Time Capsule Letters
14-Day Group Letter
¡Saludos a tod@s!
By now, you guys are probably settled into your individual lives all over the U.S (or elsewhere). Time flies doesn’t it? Well, your favorite GLA team from your Spanish Service Adventure in Peru misses you dearly and we wanted to remind you of the incredible two weeks we shared this summer!
From the day we picked you guys up at the airport, we knew your group was a special one. You guys were energetic, curious, fun, intelligent, and always willing to take everything you guys did to the next level! We especially noticed this during our “Let’s talk about it” activity, where you guys blew us away with your keen ability to understand different perspectives— even if they were the complete opposite of your own.
And, let’s not forget the fact that your group also took Inca Kola- drinking to a whole new level (Mickey and Max, we are talking to you!) and managed to become a part of the Virgen Del Carmen parade by frolicking and dancing through a singing crowd of people in Pisac— woo, what a night!
Additionally, even though your time in Peru was short, your efforts didn’t go unnoticed. In your Spanish classes, many of you worked hard, participated, and practiced your Spanish diligently. A special shoutout to those of you who came to the program with no prior Spanish preparation and STILL got through the classes with ease.
Whether it was by singing about your “picaduras de insectos” with Gadel or from our lovely Spanish-only almuerzo, know that you left with a much better understanding of the language than before. Everywhere we went we saw your willingness to practice your Spanish with each other, with locals at the market, and with the maestros up in Pampallacta. We are super proud of you guys!
Now, can we talk about Pampallacta? Your service project was very unique. As we learned from Senan, the structure is the very first of its kind and you guys got to be a part of that. The labor was intense, we know, but you guys pulled through, carried adobe (undoubtedly the hardest task), picked, shoveled, and played some of the most intense games of ‘Wa’ ever! You guys left your mark, and the Pampallacta community truly appreciates your hard work and dedication.
Outside of service work and Spanish learning, there were experiences that bonded us, together with the theme of your group, on a whole other level! No organized activity or class could have led us to the unpredicted special moments and fun we had during our 14 days together. We can’t name them all because if we did, this email would go on forever. Here are some of our favorites though:
-Aggressively failing at learning each other’s names during our blanket-drop game
-Everyone’s endless love for TEQUEÑOS
-The enthusiastic Peruvian man who pulled us in to dance along in the human-snake parade
-Dancing, dancing, and more dancing during the Pisac festivity!
-Eating the best empanadas ever… made specifically by YOU
– SOUP. EVERY. DAY
-Rafting through the frostiest rapids in Peru in style (i.e. in the RAIN!)
-The time you all thought you were eating baby condor—and enjoying it—for lunch after rafting (again, Luismi says sorry)
-THE TALENT SHOW (Tequila, Sebastian drumming, Estefany drawing a bunny with two hands upside down, Luismi teaching us a salsa lesson, the trio dancing, Sam juggling (!), and many more amazing acts)
-Runs with a view every morning alongside Anna, Sebastian, and others
-Our car ride throwbacks with Tim as D.J
-The people who walked down Machu Picchu and STILL beat everyone to the pizza place
-Eating more pizza than you had ever imagined on a trip to Peru
-The time Mickey and Lucas braved the cold and slept on the floor at the HB because Liam was sick in their room
-Learning the difference between llamas, alpacas, guanaco, and vicuñas and also feeding them and taking selfies with them
-ALL of the selfies everywhere and all of the time
-Our last night together at the HB and you guys standing in a circle dancing and singing your hearts away
All jokes aside, and whether your name was specifically mentioned in this letter or not, you left a lasting, positive, and memorable impression on all of us. We genuinely enjoyed watching you guys work hard, ask questions, share the love, and develop lifelong friendships. We hope that you continue to spread your radiant and optimistic energy with the rest of the world!
Wishing you the best of luck in your future endeavors,
your beloved GLA team (a.k.a. Luismi, Lauren, Estefany, Sophie, and Javi)!
21-Day Group Letter
The whole team here at Spanish Service Adventure – Luismi, Sophie, Estefany, Lauren, and Javier – misses you already. You were a kind, curious, fun loving and charming group. We wanted to reach out now that you’re back to your daily lives in the U.S. and let you know that you’re still on our minds and to remind you of all the adventures we shared together this summer!
