Saturday July 14, 2018
Bienvenidos a Perú! The Spanish Service Adventure crew arrived safe and sound at our home base in the town of Yucay located in the Sacred Valley of Peru. We took in the breathtaking views of the snow capped Andes on our drive from the airport and had our first taste of delicious Peruvian cuisine.
We spent the afternoon settling in and getting to know each other, and this evening we were introduced to Peruvian culture by watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. We are looking forward to visiting our service site and meeting our Spanish teachers tomorrow. We can’t wait for all the adventures yet to come!
Stay tuned for more update. Adios for now!
*Not pictured Maya Panida
Sunday July 15, 2018
Hola a todos,
Today was a great first full day with the group. We got to visit the service site, a nearby rural secondary school, and we were introduced to the project. Although there were no children on a Sunday, it was interesting to see what the previous GLA group had worked on and to see where we will pick up where they left off. We are building a greenhouse, and all of the money earned from what is grown in the it will go towards school materials for the students. Since we were already on site, we decided to make the most of our time and pick up any trash we saw lying around the schoolyard to surprise the students with a cleaner space when they return on Monday.
We came back to home base after the service site visit for a meal together, with the highlight being fried yucca with guacamole. We also continued orientation activities, learned some basics about Peruvian culture and did a few more “get to know you” activities as well. The students were introduced to their Spanish teachers, and classes will begin on Monday. Everyone is looking forward to practicing and improving upon their language skills.
Monday July 16, 2018
Today was our first full day of service. We drove to a rural school in a town called Chinchero. We started off meeting with the kids at the local school and then jumped into an intense game of fútbol and volleyball. After some fun with los estudiantes, we began to move the massive pile of adobe bricks towards the site of the greenhouse we are starting to build. We created a super long assembly line to make the process more efficient. After that, we packed up and got back on the bus to home base.
When we arrived we were welcomed with a delicious lunch. Once everyone was stuffed, many headed off for an afternoon siesta. In the afternoon we had our first Spanish classes with local teachers. We had the chance to practice our market vocab in preparation for our trip to Cusco tomorrow. To finish the day we had a great dinner and then met with our mentor groups to further get to know each other.
After a long day everyone is ready for a good night’s sleep and a fun excursion Cusco tomorrow!
Pete Barnard & Chris Geremia
Tuesday July 17, 2018
This morning, we went to Cusco and got a history lesson on the on the city’s center and the Incas roll in it. We split up into Spanish groups and got to put our Spanish to use in asking for fruits and veggies. Afterwards, we got to explore the market and buy chompas (sweaters) and other local items. Then we had lunch at a local restaurant where we tried Chicha for the first time (a purple corn drink). Fun fact: instead of saying “cheese” for pictures, everyone here says “chicha”.
After Cusco, we traveled to a local Inca Archeological sight called, “sacsayhuman.” We learned about the history of the Incas and their empire. We learned about how it began and how it fell. The physical history of it showed us a lot and it gave us a clear image of the stories they were telling. We then got back to the hotel and had pesto spaghetti with dinosaur nuggets (a dream come true). We finished off the evening with an introduction to Story of Self which will be continued throughout the next couple of nights.
Makenna and Ali
Wednesday July 18 and Thursday July 19, 2018
Yesterday we continued our adobe adventure and have several helping hands move massive loads of bricks to and from each location. Some of the group also had the chance to participate within the classroom and learn alongside the students. We also got to compete in soccer in what felt like the world cup final. The group finished the day with Spanish class and a lovely chicken dinner.
Despite a bought of inclement weather, the group still had a day full of service and cultural immersion. We began our day at the service site where some of us helped to move tiles off of a storage shed that’s going to be taken down. Others joined students in the classroom as they prepared for their day of cultural exhibition.
Later in the afternoon we were able to go to the supermarket to pick up any last minute cravings before we depart for our trek. Also we found ourself in a cafe to enjoy some cake and wifi. Afterwards, we attended a shaman ceremony where each and every one of us was blessed. Finally we concluded our day with stories of self which allowed us to get a deeper understanding of our GLA family.
Goodbye for now. Until post-trek,
-Spencer R., Spencer V., Zoie
Friday July 20 through Monday July 23, 2018
Buenos días padres,
This weekend we took a wonderful trip throughout the countryside of Peru. We started our trek on Friday, where we hiked to a lodge nestled by a beautiful lake. A makeshift market was set up by the locals, and we were able to participate in llama herding. After a delicious dinner, we sat around a campfire and ate smores, talking underneath the stars. The next morning we realized that it had snowed! After a brief snowball fight, we continued our trek to meet up with the bus and traveled to a llama exhibit where we got to pet and feed them.
The same day our group took the train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, where we stayed overnight at the Marco Wasi Hotel. From there, we took the bus up to Machu Picchu where we met with our guide Davy. After the three hour tour of Picchu and many photos later we went for lunch at a buffet and jumped back on the train to Ollantaytambo to make our way back to home base.
As of today, we resumed service at the school where we mixed mud to lay the adobes. The students in the classrooms helped with an upcoming event to celebrate culture and what they have learned so far. After lunch a group of our friends went to the field where plenty of soccer was played. We had a great time hanging out with friends and spending the weekend together.
