Time Capsule Letter – October 2016
Summer Blog Posts
June 26, 2016 – 1st night in Peru!
Everyone is tired but excited to be here. We have a handful of students still to arrive and the group will be complete. Lots of sleep and drinking water have been the main activities of the day. Tomorrow we will head to our permanent home base and meet our Peruvian hosts and Spanish teachers. It’s been a great first day.
– Suzannah Crandall
June 28, 2016
We’re all here! Our group of 30 is finally complete and everyone is settling into home base with new roommates and a beautiful 360 view of the mountains.
Yesterday was a day filled with orientation and our first Spanish class. Everyone took a quick written an oral test and then were divided into 4 groups for Spanish.
Today we start our service projects and have the first official Spanish class. Weather has been a bit overcast and definitely chilly in the morning and evening.
All is good on our end…more updates to come later.
– Suzannah Crandall
June 29, 2016
We woke up to a very cold morning. We had bread for breakfast with jam. So yummy! At around 8:30 we boarded the buses to go to Cuzco. On the way there Ayianna sang us a song and it was so fun! Once we arrived at the market we met our Spanish teachers who gave us 2 soles for the days meal. We learned to bargain with the local vendors and in the end we were successful! Later, we went to the house of our local director, Carmen. Can you imagine walking up 200 steps in a low oxygen environment? We did that!
Carmen split us up into teams in order to successfully cook a traditional Peruvian meal. Local chefs taught us the secrets to a tasty meal. Then we climbed even further up the mountain to play soccer and enjoy the view.
Our next adventure was to visit the Incan ruins of Cuzco. There, we learned about the religious and cultural practices of the Incas. After the conclusion of our tour we were bombarded by local artisans who insisted on selling us their llama and alpaca products. Eventually Toney gave in and purchased a traditionally woven hat and began the trend as many additional GLA students purchased goods of their own.
Once we arrived at our village the student body divided as some students returned to home base for a siesta while the remaining travelers explored the All Saints festival of Andahuailillas (our town). Many of the girls participated in the local dance after a generous invitation from the local senoras.
Once the sun had set, all students returned to home base for our evening meal, followed by alone time when students stargazed the clear skies, read, or meditated in the silence. As the stray dogs howled, the students hobbled into bed, dressed in many layers, eager to sleep after an exhausting day.
June 30, 2016
We started off the day by going to the service site. Some people hiked to harvest flax seeds and bring them back. Others helped make dollsand paint the inside of a new building on the property. After lunch, we did a leadership personality assessment. We worked in groups to learn more about our different leadership styles. Next, we learnedtraditional Peruvian dances. The dances were called Sacra, Majeno, and Valicha. The Sacra included colorful masks and many sounds. Majeno represented a drunk rich person in Peru. Valicha was a dance of love between partners. After dancing, we listened to an Andean performance group. They played five songs for us. We wrapped up the evening with burgers and mentor time (a discussion in groups).
July 1, 2016
Today we woke up around 6:30, a little earlier than normal, to cold air and cold showers. After eating the typical bread and jelly for breakfast, we took a 15 minute walk to a nearby Peruvian public school.
Surrounded by a great view of mountains, we bonded with the kids initially by joining their volleyball game. Then we split up into two groups, one going to English class and the other going to math. We were instantly welcomed in by wide-eyes and interested smiles from our Peruvian classmates. All day we got asked question about everything from what we eat (mainly because they wanted to know why we were so tall), to questions about our hair (blonde hair really weirded some of them out). For lunch we had a typical Peruvian meal of rice, potatoes and chicken as well as Chicha morada, a purple corn drink. We learned a lot from the students and them from us; it was a great culture exchange day.
After we left the school, we stopped in “the market” for snacks and other necessities. We made our way back through the main plaza and headed home to rest before afternoon activities. Activity time included a cultural awareness game and Spanish bingo.
After a delicious dinner we had a quick check in with our mentor and then had “selfie” time to reflect on the eventful day.
July 2 and 3, 2016
What an amazing, jam packed weekend exploring the Cusco area! Saturday and Sunday were spent exploring ruins, shopping for gifts and biking through the Andes along the infamous 4 lagunas route.