First of all, we want to say that we’re very proud of you for the work you put in at Pampallacta. Our service project was hard, especially after the 14-day folks left! That being said, you all continued to work diligently and consistently, giving each other support and encouragement and, of course, making time for games during our water breaks. We want to give special shoutouts to those of you, such as Morgan and Jaimee, who took ownership of a specific task throughout the project and stuck with it.
We are equally proud of your willingness and dedication to learning Spanish. No matter your level coming in, you all improved, even if it meant just learning a couple new words and phrases that you’ll always remember, and some that you won’t (“otorrinolaringólogo”). We particularly noticed how some of you tried to use Spanish whenever possible, even if there weren’t any native Spanish speakers around (looking at you Lucas!).
Beyond Spanish learning and service, there are experiences we shared during our 21 days together that none of the GLA brochures could have prepared us for. They are the magical moments that come simply from spending lots of quality time with a special group of people. Although we can think of endless such moments, here are some of our favorites:
– having the best dirty potatoes, bread, and cheese we’ve ever had, made in a traditional oven
– epic games of secret Hitler!!
– making it all the way to the top of rainbow mountain, only to find that there were TWO beautiful sides to the view
– Tim as the ultimate throwback D.J
– SO MUCH INKA COLA
– SO MUCH NUTELLA
– SO MUCH PIZZA
– SO MANY TEQUEÑOS
– dancing your socks off during the Pisac festivities. Special highlight: the enthusiastic Peruvian man pulling us into the Congo line/parade
– rafting in gorgeous, sunny weather
– The Talent Show!! (Duh duh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh…Tequila)
– the spirit of Javi
– Stargazing in the corn fields by homebase
– Our last supper together with the Spanish teachers
Whether we mentioned you by name in this letter or not, we hope you know that you each made a lasting, positive impression on all of us. You impressed us endlessly with your willingness to engage in different activities and material, your skills working together as a cohesive team, and, as evidenced in the Talent Show, your individual passions and abilities. We’re excited for what each one of your future’s brings, and hope all of the goals you set in Mi Visión come true!
All the best from your exhausted but pleased GLA team,
Sophie, Estefany, Lauren, Luismi and Javi
This blog is for the Peru split session starting July 12, 2019, which includes both the 14-day and the 21-day student group.
Friday July 12, 2019
Hola Dear Parents!
We’ve finally started our Peru Spanish Adventure! All of our students have arrived and are at our Home Base in Pisac. Timothy and Lucia K arrived a bit later as their flight got delayed but thankfully they’re with us now.
Even though the team was tired after a long travel, we all enjoyed a delicious lunch / dinner together. We also had some time to settle down, go over our Home Base safety rules, and get to know each other. We took a lovely walk around town and exchanged some money.
After a good rest we look forward to a full day of activities tomorrow!
Due to late arrivals we couldn’t get a group photo but we promise we’ll will tomorrow.
Stay tuned for more news.
Sophie, Lauren, Javier, Estefany, and Luismi. El equipo.
Saturday July 13, 2019
Our first full day of program couldn’t have started in a better way. We played a couple of team building games and then created our acuerdo comunitario (community agreement). We then split into groups and rotated through stations where we learned about Peru local culture and traditions, responsible photography, made roommate contracts, and discussed our cellphone policy.
For lunch we went to an empanada class. We all learned to make empanadas and got to eat them for lunch. Afterwards we split into four groups and did a Yincana (scavenger hunt) around Pisac, where everyone had to step out of their comfort zone and interact with locals in Spanish.
We also went to Amistad Sagrada and learned about the service project we’ll be working on. After dinner we played a game to get to know our mentors better.
Sunday July 14, 2019
We had an early start this morning, because we were venturing to the mountains to hike through the ruins that the ancestors of Peru lived in. Even though the altitude effected many people, we all pushed through in order to see the landmarks. The views on top of the mountain were breathtaking and there was a peaceful and calm atmosphere.
After the ruins we had lunch at the Blue Llama, where several people enjoyed alpaca for lunch. Once we arrived back to home base, we were split into groups to debate the social struggles women in Peru face on a daily basis. The most favored part of the day for all students was visiting the local market and buying souvenirs. We wrapped up the night by getting into small groups and sharing our stories.
-by Macy and Charlie
Monday July 15, 2019
An early start today with the trips’ first Spanish class and later service work at Pampallacta.
