Time Capsule Letter – October 2016
Summer Blog Posts
Several hours of travel and multiple layovers finds almost all of the new GLA participants happy and safe at the Cusco home-base. We expect the final arrival early tomorrow morning.
We are happy to welcome participants from seven different countries from Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia.
July 10, 2016
Greetings from Cusco!
After a day of arrivals, acclimation, and introductions, followed by a good night of sleep, we woke up bright and early to get a good look at the city on a beautiful Sunday.
Today we got to experience the town of Cusco and took a tour with a local. We visited Inca ruins, one of which was called Saqsaywaman. There we saw the limestone rocks which they carried many kilometers and then fit perfectly together like a puzzle. One of the highlights was sliding down a natural rock slide that was really fast and a little scary.
At lunch, we got to try many new and exciting foods like huge pieces of corn, alpaca, and a corn drink (chicha morada). We even saw a cooked cui (guinea pig) pass by.
Afterwards, we visited a beautiful cathedral with altars made of gold and silver, representing the sun and moon. We even got to go underground and see the ashes of Garcilaso de la Vega.
Finally, we visited the Sun temple which was originally built by the Incas but later expanded by the Spaniards. Here we also saw painting by the Incas which represented how they saw the world.
Kerry Dietterich and Emilie Dávilia
July 11, 2016
Day 3. Our day began at 6:10 to our mentor, Kerry’s loud knocks because our wake up crew forgot the ‘wake up’ part of their job. Within 5 minutes there was a rushed scurry of students, scrambling to get dressed and ready for the day. By 6:45am, 32 excited students were finally ready to leave for their first service day in Mayrasco, Peru! When we arrived after a grueling bus ride, we were introduced to the community leaders. They explained to us the importance of the Fish Farm project, and showed us how to properly use the tools efficiently all day. There were some doubts from the locals about our work ethic, but we quickly proved them wrong. After four hours of picking, shoveling, and moving dirt, we returned to home base for a nourishing meal of lentils, pork-chops, and potatoes. After a much needed shower, we joined a native economist to learn about the causes of poverty. He highlighted the importance of a healthy cultural and social balance, education, and health. We ended the evening by meeting with our mentor groups to discuss the structure of a good story.
Your main dudes and featured story tellers,
Milun Syms, & Elise Quirk
It was another bright and early morning with a 6:15 breakfast consisting of Peruvian dulce de Leche pancakes. We hopped on two busses for our commute to the worksite for our second day of service. We were all pretty sore from the physical labor the day before. Work felt more natural, but we will never be as productive workers as Antonio, a village leader who works along side us. After being split up into new work groups, we assumed our positions as pick-axers, shovelers, and rock movers. At 11:30, we took our scenic hike down to the local primary school. Unfortunately, the children did not play with us, but we enjoyed a game of ultimate frisbee. The boys were victorious, although the girls are prepared for a rematch. After we ate lunch and showered, we traveled to meet with a local shaman, also known as a paco. This shaman is the equivalent of a priest or spiritual leader. He performed a ceremony and made an offering to Mother Earth (see photos below). Afterwards, we had the opportunity to have our fortunes told by reading coca leaves. Overall, the fortunes were positive, but a few group members are now watching their health. Before bed, we were debriefed on our four day trek to Machu Picchu. We are all very excited! Adios for now.
Your yogis and storytellers of the day,
Mitch and Amy
Today we started the day bright and early at 6:15. After stumbling out of bed and enjoying our omelette breakfast, we hopped back into our buses and raced Matt up the hill to the service site. Matt managed to bike the whole way up the hill approx 13 miles. During our service hours we continued to shovel out the three ponds and moved rocks in preparation for reinforcing the walls. While also jamming out to some sweet tunes provided by Brad. Today felt a little bit cooler than the previous day’s, the cool breeze was be refreshing. At around noon we made our way down to the school once again. Luckily, the students had just finished their lunch and were very eager to play. We were treated with the little boys splashing us with water after cleaning their dishes (they’re very sassy). We played jump rope, volleyball and frisbee today. One little girl in particular was extremely invested in the volleyball game and made every attempt to receive and serve the ball. The local girls decided to braid Bryce’s hair as well. After a bit of play, we loaded up the vans once again and were once again beat by Matt on his bike. We kicked off our dirty boots, had lunch, then visited the Molina to get some last minute gear for our trek. Later that afternoon, we had a guest speaker who talked about Peruvian Children’s Health. We had meatballs, potatoes and plantains for dinner with bread pudding for dessert. Afterwards we made a second trip to the Molina for some more last minute things and came across a churro vendor. He came and visited outside our hotel and served all 36 of us warm churros. Overall a fun filled day, one more day of service until our trek!
