Today was a beautiful, sunny day to begin our second session! We are super excited for Marlo and Hiba to arrive bright and early tomorrow morning. Everyone else spent a fun day getting to know each other while resting and adjusting to the altitude. After a delectable lunch some students ventured out on a group walk to explore the neighborhood. We then spent some time learning über cool new handshakes, playing fun name games, and getting to know the local staff. Our lovely mentor Dani spent time making a great video about our service project which we watched together and discussed the tasks ahead for this week.
After dinner, mentors Dani, Emily, and Bianca gave a lovely theatrical production on healthy bathroom habits which Matt, Marisa, and Charlotte bravely re-enacted for the group. Finally, we met for a short meeting with our mentor or “family” groups to chat about our expectations and our upcoming days ahead. We look forward to a great 2 weeks!
Today, we began our first day of service. We began in the city of Chocco and moved adobe bricks and created mud to solidify the foundation of the greenhouse. We finally met our last arriving travelers, Marlo and Hiba who arrived safely this morning. We became more acclimated with each other through fun games and activities, and discussed further implementation of technology in today’s world. In the afternoon, we had a Cusco native give an in depth presentation about life in Cusco. He described the disparate cultures even within the providence of Cusco, and challenges that the natives face. This further knowledge gave us a better understanding of the community in which we will be serving so that we may understand them better.
We look forward to more fun tomorrow!
Written by the Leaders of the Day; Tamera Travis, Julia Britto, and Chris Gaines, Roberto Grazzini
Photo Cred to Nathan Genstein
After two grueling days of manual labor, our bonds with the community and peers have grown immensely. Today at the work site we were surprised by the locals of Chocco, having a community picnic called a watia. Throughout this time, we were playing with the children, this included teaching American football, playing soccer and many other fun activities. During the morning, we continued to work on the greenhouse and laid the first adobe bricks. After a long morning of hard work and a solid lunch, we headed out to immerse ourselves in the musical aspects of Peruvian culture. We learned about instruments dating back to Pre-Inca times. Following a demonstration we all got to try instruments and learn a song. Once the group returned to the hotel, we had time to relax, eat dinner, and watch a TED Talk about “The Danger of the Single Story.” We then discussed it in our mentor groups. Above all, it is really cold.
Written by the leaders of the day; Eva Shimanski, Olivia Thonson, Grayson L., and Parker Shaffer
Photos by Nathan Genstein & Eva Shimanski
PS. Shout out to Isabel, Christiane and Charley, I love you all! – From Eva
Today we woke up at the usual time, 5:45, and after a delicious breakfast of eggs we took an hour drive through the scenic mountain roads up to the village of Patabamba. This village is located 3,600 meters above sea level. Here, we split into five groups and helped different families with everyday chores. For example, we shucked corn and sorted beans! It was interesting to see the daily life of these people and we got to share a common snack of potatoes, local cheese, and quinoa soup. After helping, we went to a cliff-side soccer field and had a small tournament against the locals, including the president of the village and many children. Being our favorite so far, the entire day was incredible. Shout out to the leaders of the day, Matt, Stephanie, Noah, and Tariq for planning and facilitating a great day. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow and the rest of the trip has in store! p.s. love you mom
-Matt Duffy, Stephanie Dewald, Noah Roper, and Tariq Foraida
Photos by Julia Britto & Eva Shimanski
Day 5: June 28
Waking up at 7:45 was the most rad feeling of the week. We, the amazing group of leaders, woke everyone up with the infamous Rihanna song, “Pour it Up”. They were mildly irritated, but it got the job done. After breakfast, we split into two groups to depart on our adventures of the city. Our tour guides were well informed about all of the local history. We visited four Inca remains: Tambo Machay, Puca Pucara, Q’enko and Sacsayhuaman. The rock formations were mind blowing, perfectly aligned, and could weigh around 15 tons! The abundance of new knowledge about the history of the Inca’s astounding remains kept us interested to learn more and more. Looking out over the city below us was so fascinating, and we were looking forward to tour the buildings and cathedrals below. After our sight-seeing, the two groups met up at a traditional restaurant with a breathtaking view of the city. Those adventurous enough even had alpaca meat as a main course, and taking the risk was definitely worth the delicious meal. The meal ended with ice cream galore, which kept the group satisfied and ready to continue our tour around the city. In the afternoon the magnificent cathedrals pulled us in and made us feel the sacredness surrounding the places of worship.
Overall it was a great day of cultural immersion and historical sightseeing. We got churros.
Amber Clement, Kayla DeWitt, Emily Chisholm, Charlotte Kolada
Photos by Nathan Genstein
June 29, 2015
Today we woke up bright and early and were surprised with crepes! After a yummy breakfast we headed to the service site. To warm us up we played colors, simon says, and tag. The children were not at school today because of festivals, but some of the local children accompanied us while we worked. Lunch was served back at home base and after we headed to a llama/alpaca farm where we fed and took selfies with llamas. The bus then dropped us off in town where some opted for wifi at a local cafe while others shopped the small markets in town. We then walked back to home base during which we got to see the beautiful city of Cusco at night. We arrived back at home base to eat dinner and watch a TED Talk on leadership. We ended our night with our mentor meetings and all-in-all had a successful day.
Written by Leaders of the Day:
Addie F., Marissa M., Shea W., and Hiba P.