Today was the first day we really immersed ourselves in the local culture of the Sacred Valley-more specifically, Pisac.
The ride up to Pampallacta was thrilling and the beautiful scenery was a good distraction.
The work was tough hauling adobe bricks from one end of the worksite to the other. Even a great working attitude couldn’t stop the hurt of a fulfilling work day.
Once back in Pisac, we joined the first night of the festival of the Virgin del Carmen.
The festival was a wild ride and everyone was reluctant to leave the thumping music and exuberant dancing.
Gracias y ciao!!
Samantha and Lucia I.
Tuesday July 16, 2019
Buenos Dias, we started off the day with pottery and music. Most students created bowls however there were a few creative minded kids who created spoons, napkin holders, and faces. How fun! Our next activity was learning about traditional Peruvian music. We listened to 3 musicians who taught us not only about Peruvian culture but about each individual instrument. After their demonstration they allowed the kids to come up and play with them.
In the afternoon, we continued our service work at Pampallacta. This mainly consisted of moving blocks of adobe to the building site and laying the foundation with rocks. We only stopped for a water break and a quick game of “Wa”. We then returned to home base and prepared for our evening events. After our “chow circle” and cena (dinner) we participated in an activity called “Who Wants to Be a Volunteer”, which addressed both the pros and cons of voluntourism —- tourism with a focus on volunteer work (which encompasses programs such as GLA). This informative group discussion helped us become more conscious of our actions and motivations behind participating in GLA.
-By Tim and Kylie
Wednesday July 17, 2019
Hola! Buenos dias a todos!
Today was a bit different than previous days we have had in GLA so far. The 14 day group got up early in the morning to go white water rafting for most of the day. The 21 day group stayed back at home base and had Spanish class in the morning. As a class we walked around the town of Pisac admiring the many different dances and rituals of the Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen: a very important and popular festivity here in Peru. Because it was a little rainy today, rather than going to Pampallacta to continue our volunteer work we headed to a sacred church not too far from Pisac called Señor de Juana.
From Sophia B:
Today, the 14 day people went white water rafting through the mountains! The day started out cold and rainy but cleared up as we went our way! The water moved quick and was crazy bumpy! Though the rafts were sturdy as they glided over all kinds of rocks and sticks.Along the way little ducks with red beaks were spotted alongside the river. As we zipped through the water, big rocks and tall mountains outlined our path providing a gorgeous view of Peru. After we rafted, we came back to the area to return our gear and quickly hopped in the sauna. Afterwards, lunch was provided with a piece of chocolate cake for all of us. But the journeys not over. Before heading back to home base, the opportunity to zip line across the river was given! Harnesses and helmets were handed out as we climbed up the ladder and zipped from mountain to mountain. What an amazing day!
Thursday July 18, 2019
Hi everyone ! Today in Peru we woke up to some lovely fireworks, a marching parade, and musicians, since we are celebrating Virgen del Carmen. Most of us will be happy when the celebration ends, as some of have lost a lot of sleep over them! After Breakfast at 8:15, we went to our spanish lessons and after had some almuerzo consisting of a choice of meat and quinoa accompanied by carrots and broccoli. After a healthy lunch we packed our backpacks and set out for pampallacta , and right now we are going to go to chow circle! After dinner we have a planned activity that will most likely incorporate material we will be teaching to young Peruvian kids next week. It is so nice here, and I am going to be so sad when we all have to say our goodbyes.
By: Mariana y Max
Friday July 19, 2019
Day eight here in Pisaq is a wrap! Despite lack of sleep due to the on-going festivities, we were ready to take on the day. The morning began with Spanish classes, in which a midway break was taken to enjoy local coffee shops and markets.
After a Spanish-only lunch, we once again headed to Pampallacta to continue work on the community center. Even though the weather was not ideal, we were still able to be productive. After work at the community center, we headed back to home base and enjoyed learning more about each other with a bonding activity. Shortly after this, we headed to a pizza dinner at Antica Osteria, capping off the night with a talent show
-by Olivia & Anna
Saturday July 20, 2019
We’ve reached day eight of our journey here in Peru, and today we left for our long awaited weekend excursion to Machu Picchu. We started our day off as usual with a nice homemade breakfast, and then the GLA group boarded the vans to begin our trip to the ancient Incan ruins of the village of Ollantaytambo. Before arriving there, GLA actually had the chance to experience and create some cultural art at “The Jardín de Mamitas”, where a local had set up shop in a cozy house and grew a passion for creating a personal art style out of the image of Peruvian women. Here, we enjoyed music and had an amazing time working with clay, animations,watercolor, and printing.