Love your favorite Oregonian and Bostonian,
Allie and Kelly 😀
All 32 happy campers have safely returned from a life-changing hike around Mt Veronica and tour of Machu Picchu. Tomorrow, back to Cusco!
July 21, 2016
Aggressively woken up at 6:00, by the eager people in room 602. Community service was centered around laying cement down with in the holes. Everybody was able to be involved in the process of gathering all the supplies needed. Extended service day allowed for one of the hole’s bottom to be completed. A fun afternoon was made by having a delicious lunch and getting to see a traditional musician. Not only were we shown native instruments and how they worked but we also got the chance to play them. The night ended off with the celebration of a fellow student, Sydney Royce with a cake and piñata.
Thibaud Roy and Rebecca Harbour
July 22, 2016
After a few days of hiking The Andes, exploring Machu Picchu and surviving the long journey home, we finally returned to the community of Mayrasco to get back to work. Our project is progressing quickly. We started digging out trenches to connect the holes in order to create a water flow and have started to create the metal structures that will support the cement floor. We returned to the hotel and after lunch, began an exciting citywide scavenger hunt. Our group split up into 4 teams and were tasked to navigate the city of Cuzco, looking for items such as the largest avocado and the strangest packaged snack. Each team successfully found the items demanded, but Team Julia showed an outstanding level of creativity in their photos allowing them to win the contest and promised prize. After the fun activity, the whole group gathered to watch a documentary titled ” A Story of Stuff.” This documentary discussed topics of consumerism and misused resources. This movie inspired a discussion where everyone could share their thoughts and opinions of the topics at hand. We then broke up into our mentor groups and worked on improving our Peru stories. We talked about the resolution that comes after a conflict and how to write about it. After story time, everyone headed off to bed to recharge for the coming day and its activities.
François and Harper
July 23, 2016
Today we went rafting on the Urubamba River. It was about a two-hour drive from the home-base. The kids could form groups of six and raced one another down the river.
The rapids were class one, class two, and class three (the three easier levels). The kids had AWESOME splash battles, using their paddles to splash other rafts. It was a very scenic route, including sights of snow capped mountains, sheep, Inca ruins, and goats.
Some of the braver souls safely (Matt made us say this) jumped off a bridge into the NUMBINGLY COLD river!!!
For lunch, we stopped at a restuarant right off the banks of the river. We ate chicken, mashed potatoes, chicha morada, and dulche de leche filled crêpes.
Many of the kids said that today was one of the best days out of the three weeks! It was truly amazing to raft down the river in a foreign place with the beautiful scenery.
See you in six days!!!
Natalie Lareau and Sarah Wagman
Today began with a birthday surprise for our friend Mackenzie! Some of the girls from our trip decorated her door for her 15th birthday. We enjoyed a breakfast of eggs and set off to work.
At the service site we worked on laying cement in the fish ponds and finishing off the ditches for our trench system. We had many different tasks for work today. One group of kids worked on sledgehammering the giant rocks into smaller ones that we are going to use to build walls in the fish ponds. The team finally managed to finish after days of challenging work! Another group moved gravel, rocks, mix, and water to make cement for the ponds. The materials were mixed by some of the community members of Mayrasco, who have been helping us the whole time. We finished laying the cement in the last of three holes today! Now we are ready to build walls. After our long morning of service we got to surprise Mackenzie with a birthday cake!!
After lunch we split into two groups and visited our friends at the orphanages. One group went to the girls, and the others to the boys. At the girls orphanage we all hung out playing guitar and singing, while some of the girls who lived at the home braided our hair. At the boys orphanage, the other students and the boys started a game of soccer.
In mentor groups tonight we developed the stories that we will share with everyone on our last day. Each of use will share lessons that we learned throughout the trip.
Tomorrow is our second to last day at service. We will get up early and get back to work on the fish ponds!
-Bryce & Grace