Rylie and Max
Tuesday July 24, 2018
Today marks exactly halfway through the trip, and with time flying by, we are making the most of every moment. It was also officially day 1 of our “Tech Time Out” to compete in our mentor groups and see which group could stay off their phone longer (so that’s why you probably didn’t hear from your student today). So far, Team Brian is in the lead with two days left until the winner is decided.
This morning, we started at service by continuing to mix the mud to continue building the wall of the greenhouse, but it didn’t last long because it was a special day at the school. The students had their families come to present their accomplishments so far this school year, and to show off their dancing skills for everyone.
There was a ceremony beforehand where certain students who were especially involved with the school and community were presented with sashes. After their dance for everyone we had our snack of granadillo (a Peruvian fruit that we aren’t sure if we like or not yet) before heading back to home base.
After lunch, we had an early Spanish class where we went out into the community to ask people about historical figures since Peru’s independence day is quickly approaching. Despite some difficult situations, it was great to practice our Spanish in the community.
Next, we had a presentation on traditional and modern Peruvian musical instruments. They played a few traditional songs for us, and then we got a chance to try the instruments ourselves, with varying degrees of success. Tonight our activity was a movie or game night. Some students chose to watch Coco and others opted to have an intense round of Kemps and BananaGrams.
We are halfway through but strong as ever, and super excited for everything coming up. We miss you guys, but we’re all having too much fun to want to come home!
-Hannah and Liza
Thursday July 26, 2018
Today we did something a little different from our usual service work – we got to attend a parade celebrating Peru’s independence day. It was full of colours and festivities, and we also had the great opportunity to march in the parade itself, with the school we have been working with. There were also a couple of dances we got to see, both traditional Peruvian dances, and both very interesting to watch.
After the parade we went back to homebase and had a yummy lunch of a starter of avocado, and a main course of chicken rolled with vegetables, and quinoa. After lunch we had rest time until Spanish, where we presented our stories that we had written as homework with a group. We then split off into our separate groups, and learned about the imperative tense, and how to use it to give commands / advice.
After Spanish, we had a delicious dinner of beef stew and rice. We then had a group meeting, in which we watched a thought-provoking Ted Talk called ‘The Danger of a Single Story’. It helped us realize about how some of our own preconceptions of Peru might have been molded by only hearing a single viewpoint of the country, and how that could potentially blind us from other perspectives. We discussed this video for a while, then watched another, shorter video which discussed the problems with our current education system.
Adi & Maya
Friday July 27, 2018
After breakfast the group got on the bus to drive to Moray, which is an ancient terrace farm used by pre-Incan cultures. Afterward we visited a nearby salt mine (called Las Salineras), and we had the opportunity to buy salt related products and other souvenirs. We learned that the location we visited was one of the four places where pink salt can be harvested. Afterward we returned to Home Base for lunch and some free time. Next we went to the internet cafe and then the supermarket. We returned to home base, and the winners of the tech time out enjoyed pizza for dinner. The people who completed the three day tech time out challenge on the other team also joined for ice cream. We concluded the night by meeting with our respective mentor groups.
Saturday July 28, 2018
This morning we set out for a different service opportunity than usual. One custom here involves neighbors helping each other out in the harvest, so the group traveled to a farm and assisted in harvesting their wheat crop. Following service, we returned to home base and participated in a cooking demonstration. The home base staff helped us make ceviche, a popular seafood dish, and then we got to eat the finished result for lunch! After lunch, we had our Spanish lesson. Today’s lesson took place at a local fair celebrating independence day, where we viewed the rides and items for sale. The group then walked to a nearby field, where we participated in games such as tug-of-war and soccer. Finally, we returned for dinner and met for mentor groups.
Monday July 30, 2018
Hola a todos!
Today, we went to our service site in Chinchero to continue working on building the greenhouse. The students of the school are on their winter break, so it was just the GLA program there. After mixing tons of mud, we were able to complete a few more layers of adobe brick on the greenhouse wall. We’re almost finished! We also cleared some broken adobe blocks from the inside of the greenhouse.
After lunch back at homebase, we relaxed until Spanish class, followed by dinner and mentor groups. The evening finished with a short nighttime excursion to view the bright starry sky near the river. So beautiful!
Hola por la última vez,
On August 1st we went to Ollantaytambo for a rafting excursion. We got assigned wetsuits, windbreakers, and crocs to wear. They keep all of us warm when we rafted especially those who fell in or jumped in. We hit three rapids which were tons of fun and we all got completely soaked. After about an hour and a half on the river we reached the end where we got off of the rafts and went to a restaurant. We got served soup, chicken with mashed potatoes, and an amazing crepe to top it off. Once we ate our fill, we went down to Ollantaytambo proper for our last shopping trip. We walked around talking with shop owners and customers alike, and got all of our last minute shopping done. After about an hour, we went back home and had a delicious dinner as always.
On August 2nd was our final day of service at the school in Chinchero. We played soccer and volleyball with the students. After, the teachers had planned out games for us to play with the students including musical chairs and Peruvian dodgeball. The students and teachers at the school showed their appreciation for us by giving us all handmade, custom dreamcatchers. We gave our farewells and left the service site for the final time. Once we returned to the base, we got into our best clothes for our final dinner. After our dinner, we showed our appreciation to the staff with a dance and personalized cards. Since it is Brian’s birthday tomorrow (Friday), the staff surprised him with a cake. We all enjoyed it for our dessert, as well as flan. Seeing as it is our last night here, things are winding down an hour later.
Cal, Trevor, and everyone else