Upon arriving in the town of Ollantaytambo, our group unwinded by stopping at a restaurant by the name of Uchucuta that served anything from local favorites such as alpaca burgers to delicious vegetarian options like pasta and vegetable sandwiches. Our trip up to the ruins was a combination of a relaxing session of meditation looking out over a breathtaking view and the chance to experience the historical significance of Incan arquitecture.
The day’s surprises not ending there, we were lead to a protected haven through an isolated trail on the edge of the town that lead to an almost dreamlike pool of water covered by overhanging trees. This was another chance to take in the beauty of the landscape and relax before heading back for some delicious deserts at a nearby cafe and boarding the train for our upcoming adventure to Machu Picchu.
-Morgan C. and Dana
Sunday July 21, 2019
The Sunday has finally arrived when the GLA group is able to explore the long awaited Machu Picchu. Once having breakfast at our hostel, Catari’s House, we boarded the bus and headed up the mountain towards Machu Picchu. While up there, our tour guides connected us with the true origins of the ruins, and it’s like we almost experienced the presence of the early Incan nobility that once inhabited the area. At the end of the adventure, people got the unique option to hike back down the mountain instead of taking the bus.
This group was able to see the mountain from a whole new angle and see the water rapids flowing powerfully below them. That day, lunch was eaten at a local pizza place in the town of Aguas Calientes called, “In Country de Pueblo Viejo”. The restaurant offered a variety of toppings like alpaca, pesto, and vegetables. Before ending our day with a a train trip back, we got the choice to spend the rest of our time at Aguas Calientes by exploring the market, going to a local cafe, or unwinding at the hostel. The day truly made for an unforgettable experience.
Dana and Morgan C
Monday July 22, 2019
Returning from our weekend voyage to Machu Picchu, many of us fell ill with food poisoning. While this made it so that many people could not participate in activities, the majority of us resumed our Spanish classes. In the afternoon, the group split up for 2 separate service projects. Half the group continued our usual service project of building the community center in Pampallacta.
Meanwhile, the other half of the group tried something new by teaching an English and art lesson during the after school program at Amistad Sagrada. The English lesson included teaching the students useful phrases, colors and some English songs. During the art lesson, students were taught how to make origami frogs.
-Noah and Josh
Tuesday July 23, 2019
The day started with breakfast at 8:30 AM, then to Awana Kancha where we walked through a museum where we learned about the history and breeding of alpacas. We saw many different kinds of alpacas while we were there, and even got the opportunity to feed them. We then returned to home base where we had lunch. After lunch, we went over to Pampallacta for service work and Javier took us to the village of Pampallacta and told us about their way of life and showed us the vibrant community.
Today was the last time the full group was at Pampallacta, as tomorrow half of the group is teaching children while the others go to Pampallacta. We went back to homebase then ventured out to the markets where we bought hats, pants, sweaters and much more. Then, we went back to Inti Hospedaje, or homebase, and had dinner.
– Leah and Mikey
Wednesday July 24, 2019
Today was the last day in Pisac before the 14-day students headed home.
It was a pretty normal day in the morning and afternoon. We spent the morning in Spanish class. Then, due to it being the last meal at the hospedaje for the fourteen day students, we had a special lunch before half the group went to Pampallacta (construction site) and the rest of us went to the escuelita to teach English and art activities to local kids.
The day was a very productive one at Pampallacta, since we continued moving adobe bricks and sifting dirt to make mud for grout in between the adobe bricks. Overall, it was a good way to end service for the fourteen day students.
The escuelita class today was productive in teaching the local children, (ages 6 months to 11 year olds) fun origami, the English Alphabet, numbers 1-20 and much more. It was nice being able to only be able communicate to the local children in Spanish since it was a nice challenge to review our knowledge.
Finally, for the fourteen day students, it was saddening leaving to go to Cusco a day early due to the strikes blocking off the roads (taking place on Thursday) because we had to leave our 21 day friends a day early.
