Time Capsule Letter – October 2016
From the first day to the very last moment, our time was filled with infectious energy! It was expressed in various ways from yelling at a Peruvian TV that exposed various soccer games, to a crazy dance party on the Fourth of July! I don’t know if there was something in the pizza, but when we all climbed on the chairs in the dinning room, wackiness spread through us all, even the mentors and Big B! We yelled at the top of our lungs, everyone in tune of course, to the best sing along songs known to man. Some of those included “Stacie’s Mom”, “Get Low” by Flow Rida, and obviously capping it off with the National Anthem because….’MERCIA.
The energy was often expressed in musical manners. Corinna had beautiful episodes when she would serenade our group with various Justin Bieber songs. We would all join in at the chorus, freaking out the fish group with such beautiful group vocals. It also took form as a rap battle at the orphanage where the girls would boss us around to arrange who was battling whom and choose the winner, despite popular belief at some points. It was like a scene from a movie with everyone circled around the battlers and our judge. Even though some spit fire disses, it was kept peaceful.
We also shared a lot of our own culture and slang within the group. Katie Conners led the charge, of course, sending sentences to our ears that would elicit a state of confusion. We thought when coming to Peru, Spanish would be the hard language to understand, but we quickly learned that we could interact with each other in English and have no idea what the words that were just said meant. Sometimes it made no difference and we continued to laugh and have a great time. Other times, there was nothing we could do but ask for a translation. Through it all, it was such an amazing and fun group, and the mentors are not just saying that. They would never gas you guys!
Kyle, Philip, Courtney, and Brittany.
-In typical American fashion, we celebrated the Fourth of July with a pizza and a dance party up on chairs with everyone singing their lungs out despite the 11,000 feet of altitude.
-Huge soccer games with the local students and teachers formed daily during our break at service that intensified throughout our stay.
-The whole group enjoyed watching the Portugal vs. Poland semi-final game in the Euro Cup because of the rivalries that existed between Mentor Philip, who is Polish, and Carmo and Fran, who are Portuguese.
-Rap battling little girls at an orphanage is something only a group with this much energy could do.
-We all hiked through the Peruvian Andes with snow falling the entire trip except a small window when we arrived to camp so that Mount Veronica could reveal her beauty to us.
-We all had a good laugh when Carmo fell into the river right next to a dead cat in Augascalientes!
-This group knew how to roll with the punches; one of those punches was a citywide blackout in Augascalientes, which led to a candle light dinner.
-The mentors treated the group to a rap performance before our farewell dinner…Straight fire.
Summer Blog Posts
June 27, 2016
The whole crew’s here and had a great first day getting oriented to Cuzco! More to come in the days ahead
June 28, 2016
We worked really hard at our four service sites today, but we also had a lot of fun! We enjoyed getting to meet the local families who will benefit from cuy (Guinea pig!) farms we’re building.
A couple of our groups worked on getting bricks ready for the foundations, while another was in charge of mud making, which will be the “cement” that holds the bricks together.
The view around our service area was amazing – when the light came down, you could see it illuminate the houses in the town and the layers upon layers of mountains in the distance. We thought it was spectacular that we could see mountains all around us, even from the city.
We’re excited to go back tomorrow to see the kids again and make more progress on our projects!
– Bianca and Kyra
June 29, 2016
Greetings! Our third day began with yet another early wakeup and we headed off to our work sites. Some groups mixed mud (occasionally with bare feet), while others focused on pick axing and shoveling to clear out land. As we do this we keep in mind the nutrients that these cuy will supply to the children we see around the community. While our arms and backs are still sore, we power on in hopes of making a difference.
We spent our afternoon learning about traditional Peruvian music that the Incans created thousands of years ago. We all got the chance to try out some of these instruments. While there were no prodigies, we all were able to get a deeper idea of the Peruvian culture. The music man taught us a simple song on the pan flute that you all will be lucky enough to listen to when we get home!!
Delaney and Catherine
June 30, 2016
This morning we woke up at our usual 6 am and enjoyed an interesting breakfast of potatoes and guacamole. Then we headed to our service sites and continued laborious work on the cuy houses. During our much needed break time, hanging out with local children at the playground surprisingly turned into a Britney Spears jam sesh. Who knew Peruvian children loved Britney Spears too!? We finished our day of work and headed back to home base for a lunch of Estofado Pollo (chicken and rice). Lunch was followed by an intense viewing of the Portugal vs. Poland fútbol game. Our Polish mentor, Phillip, and Portuguese GLAers made for a heated atmosphere. Later on, we were paid a visit by a local nurse who informed us on the heartbreaking problem of chronic malnutrition in Peru. After dinner, we went to the market to purchase various items and ended the night with a journal activity. Great day in Peru!
-Ruthie Rogers (shoutout to da fam!) and Katie Conners (hey fam miss yall!)