Photos by Nathan Genstein
We started our day by playing an intense game of Capture the Flag at the worksite. Then, we all worked hard at our respective jobs in order to continue our progress on the school’s greenhouse. Now, our main focus is building the walls with adobe bricks and mud. In the afternoon, we all visited a local foster care home and played a game of soccer with the kids – our GLA group was generous enough to contribute soles (money) in order to buy hygiene products that really benefited the kids at the home. After our return to Home Base, we began to pack for our upcoming trek – our mentors checked our duffels and daypacks and there will be a trip to the store tomorrow to pick up materials we don’t have. We ended our night with an intense game of hugging that left friends turning against friends. We’ve also begun our journey to becoming the perfect Word Assassin.
Written by Leaders of the Day: Katie Glew, Maggie Cusack, Sydney Hayes, and Marlo Garrison
Shout out to Mom the Provider chillin’ like a villain in PA.
Also, shout out to all the homies in Natick Mass.
This one goes out to some special folk in Fleming Island.
Photos by Eva Shimanski
Day 8: July 1
Happy July 1st! Today some of us woke up to do an early sunrise yoga class. We had breakfast and left at 7 am per usual to go to our service site. We continued to build up on the walls of the greenhouse and frolic with the children. At 1pm we came back to home base to have lunch and continue preparing for the trek. Many of us were missing things for the trek and so we went to a market to buy needed supplies. Others went to the grocery store to stock up on snacks. We got back and had a nurse come and speak about public health in Peru. After dinner we continued to pack and we are all excited about tomorrow. Wish us luck!
Written by: Eva, Olivia, and Helene.
Leaders of the day: Livia, Susy, Emily K. and Grayson
Day 9: July 2
Today we embarked on our journey through the Andes. We woke up, and after a great breakfast, we began our two hour bus ride to Ollantaytambo. We began our hike and were quickly amazed by the incredible scenery. After a few hours of hiking, we ate lunch at the top of a peak, almost 15,000 feet above sea level! We continued on, trekking until we reached our campsite, which had an amazing view of the snowy peaks of Mount Veronica. After watching the beautiful sunset, we enjoyed a tasty dinner, and then we went back to our tents for a cozy rest.
Photos by Eva Shimanski
Day 10: July 3rd
We woke up early in the morning to watch the sunrise on Mt. Veronica, ate a breakfast (with a birthday cake for Tamera!), and took off for the second leg of our trek. We were surrounded by more beautiful mountains, valleys, waterfalls, and llamas. The hike was muddy, but we had a great time bonding and testing our comfort zones on this challenging adventure. When we finally made it to the buses, we all felt extremely accomplished. We rode the buses to the train tracks that would lead us to Aguas Calientes. As we hiked along the railroad tracks, we felt the change in climate and altitude, as the air was warmer and it was easier to breathe. When we reached Aguas Calientes, we enjoyed a great dinner of pizza at a restaurant. We arrived at our hotel, very happy about our experiences hiking, and excited about our trip to Machu Picchu in the morning.
Day 11: July 4th
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!
The group started off on the 1,640 steps up to Machu Picchu bright and early at 4:30 a.m. as it down poured. Most of us were convinced that we had done something to upset the rain gods, but after the long hike, we all felt very accomplished. Later on we went on a tour through Machu Picchu while representing our favorite home country by wearing star spangled shorts. After the tour we went back to the same restaurant and had a nice lunch (which some of you probably knew because we had wifi). Following our fabulous lunch we went to the market for a little bit before we had to catch our train back to Ollantaytambo. We then got on our beloved Mercedes buses and started our 2 hour journey back to home base.
Photos by Eva Shimanski
Day 12: July 5th
We continued today on our service at the worksite, and enjoyed a long break watching an official soccer game. We made great progress– we are on our way to achieving our goal. We returned to the Home Base for lunch, and then we left for our visit to the Shaman. He performed a “pago a la tierra,” an offering to Mother Earth, the “Pachamama”. The Shaman read our coca leaves and answered our personal questions pertaining to our futures, families, and health. In the evening we watched a TED talk about how to start a movement and discussed leadership and where we go from here.
Day 9-12 written by our sweet leaders of the day: Julia, Stephanie, Hiba, and yours truly Noah.
Day 13: July 6th
Today marked our final day of service. We began the day with hug tag and a friendly game of World Cup in which Chile, represented by Tamera and Noah, proved victorious. We went on to exceed our goal of 5 rows of adobe bricks around the greenhouse. Later in the afternoon, the group took a 4 hour trip to the market where we all had the opportunity to buy any last minute gifts or souvenirs for family, friends, and ourselves. The trip then diverged as some students went to a traditional Peruvian Catholic mass service while others went back to the base to pack and/or write compliments for other students. Afterward, both groups reconvened at a restaurant for our farewell dinner where we enjoyed such delicacies as Cuy (guinea pig), alpaca, and other foods while we enjoyed other forms of entertainment such as live bands, multiple varieties of dances, and a little fire show. Although the day proved to be a long and tiring one, for many, the fun didn’t stop there. Several students stayed up into the early hours of the morning to bid adieu to Matt and Emily. We had a great time in the previous two weeks, but we are very happy to begin our journey back home.
Written by Tamera
Day 14: July 7th
Early this morning, Matt and Emily left to depart for the airport. They were soon followed by Amber, Gigi, Marissa, Ava, Olivia, Livia, and Kayla. Roberto and Sydney left around lunchtime. The bulk of us left a little after lunch for our evening flights. The struggle of having to say goodbye was evident in everyone. It’s been a great two weeks and we wish everyone a wonderful summer. Vive el Peru!
Written by Chris