On Saturday we celebrated Alessandra’s birthday and spent the day exploring Inca ruins. We first visited the Pisac ruins and then had a chance to go shopping for gifts at the Pisac market. We then ate an amazing three course meal for lunch,visited a llama farm AND toured the Sascayhuaman ruins just above Cusco. Everyone was exhausted from the day and went to bed with heads full of new information and an appreciation for Inca ingenuity and architecture.
An early start on Sunday allowed for a visit to a traditional market (we were the only “gringos” in sight) and an amazing bike ride at 12,000 ft. For two and a half hours we struggled up and cruised down hills along a route that took us past for separate lakes. The air was thin, the sun hot but the incredible scenery made up for all the struggles.
It was a great weekend and everyone is ready for week two to begin!
July 4, 2016
Hola! This morning we ate breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and left for service around 8:20 a.m. Most of us were still sore from our bike ride yesterday. Service was between 8:30-12:30 p.m. and ranged from digging holes for the senoras (which was new), painting rooms, making dolls and playing with the kindergartners. However, we (the toastmasters of the day) left around 11:30 a.m. in order to assist in the kitchen with lunch.
After lunch at 1 p.m. we had free-time, which included games to celebrate the Fourth of July. We had human wheelbarrow races, trivia and three-legged races followed by an activity at 3 p.m. about assumptions and stereotypes. From 4:30-6:30 p.m. we had Spanish class. After, we found the face paint and proceeded to have fun painting full American flags on people’s faces, among other things.
At 7 p.m. was dinner, which included patriotic performances to see who would get their American-style meal first. After dinner we concluded the day with roasting marshmallows around a bonfire. Happy Fourth!
– Daily Desenberg, Izzy Najah and Kennedy Wade
July 5, 2016
The morning was sunny, the birds were chirping and Pongo (our home base puppy) was yapping. Izzy’s woke up as a 16 year old today!
After breakfast we headed off to service where some people worked in the field building rock walls and cutting down corn stalks while others hiked to collect flaxseed and the rest continued making their dolls.
After lunch and siesta time, every once got to find their inner peace with a yoga session led by Haylie, Daria and Sophie. Then everyone had a chance to head t the local market to buy Peruvian snacks. Max purchased the most at 57 soles (about $17) and then Zoe came in second with 55 soles worth of food.
Before dinner we all got to experience a 3000 year old Shaman ceremony that predates the Incas. It involved an offering to the Pachamama (Mother Earth), Apus (the four sacred mountains) and a cleansing of our spirits. The Shaman left us with good energy and good fortunes for our families, friends, homes and cars.
The day ended with delicious cake and chocolate caliente (hot chocolate) for Izzy’s birthday!
We have started our countdown to MacchuPiccu: 5 days left!
– Emma Clark and Annie Lord
July 6, 2016
Hola familia y amigos,
Today was another typical day in Peru. After a breakfast of yogurt, cheese and bred, we headed out to the service site with our new found doggy friend Patches. The group split into two, the majority going to help out in the can fields and the seven girls committed to making their dolls met with senoras Paulina and Vilma to continue their work. Doll making is harder than it looks. Even Dolly is constantly getting roasted n her skills!
After lunch, we practiced our Spanish skills with a murder mystery game with the staff.We also tried our hand (and feet) at several Latin American dances including salsa and a samba.
To finish the day, we had formal Spanish class which included a fun game of charades with the entire group.
Though a number of us have been pretty run down the past few days, it’s good to see everyone feeling better. The chicken soup at dinner didn’t hurt either.
The countdown to Maccupicchu continues…
July 7, 2016
Hola families and friends! Today the doll makers officially finished making their traditional Peruvian dolls while the rest of us worked on clearing rocks from on e the senoras farms. One of us had the pleasure of “dancing” with a “happy” cow. Once it started raining, we headed back to all help with doll making.
We had a nice long siesta today and then a singing competition during Spanish class.
After dinner, we starting planning and packing for our next three day excursion to Macchu Picchu. Tomorrow we officially begin our weekend adventure to Macchu Picchu!!!