July 1, 2016
Today was our fourth day of service in Chocco before our break over the weekend. We got up at the usual time, 6 AM, to eat a delicious and nutritious breakfast of eggs. Today at work we finally finished transporting the last of the bricks and continued to build the cuy farms at our respective sites. At break we had another great soccer game with the locals and played on the playground with some of the children. We were also provided with snacks like potatoes, lettuce, and cheese from the local people. After break we continued to work on our individual sites until we returned to Home Base for a lunch of beef chops, lentils, and corn. We then got ready to visit a Shaman and his son in Pocco and watched as they performed a ritual and read some of our cocoa leaves. For 5 soles we got to ask three questions to the Shaman about any part of our lives, and it was really interesting how he responded to different people. After a dinner of pasta and chicken, we got to do laundry and get access to wifi. Overall it was a tiring but successful day!
Written by: Olivia Liu and Olivia Ioppolo
July 2, 2016
Today we ventured to Patabamba, a small town that sits on top of mountains overlooking the valley. Here, we split into groups and helped out five different families with tasks such as bean sorting and shucking corn. After a couple hours of doing these tasks, the families offered us fresh cheese, potatoes and quinoa soup. Students also asked questions regarding the way the locals continue through their daily lives. After several more hours of helping out with the tasks given to us, we met back up as a large group and ate lunches with a beautiful view and played various games with the locals. We got back to home base and enjoyed a relaxing evening filled with cake for Theo’s 15th birthday celebration and watched White Chicks to cap off the night. It was a pretty awesome day!
Today we went on a city tour of Cuzco! In the morning, we explored Saqsaywaman, an ancient Incan archeological site. We had a blast sliding down the rocks and crawling through caves. The views the mountains and the city were spectacular. Some of us hiked up to a beautiful, white marble Jesus statue… #BLESSED. We ate lunch at Casa de Inca, and we enjoyed eating Alpaca and listening to some live, local, Peruvian jamz!!! It was #LIT. After lunch, we headed to downtown Cusco, where we toured the Iglesia El Triunfo and the Temple of the Sun. Once we got back to our home base, we went to the grocery and bought some delicious comida. Afterwards, we walked to Molino Market, where we bought any items we might need for the trek to Machu Picchu. Finally, we ended the day with our mentor groups and reflected on our trip so far. We are excited to continue service tomorrow and bond more with the squad.
Lucy and Celine
We kicked off the day with a piping hot plate of eggs and a delicious Haba bean drink that was prepared for us by the amazing Hospedaje el Viajero staff. We then boarded the buses and were off to a hard but rewarding day of service in the village of Chocco. With blood, sweat, and tears, the group put forth hard work towards the uprising of the Cuy civilization. The groups were rewarded with a quick break that consisted of snacks, drinks, and a smooth lounge on the local school soccer field. As service came to an end, we all piled into 5 speed Manual Mercedes Benz bus that rushed us to home base for a satisfying lunch which centered around a helpful serving of french fries and squid. Our afternoon excursion took place at the local girls orphanage. Here we experienced life changing moments with the inhabitants of the orphanage. From playing futbol, to extreme rap battles, we exchanged smiles and laughs with the children. For dinner, the extremely kind mentors surprised us with an exhilarating Italian cuisine that all of us missed dearly, PIZZA! After a mouthwatering meal, we then moved to our 4th of July celebration. A variety of well-known songs, cheerful travelers, and ecstatic emotions all came together to create possibly the best celebration of America’s Independence Day. And with that, we leave you with mre t come of this one of a kind experience in Peru.
Charles Smolen and Zach
July 5, 2016
Today, July 5th , we completed our second to last day of service. Despite sickness, we all worked as hard as ever, making mud, laying bricks, and chopping down walls. After a long morning of service, we gathered for a lunch of chicken, french fries, and beetroots, accompanied by salad and bread. At three o’clock, we departed the hotel again, to go to a llama farm. There, some of us were spit on by llamas and alpacas, but most of us just took pictures and fed the animals. When we returned, we started packing for the hike, double checking the checklist to make sure that we aren’t missing any essentials. Dinner was a spaghetti dish with a hearty meat sauce. Dessert followed, being a warm bread pudding. Our after dinner activity was a talk with another mentor, Matt, who biked to Cuzco from Utah, visiting eleven countries along the way. His question and answer style discussion was inspiring, showing us that you can really do anything you set your mind to. Now we are wrapping up the day, preparing for our hike tomorrow morning.
We miss you, but all is well here,
After a hypothermic scare, stomach problemas, sprained ankles, and general sicknesses, we conquered a two day hike in the Andes Mountains. During the hike, there were jaw-dropping views of snow-covered mountains and wild alpacas. When we reached Aguascalientes yesterday, we were surprised with a city-wide blackout right before dinner. We also made a spontaneous stop at a concert in a local soccer field. This morning, we started off our day at 5 am to start hiking up to Machu Picchu. After an hour and a half and 1,800 steps, we reached the entrance to Machu Picchu. Let me tell you, we were hangry. We took a tour around the city for 3 hours and then went back for lunch at Aguascalientes. After lunch, half of us went to the market for souvenirs and the other half went down to the river where Carmo proceeded to fall into the water. After that we took a train back to Ollantaytambo. We took a 3 hour bus ride back to home base where we were greeted with hugs from Carolina. We rounded out the night with a nice bowl of ice cream and a jam session to our favorite throwback songs!
– Danielle, Kyra, Lucy, Ruthie, Alaina, Francisca, and Sophia