to expect out of this organized trip. As the two of us exited the plane we were brutally awakened by the cold sting of the wind on our cheeks. This was a huge difference in temperature than we had expected, considering we had just spent a day in the hot humidity of Miami. Anyways, we were greeted by a Global Leadership Adventurer leader after we picked up our luggage. Jacob and I were surprised to see that our “home base” was so close to the airport. In fact it only took us about ten minutes. On the car ride over we had a glimpse of how the locals would go about their daily routine. I would have never imagined Cuzco, Peru, to look so beautiful. It was extremely refreshing to see the scenery that I’m not accustomed to seeing. We finally met many people, some of which were sick from the altitude change, but all were very excited to be here. One of my peers named Zack, had a similar experience, except he came from the West Coast and I came from the East. As I spoke to Zack, he told me how amazing the small farm village Patabamba was, and shared how they helped with the families’ daily tasks, such as picking kernels of corn and cracking beans. They also had their first true Peruvian food experience when they were invited to have a bowl of delicious quinoa soup. He then warned me to wear sunscreen, and at that moment I looked around to all the others and saw red faces. I’m sure I will see around the challenges to take in this experience of a life time!
With sleep deprivation, altitude sickness, a culture shock, and the cold, today has been tough. Most of us have had at least three flights we had to catch and I am confident when I say most of us never want to see another plane again. From the airport we were taken to home base, a cozy hotel where most of us have had to battle with the stairs. We were given ample time to settle in and get acquainted with one another. We met the mentors, all of which are absolutely amazing people with greatly varying backgrounds, and we met the other kids on the trip. To break the ice we played a number of silly games and our laughs could be heard all over Cuzco. In between meals, games, the coca tea which is keeping everyone alive, and the battle against the altitude true bonding took place. At first, conversation was slow and quiet, but after the games and more interaction you could barely hear the person in front of you. Friendships were made on the first day and will only continue to grow. Although the altitude may hurt and the home sickness may hurt even more, there is not another group of kids I would rather go through it with. We are truly an amazing bunch. We are all eager to both learn and work tomorrow, but now comes some well needed rest. Tomorrow will come a 6 a.m. wake up and some hard work in the Peruvian crop fields. We are all looking forward to what Peru has to offer and for the arrival of the last three students. Until tomorrow,
-Marc Gonzalo and Marcus Saikaley
We are waiting on 3 students and will have a group photo up soon!