July 8-10, 2016
Three days of non-stop, action-packed adventures! Friday we started our journey towards MacchuPiccu by ascending to 15, 000 feet and stopping for a quick snowball fight. For some, it was the first time they saw snow, it was great. After reaching the snow caps, we descending into the cloud forest for a declicious lunch, a tour of tea farm and tried our hand at harvesting passion fruit. To finish the day, we spent a relaxing few hours in a natural hot springs surrounded by the mountains.
Saturday our adventures including hiking for a few hours to a refreshing waterfall where almost everyone challenged themselves by dipping into the freezing cold water. Another few hours of hiking along the train tracks, we arrived in Aguas Calientes, the town closest to MacchuPiccu.
Finally, on Sunday, we had our day at MacchuPiccu. It was everything (and more) our group had been expecting. Most of the group hiked their way up to the Sun Gate (the main entrance to Inkan site) before getting a tour of the lost city. Our tour guides did a great job highlighting the important structures on site and as we left, we officially checked off our visit to one of the seven wonders of the world by adding a MacchuPiccu stamp to our passports.
We finished the weekend by doing some shopping for gifts in the Aguas Calientes market before boarding the train back towards home base. It was a long and exhausting weekend and despite a number of folks battling illness, everyone had a fantastic time.
July 12, 2016
Max Lee, Sophie Spiegel and Evan Resende
It is our last Tuesday in Andahuayllilas and as our stay in Peru comes
to a close, another successful day of adventures and service was
completed. Our day began with a hearty breakfast consisting of hard
boiled eggs, avocados, cheese and as usual, bread. We headed to
Q’ewar for service where we were divided into groups for field work
and doll support. For those who were assigned to doll support their
day entailed of conversing with the señoras in Spanish whilst cleaning
wool and picking fuzz out of clothes made for the dolls. For the other
group of students their day consisted of hard manual labor in a local
señoras field. After service, we returned to home base for a lunch
of vegetable pancakes, semolina soup and pesto pasta.
After lunch we rested, followed by an exhibit on silver making in the
plaza. At the joyeria (jewelry store), the jeweler gave detailed instruction on how
to solder earring forms, then sand, and place gems into earrings.
After the jewelry demonstration we had free time to shop in the local
market, followed by a tour of the iglesia (church) de Andahuaylillas, a
historic baroque style church influenced by the Spanish and
characterized by ornate gold leaf trim. Two local artisans who took
part in the church’s restoration process visited Casa de Campo (our home base) to
demonstrate their wood carving techniques.
Finally we ate dinner, chicken and rice, followed by hot chocolate for
dessert. Lights out 9:30. adios, gracias.
July 13, 2016
After eating a good breakfast we returned to Q’war to help the senoras make dolls and also help them clean their fields for the next season of corn.
After lunch and a relaxing free time filled with chess, napping and showers, we divided into our mentor groups and prepared for our thank you presentation for the community members.
Spanish time! Groups 2 and 4 went to the market while Groups 1 and 3 played games in Spanish.
Right before dinner, we listened to an inspirational speech from our local director Jorge about recognizing our potential and being the change in the world. His short story and heart felt words reminded us of who we are as a community and what we can achieve in the world.
Finally, we sat down for a dinner of fish, rice and vegetables. We also had a delicious desert of bananas sprinkled with cinnamon. It was a perfect way to end a great day.
July 14, 2016
We started out our last day of service with our normal 7:30am desayuno (breakfast) and left for Q’war at 8:15am. Our finally day wit the senoras was filled with a bittersweet celebration. We did normal service work (work in the fields and doll work) for the first part of the morning and then start our goodbyes. To say goodbye, each mentor group prepared a song to perform. The senoras surprised each member of GLA with a goody-bag with a handmade baby doll inside.
After the despedida/fiesta we headed back to home base for lunch and an afternoon activity. OUr activity covered culture shock both in coming to Peru and what we can expect when we return home.
Our final Spanish class consisted of farewell games and presentations by each group. We were all sad to say goodbye to our our profesoras.
Tomorrow we look forward to our day-long white water rafting adventure.