Friday July 13, 2018
Day one in Peru was exciting for our staff and students! Our students arrived throughout the day and we headed back to our home base in Chinchero for our first meal together. All of the students had a great time getting to know each other and seeing their first glimpses of this incredible country. We are so excited to be exploring Peru together for the next two weeks!
-by Jenna DeLaurentis (mentor)
Saturday July 14, 2018
After waking up in our first morning in Peru, we had fruit and bread for breakfast. We then headed to to the school to take some photos and meet some of the kids. We walked by a local Chicha (corn drink) place. We went to the new primary school where we met even more kids who were happy to see us. We all introduced ourselves and greeted each other and then they gave us alpaca bracelets as a thanks. Then we took pictures with the little kids and said good bye for the day.
On the bus ride back, we stopped off at a viewpoint of the Andes that had alpacas and local women who made alpaca clothing. In the afternoon, our camera instructor, Diego, taught us about the history and specific techniques of the camera. Then we went to a place where they dye alpaca fur and practiced our newly acquired photography skills. After dinner, we did a photos slideshow of everyone photographs.
Sunday July 15, 2018
We kicked off the day with some productive service work, moving bricks to build a greenhouse for the local school. Today stressed the importance of teamwork and relying on our peers for maximum efficiency. This service was followed by a brief lunch break and snack run leading up to another informative lecture from our photography teacher Diego. He taught us the ins and outs of our cameras and how to use the different features presented. With this knowledge fresh in our heads, we then took a relaxing walk to an architectural site to take some photos and eat empanadas after. Despite the packed schedule, everyone enjoyed the fun-filled day.
Authors: Aidan Nguyen and Alec Englestein
Monday July 16, 2018
At the beginning of the day we head to service to once again see the young students. We painted tires and removed tires from the ground. We also took separate pictures of the students and a class photo for the yearbook we were creating. After all that hard work we played soccer with the students. Then returned to home base for lunch.
Then we ventured to a festival. We then had free time to walk around and explore the different kinds of foods on the streets of the town like guinea pig. We first went to watch a few dances in the main area. The costumes were very colorful and sparkly. Then we walked around the markets and venders around the square. They sold street foods with tables next to their foo1d so they could serve people on the street. Some of the streets were very narrow but there was one street where the dances would walk down after their dance in the main area was over. So some of us were able to see the dances very up close.
When we got back from the festival, we learned how to bargain and say new phrases in Spanish. These tips and tricks are going to help us as tomorrow we head to the city of Cusco and many of the markets it encompasses. Overall, today we learned many new things and got to immerse even more into this wonderful culture.
Authors: Sophie Wong, Madison Ede, Grayson Abbott
Tuesday July 17, 2018
Today’s our fifth day, and we headed off to Cusco after a light breakfast, adventuring to our second archeological sight- more Incan ruins! We spent a few hours exploring the intricate architectural walls left behind, even venturing into a cave tunnel and sliding down an authentic Incan slide (it was just a smooth rock but hey it counts).
After all that fun we went into downtown Cusco and viewed the main square. Then we went to San Pedro, the local market, and explored in groups. While in the market one student got flipped off, while another managed to haggle a price down by 40. When we all returned everyone was full of churros and holding fresh juice cups. From there we went and had chicken for lunch at a local restaurant 🙂
Once we finished our meals we made our way over to the Martín Chambi photography exhibit. In our new alpaca gear we roamed the galleries filled with old black and white photos of early to mid century Peru. While in the exhibit we also managed to upset the security by using the “staff only” bathroom. We then took the hour ride back to home base where we began packing for our overnight camping trip that will begin tomorrow.
Sarah, Zoë and Ruby
Wednesday July 18, 2018
Today we began our journey to Q’enqo. The day started with a lengthy bus ride to the Pisaq ruins. We were fortunate to get to hike to the top and take in the views. After the ruins, we went to lunch and had a surprise concert by two street performers that were very terrible but they provided us with a good laugh so it’s alright. Then after a two hour bus ride, we finally arrived in Q’enqo. We were greeted by a traditional welcome ceremony by the locals and embraced their culture by accepting the flower petals in our hair and joining them to dance.
After the ceremony, we began our hike through the most gorgeous terrain. During the hike, we encountered three packs of sheep, alpacas, and llamas. Upon arrival we were greeted with a warm dinner and an intense card game tournament. Once the night’s activities came to a close, we headed to our quaint cabins to rest after an exhausting day.
Authors: Phia Smith and Alex George
Thursday July 19, 2018
Today… we woke up to the delicious familiarity of pancakes and hot chocolate. Due to the unusual rain that occurred, we waited for the weather to pass and in the meantime played Qenqo (a card game). After an hour wait, we began to make our way to the lagoon and pick up trash. And there was a lot of it. Unfortunately we made it only less than halfway, an hour walks in, when it started sleeting. In the dry season. We raced back fearing hypothermia as our bodies became numb! However, slowly but surely we made it to the lodge and changed into dry and warm clothes.
Then we gathered for lunch and after had free time. Some played soccer, and others rushed to see the llamas down at the lagoon. Then we were greeted by the locals who allowed us to take photos of them while they sold their traditional Peruvian textiles. After that, we broke into mentor groups and discussed our time spent so far. Then to break the seriousness we played the game Mafia. It was intense, long, and competitive. Then we all broke out into free time and either wrote in journals or enjoyed the views of stars outside. As we took pictures we also enjoyed s’mores by the warm fire and listened to music.
Author: Kenzie Fowler and Beth Winterholler
Today we got up at our hotel super early and loaded up a bus set for Machu Picchu. Around 8:00 we arrived at the site. We had a guide named Will who took us around Machu Picchu and taught us lots about the history of the Incas and Machu Picchu. Did you know at the time over 1000 people lived at Machu Picchu?
After that, we had lunch and free time until 4:00. Then, we got on the PeruRail and took the train to the town of Ollantaytambo. From there we took a bus back to home base and arrived there a little after dinner time. Finally, we went to bed.
Authors: Christian Iversen and Drew Fehr
Tuesday July 24, 2018
We had a bit of a rough start with multiple people feeling under the weather, but those who felt up to it went to service. We began putting up and repainting the tire sculptures at the new school. While there, we went through some challenges, based on whether the clouds were blocking the sun or not. We then came back to homebase to enjoy a delicious meal of lentils and rice.
We got to go back down to Cuzco for more churros and a quick demonstration of photo prints at our photographer instructor’s studio. We also got ice cream and headed again to the San Pedro market.
After making some final purchases at the market, we got on the bus back to home base in Chinchero for dinner. Our meal was followed with a surprise party where we all enjoyed a dulce de leche-filled cake in honor of Mary’s fifteenth birthday.
To celebrate her Quinceañera in true Peruvian fashion, Mary took the first bite out of the whole cake before it was cut. We finished the night by watching an episode of Chef’s Table, featuring a chef who takes his inspiration from the diverse cultures and ecosystems of Peru, in anticipation for our cooking lesson we’d be having the next afternoon.
Authors: Jai Moore-Spann, Eden Szydlowski, Mary Vincent