Time Capsule Letter – October 2016
Summer Blog Posts
July 20, 2016
First morning in Peru! Everyone got a full night of sleep and has spent the morning getting oriented and ready for the next 3 weeks. Lots of smiles and laughter so far; it’s going to be a great session!
Jose Azocar, Emma Kreisler
Today was orientation day. It was low key, we stayed at home base the entire day, but it was fun. We did lots of bonding and leadership exercises, and I have already made some friends. The leadership exercises we did focused on communication and trust. One of the exercises was one person was blindfolded, and the other person led them around, following Suzannah. The trick was, neither person was allowed to talk. We had to completely trust our partner guiding us, and the director had to figure out an effective way to communicate what was happening to the blindfolded persons without speaking.
Base camp is in a valley surrounded by beautiful, peaceful mountains. Tomorrow we will start our first service day and join our Spanish groups in the afternoon for the first class
July 22, 2016
Dane Hoffmann, Sophie Saydah and Carly Bailiff
Today was our third day in Peru and our first day of service. After breakfast we left for Qe’war, the school that we’re volunteering. The school receives funding from dolls handmade by local women that are then sold all around the world. At first, we took a tour of the grounds and got to see all of the rooms where the dolls are assembled. Also we toured classrooms with Kindergarteners and terraces for farming. We got the opportunity to help the women make dolls. Some of us cleaned wool while others sewed and knitted clothing for the dolls. After having some local fruit, half of the group went to go play with the kids during their recess time. It was a ton of fun interacting with the little Peruvian kids and seeing the smiles on their faces was really fulfilling. In the afternoon, we ate lunch, participated in various leadership activities and then went on to our first Spanish lesson of our trip. For dinner we had spaghetti and learned about some of the traditional Peruvian foods we’ll be cooking with a local family in Cusco this weekend.
Haylie Navarre, Karen Lovrovich
We had a busy weekend!
On Saturday, we left Andahuaylillas bright and early and headed to Cuzco. First, students were provided with money and a list of food items needed for the meal which we would be having at the home of Carmen and Percy. The Spanish teachers met us at the market and helped the students barter. We then prepared a traditional feast with the help of excellent chefs. After eating, the group walked to the old town center and had a tour of Coricancha, an archeological site. Then we were off to Plaza de Armas where the students completed a scavenger hunt and explored the plaza. We then boarded the buses and headed to Yucay in the sacred valley. There we had dinner, played games, accessed wifi, and tiredly headed to bed.
On Sunday we slept in before heading out for a long day. We visited the ruins of Pisac and walked along the ancient terraces. After our tour, we went to the large market in town to search and barter for souvenirs. Some of us made our way to the Museo del Choco to sample one of Peru’s most popular exports, chocolate.
We had a remarkable lunch at a resort, which included three courses. With full bellies, we made our way to the next stop, a llama farm. We spent time feeding the llamas and alpacas fresh alfalfa and trying to take the best photos. Our final stop of the day was the ruins of the Incan Empire of Sacsayhuaman. We walked around the grounds and took advantage of the natural rock slides. Finally, we made the journey back to home base, just on time for dinner.
July 25, 2016
Sandra Hunt, Anneliese Thumann and Ethan Kallett
We woke up well rested today after a long weekend excursion up north. The smell of breakfast soon got us in the dining hall, dressed and ready to go. The bread, yogurt, and jam were well liked enough, but the traditional vegetable omelette was by far a favorite.
To pump up for our first full day of service, Annaliese came up with the idea of playing two truths and a lie, which was sadly cut short when we realized that the hairless hound had gotten sick. Gigi whisked him away and then we were off to Proyecto Q’ewar.
The GLA counselors had planned to split us up into two groups at the site; however, when they asked for volunteers to work the fields, the more demanding job, 11 hands shot up instantaneously. Tianna, although she had been sick the day before, raised her hand soon after.
The doll staff got a much easier job inside, and after a snack break at 11, they got the opportunity to order customized dolls. They were hard to resist.
We soon had a phenomenal lunch at Casa Campo, and then a couple hours free to shower, hang out on the couch with some music, and read in our rooms. We were all back downstairs at 3 for our eye-opening activity. Even though Suzannah had told us the night before that it was going to be controversial, none of us opted out.
The activity was about assumptions. Everyone wrote down one they get, and then we all drew one at random and tried to guess who it belonged to. The possibility that you might pin the stereotype on the wrong person, especially in front of all 25 kids, was quite frankly terrifying, but that was the point GLA was trying to make.
The day was capped off with Spanish class and Alejandro’s amazing cooking. We sure are never going to forget our time in Peru (especially the food).
Today we started off by splitting up into two groups. One group did service in the corn field, while the other group helped make dolls. After service we came back to home base and ate lunch. Then we had an activity about bullying and judgement. After this we had our Spanish class. In the first half we had class, and during the second part we played a game of dodgeball using Spanish vocabulary. After this we watched an Andean Music Performance, it was very deep. After dinner we had a pulse check to see how everyone liked the GLA experience, then we had free time.
Jenna Soong, Cameron Crawford, and Maddi Walsleben
July 28, 2016
Today our group went white water rafting. It was described by many of us as one of the most exciting things we have done. We started from the day normally but the rest of the day was anything but. We left at around 9:15 to go to the buses. The ride was relatively short only taking about 45 minutes. On the way we experienced flawless natural beauty, dotted with small towns and villages. It was a good start to a better day.