-by Manolo & Sebastian
Thursday July 25, 2019
Last night, the 14 day group left for Cusco. Today, the 21 day group had a normal day with Spanish class in the morning and Pampallacta in the afternoon. One class went to see horses and then went to a vegan cafe. At Pampallacta, we lifted and stacked adobe bricks, sifted dirt to make mud, and leveled the ground. After dinner, we all went to a cafe where we played games such as heads up, fish bowl, and paranoia. For our night activity, we walked away from the city into some farmland to look at the stars. We saw the Southern Cross, some shooting stars, and the Milky Way.
Friday July 26, 2019
On Friday we had Spanish class in the morning as usual but both classes took a trip to a local cafe named Lily of the Valley. After the clase de español we had lunch at the home base.
Later we took a trip to pampallacta. Some of the group stacked adobi bricks while others leveled the inside of the building. Once we got home we hung out for a little until dinner.
-by Hannah & Lucy
Saturday July 27 and Sunday 28, 2019
We started the morning with a yummy breakfast followed by a lengthy drive to a rafting lodge. When we got there we were all crazy tired but super exited. We grabbed some harnesses and helmets, climbed a ladder and zip lined across a river! It was awesome. We then got dressed into our rafting gear and drove to the out starting point.
The water was freezing but it was so fun! Thankfully nobody fell out. We got back and had the best lunch ever. Huge chicken legs and rice. Probably the best chicken I’ve ever had like wowwww! We all rushed into the sauna after the cool off our freezing toes. After we played games, did yoga, and napped. For dinner we had some yummy pizza by the fire place! After we played a really fun card game that was the talk of the night. It was a pretty great day…one of the best
Today we hiked rainbow mountain. We woke up around 4:00 am and had a quick breakfast before leaving for the mountain. We arrived a hour later to a beautiful sunrise coming from behind some of the surrounding mountains. When we started hiking it was very cold and for some people the altitude made the hike a lot harder. Where we were it was around 17,000 feet above sea level and we definitely felt it as we started the harder part of the hike. We arrived at the top a few hours later and it was definitely worth it.
We had a beautiful view of the rainbow mountain as well as a better look at the beautiful snow topped mountains in the distance. We all stop and took pictures at the peak and rested before going back down. The hike back down was much easier because by then it was warmer and we were more used to the elevation. We got back to our hotel around 11 and ate lunch.
After lunch we had a break where most people took the opportunity to catch up on sleep before heading back to Pisac. Once we arrived back in Pisac we mostly rested and ate dinner and called it a day. My favorite part about the hike was the view of the snowy mountains. They were incredible to see and was something unexpected.
-by Mo and Liam
Hola from Peru!
Today was our second to last day at Pampallacta. We worked on leveling out the ground, sifting dirt and digging a canal for plumbing in the building. We’ve all been getting a little emotional at the thought of leaving Pampallacta’s beautiful landscape as we’ve grown to appreciate the hard work we’ve done over the past few weeks.
In the advanced Spanish class we performed a play starring Hannah Darnell and Tim Holloway. Props to Tim for pulling off an emotional death scene that nearly brought us all to tears. In the lower Spanish class we made up songs in past present and future tense, and our lovely teacher taught us tongue twisters in Spanish.
Charlie and Lucia
Tuesday July 30, 2019
Things are winding down on this Peru trip. Today we went to the Pisac chocolate museum. We learned about the history of chocolate in Peru and around the world; we were taught about the process of making chocolate as well. We made hot chocolate and tea from cocoa beans. Then we got to create our own chocolate with a variety of different fillings such as gummy bears and coffee beans.
We then headed to our last day of service at Pampallacta, after working hard for a couple hours we sat down and had a goodbye ceremony where we learned about their culture and enjoyed specially cooked potatoes. At night we talked as a group about what we are taking away from this amazing trip to Peru and how we will implement it back home.
Wednesday July 31, 2019
Today was our last full day of program in Peru. In the morning we enjoyed a special Spanish class that took place at one of the loveliest coffee shops in Pisac. Most students chose to eat breakfast there while practicing their Spanish. Teachers Gadel and Susana joined us and between yummy food and laughter we closed our cycle of Spanish classes.
For lunch we ate CUY! (guinea pig) – shout out to Tim for devouring his portion.
In the afternoon we had a Pago a la Tierra ceremony with a local shaman. We all received blessings and shared a very special moment out in nature. We then got to go to the art craft market one last time for some last-minute shopping. IN the evening we had our last dinner together at a nice restaurant and everyone loved the tequeños.