Written by Nico CoutoHello friends and family of our session 2 adventurers!
We had a long day of arrivals starting at 5:30 a.m into the afternoon and 24 students are now here and settling in well. To the two who missed their flights, we can’t wait to meet you tomorrow! After a filling lunch and some get-to-know-you games and country orientation I am happy to say that this group is already bonding really well and I have a good feeling about the days to come. Tomorrow we will be jumping right into our service projects in the morning and relaxing at the home base in the afternoon and evening with a guest speaker scheduled to come and talk about culture and social issues in Peru. Stay tuned!
Written by Catherine Carpenter & Breckenridge Hesselman
Hi from Cusco Peru!! It’s Breck and Cat, reporting out on day 2 and 3. Yesterday we began our service at a small village located right outside of Cusco. Childhood malnutrition is a huge issue Cusco is experiencing so we will be building Cuy(guinea pig) farms for families with young children. Nobody has gotten seriously sick yet from altitude, so don’t worry parents. Ping-pong, card games, and soccer with the locals (lots of broken ankles) have been a common occurrence, and everyone is having an awesome time. Today we travelled 45 minutes above mountain level to peel beans and sort potatoes in another local village. The views were absolutely breathtaking, and we spent a good amount of time taking pictures and playing soccer. Highlights include Ariel falling face first into cow poop, dogs mating in the middle of our soccer game, trust falls, and the ball rolling down the mountainside (special shoutout to Conner for getting those strays 99% of the time). We’ll be back with more, Cat and Breck signing OUT.
July 3, 2017
Written by Nathan Lee
Yesterday we split up into two groups and went on a city tour of Cusco. What an amazing city full of culture and history! My group departed home base and went to an Inca archeological area called Saqsaywaman, or as my tour guide told us to pronounce it, “SEXY WOMAN!” After visiting a few areas like a water temple and a watchtower, we departed the archeological sight and left to met the other group for a great lunch with live, authentic Peruvian music, and a scenic view.
After lunch, we hopped on the bus and went to the cathedral in Cusco. As we walked through the cathedral, we saw awe-inspiring art and statues. After we exited the cathedral, we walked to the Temple of the Sun. The temple had great stone masonry, and I was very impressed. That’s all of the eventful that happened yesterday.
This morning, we woke up at around 6:15 in order to go to our service sight called Mayrasco, where we split into our service groups and started our work for today. My group, which consists of Bailey, Hannah, Ariel, Ashley, and Jackson, had to make mud in order to put the adobe bricks on the foundation for the cuy (guinea pig) house. Unfortunately, my group did not have enough adobe bricks at our service sight so we had to team together with Tami’s group in order to transport bricks from their sight to ours, which was about fifty yards away from one another. The bricks were quite large and heavy so we formed an assembly line in order to efficiently transport the bricks. It took forever. During our break, we got to play soccer with the local children of the community, which is always a rewarding experience after all of our hard work. After our break, we continued to do service until it was time to leave.
Shortly after returning to home base, we left to see a music workshop that was hosted by a local Peruvian man. He showed us how to play certain instruments and allowed us to try using them at the end. It was a great experience!
July 4, 2017
Happy Fourth of July everyone! We did not have the best start, with service being cancelled due to the teachers strike. Which led to us being stuck on a bus for an hour and a half. However, the mentors saved the day by making an awesome picture scavenger hunt in Cusco! Unfortunately, none of the groups finished because there was ice cream to be eaten, coffee to be had, and shopping to be done. (sorry!!) After an eventful morning, we went to see a Shaman. A Shaman is an important figure in a Peruvian community; providing advice, and telling the future. The shaman and the son gave us coca leaves and performed a service. Soon after, many of us received a telling of our fate. We then headed back to have dinner, and it was not complete without cake for Alex’s birthday! (HAPPY 16TH BIRTHDAY ALEX!) After dinner, we had a very eventful night, starting by learning how to salsa with Nico, and ending with a great talent show. Shout out to all the talented performers. Following such a great celebration it was time to rest up for the next day of service.
-Written by Delaney S, Erica S and Clara S
July 5, 2017
It was a very early start for all of us, but we managed to make up for the lost service time. We headed off to the service site and put in all of our effort. Then, after hours of mud making, pick axing, sifting, shoveling dirt, and brick laying… we trod back to the bus to the hotel. After a delicious lunch, we received 60 minutes of well-deserved WIFI. Then we were painfully cut off from the WIFI and we did some activities such as basketball, yoga, and going to the market. We had a guest speaker, nurse Lina, who gave us an enlightening talk about poverty and malnutrition in Peru. We still have a lot planned for us tonight. We will be home soon, see you soon!
July 8-10, 2017
Written by Kyle Dane and Conner Henderson
The last few days have been a grind for the crew, but the hard work has been well worth it. After packing plenty of warm clothes, a plethora of snacks and other essentials, we prepared for the 5 O’clock wake up call. We ate a quick breakfast courtesy of our dinning staff and headed on our way to the Inca Trail. A few pit stops later we arrived to the trail. With a long day ahead of us, we set off on our way. About 30 minutes into the hike we stopped to have a quick lunch accompanied with an amazing view. After taking in the awe-inspiring view, we started the long hike to our campsite. The road was long, with lots of ups and downs, and the super high altitude definitely didn’t help either. We took plenty of water and picture breaks, toured a fish farm, and even befriended a wild bull. After finally arriving to our campsite at around 5 p.m. we were ready to go to bed. However, teenagers need their food, so we managed to stay awake just long enough to eat dinner and celebrate Kayla’s 18th birthday with cake and a piñata. With our bellies full and our muscles fatigued, we all went into our tents and rested well.
Even though the group was given a 6:30 wake up time, the entire camp was aroused by excited screams of “everyone come out, its so pretty!!!” from Delaney. I personally emerged my tent with a gigantic, glacier-capped mountain staring me in the face. In fact, we found ourselves surrounding on all sides by imposing mountains, which had been masked by the clouds the night before. Once 6:30 rolled around Conner and myself awoke the camp military style by banging a pot and shouting a call for reville. We ate breakfast, packed up camp, and then hiked out to the buses. After a 3 hour bus ride our team hiked along the railroad tracks all the way up to Aguas Calientes. Aguas Calientes is a one of a kind town, split in two by a roaring river, which sits perpendicular to rail road tracks. We settled down in the hotel and everyone took a long awaited shower. Then we went out to dinner and did some site seeing in town. While getting ice cream the entire town lost power. Eventually we found our way back to the hotel with the help of our guide Richard and everyone went to bed.
Machu Picchu! The hike started early and was filled with lots of steps. Actually, the entire hike up was steps. Our group sustained the morale with singing. After around 2 hours of hiking/climbing we finally reached the top and entered Machu Picchu. Immediately we were taken aback by the view. Our day was filled with hours of exploring, information from the tour guide, and plenty of pictures. By the way, it turns out the Tami is a model and shines though the lens. Once we got through the park and attempted to play with the llamas we took the bus down to the bottom and went to a nice dinner before boarding the train. It turns out that the teacher strike had also been impeding the railroads. Somewhere in the confusion everyone in our group got a free upgrade to an upper-class car except Nico, Richard and Jill who missed the train and had to catch the later train. Finally the group was reunited after waiting for the mentors at our destination. We got on the buses and drove thorough the night to our hotel, arriving around 1 am.