The majority of the day was expended on the water. We had wet suits on because the water was freezing. During the boat ride one of our guides pointed out bubbles coming out of warm spots in the water. These were the first hot springs that we have seen here. Since the country is in the dry season the river was not very rough, only about a class 2 rapid, but the water was tinted a bluish green from the farmers irrigation trenches running into the river. As we went down the river several people fell in or were pushed out.
As we neared the end of the shore some of the people in the rafts decided to take a swim before heading to shore. Lunch was served as soon as we headed in. With our bellies full we headed back to our base camp where we ended a leisurely afternoon and a delicious dinner.
Jeremy Abraham Mackles
What a great three days! We had an amazing adventure this weekend that included driving up to 15,000 ft to the cold and snow and then descending to 8,000 feet and visiting Macchu Picchu.
Friday: A travel day that included a long bus ride, a quick stop for lunch where we learned about making chocolate and then a harrowing drive along a sheer cliff road before we got to a hotel. Before eating and sleeping that night, we spent a few hours basking in the shadows of the Andean mountains in a natural hot springs. It was very relaxing.
Saturday: We began our trek to Macchu Picchu following the infamous Perurail train tracks to Aguas Calientes. Along the route we were able to get a sneak peak of the Macchu Picchu ruins high above us and enjoyed an ice cold waterfall.
Sunday: The big day! We made it to Macchu Picchu!!! What an amazing place. We got an in-depth tour from our fearless guides Andi and Patti and took tons of pictures. Gifts were purchased at the sprawling market before we boarded the train heading back to home base.
It was an exhausting weekend but everyone had a great time. We are now returning to home base, to our normal schedule and to our last week in Peru.
August 2, 2016
Aditi Shukla, Sierra Johnson, & Tianna Smith
Per usual, we participated in four hours of community service at
Q’ewar, had lunch, and spent some free time chilling like villains.
Then we had an interesting Spanish murder-mystery activity, and had to
figure out who “killed” Kyle. (It was Suzannah.) After, we had free
time and then dinner. However, instead of Spanish class, we
participated in an intriguing shaman ceremony. The priest blessed our
cars, homes and souls by making offerings to the four highest
mountains of Peru and Pacha Mama, or Mother Earth. Overall, we were
enlightened by the beauty of the ceremony and another day of Peruvian
fun! Peace out.
Today, sadly, was our second to last service day at Q’wear working with the señoras on the dolls. Today was also very special, because it was Dane’s birthday! He woke up to lots of balloons and birthday messages waiting for him at breakfast. Since the water was turned off and we couldn’t shower, field work today was a little bit different. Instead of working at the chakra, a group of us helped one of the señoras build a second floor to her house using rocks. She was very thankful for our help, which was extremely rewarding. After service and lunch, we all went to go visit a woman’s house where we killed, cleaned, and cooked a traditional Peruvian cuy (Guinea pig) as a special birthday treat for Dane. Then we walked down to a school where we played a friendly game of soccer with some local Peruvians. Before Dane’s birthday dinner, we had a Spanish class and did some fun relay races. For dinner, the Guinea pig was finally served, and was followed by some delicious cake and birthday songs. We finished up the day with a special fiesta for Dane involving a piñata, salsa dancing, and other fun party games.
Today we all worked in the fields, clearing rocks. It was hard work, but it was cool to see all the progress we made helping the farmer. Our activity was about reverse culture shock when we return home, and what we can do after GLA. We then presented are different options having to do with not only GLA but traveling in general. After our activity we had our last Spanish class and said farewell to our teachers after singing “Vivir mi Vida” by Marc Anthony more than 3 times!!! Then we worked in our mentor groups to create various presentations to perform for the women who make dolls at Q’wear. Wish us luck on our performances tomorrow 🙂
by Ethan Kallett and Logan Bokor
So, basically, it was our last day at Q’ewar. We sang our thanks to them. They sang our thanks to us. Little kids also sang. There was a music teacher with a wicked ponytail who strummed a guitar. It was bittersweet and beautiful.
Some people made jewelry. It was fun for them. It was silver. (95%).
Then we went to this pretty interesting church in the plaza. There was lots of gold. The arch used to be made of skulls.
Then some people bought hot chocolate that was overpriced, but tasted good.
To no one’s surprise, we ate rice and potatoes and chicken for dinner.
The last thing we did is make a bingo board. The categories are Peruvian outfits.
We’re all sad to be leaving in a couple of days, but excited to be finally sleeping in our own beds soon.
Jeremy Mackles, Maddi Walsleben, and Carly Bailiff
Today we were blessed with an extra hour of sleep. We then departed to a local Peruvian market. This market was different from the other markets we have gone to because it was where actual Peruvians shopped. The previous day we had made “bingo boards” of the different clothes that the Peruvians wore. The aim of the game was to identify the regions the the different Peruvians were from. After the market we left for biking. We arrived at a beautiful lake that filled the horizon. After a quick tutorial for those of us who didn’t know how to bike we set off on our journey. We biked up and down the mountain, traversing ten miles in total. We stopped at the edge of a lake where we had lunch. After that we headed home and had free time to pack. We’re excited to see all of our loving parents soon!