We saw the view of la Veronica glacier from the campsite, drank hot cinnamon water (hot chocolate), and ate popcorn together after a long, wet day of hiking
Nico taught us how to dance salsa and bachata – your dance moves were V impressive
We explored Machu Picchu together (ONE OF THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD)
We realized that Canadians and Americans can be great friends
Everyone raced to call ‘first shower’ after hard service days
We played with the kids in Mayrasco and the San Judas orphanage
We put the roofs on the cuy houses and filled in the last cracks between the bricks…
Hola amigos! I hope you all are having a beautiful fall and enjoying time with your friends and families. (I also hope you got your fill of In-N-Out and Chipotle upon returning from Peru). A few months have passed since our trip together but to us it feels like it was just yesterday. The two weeks that we spent together aren’t easily forgotten and the impact that this session had on us will stay with us for many years to come.
Each and every one of you should feel accomplished about the service work you completed. The cuy houses we built are serving the families in Mayrasco and will continue to do so in the coming years. The speakers we saw taught us about poverty and malnutrition, but we took that information one step further and turned it into action. The service we completed was physically and mentally challenging; I feel like a stronger person for the work I did and I’m sure you all can say the same.
Building the cuy houses also gave us new experiences and insight into sustainable construction. Surely you all remember mixing mud (with your feet or shovels), carrying adobe bricks, pick axing and playing with the kids up at the school. More than anything, I hope you remember how happy the community members were on the last day of service when we put the momma and poppa cuys into their respective houses.
However, this session was outstanding not only because of the service work we completed. This group was unique because of everyone’s commitment to creating an inclusive environment and to living each experience to the fullest. From day one I could feel the positive energy and excitement this group had. Our guest speakers were impressed with your insightful questions and comments, and all of us enjoyed having insightful conversations with you all about culture and travel.
Thanks to your good sense of humor our outings to see llamas, play traditional Peruvian instruments, visit the local shaman, tour Cusco and its ancient Incan ruins, and help out in the local community of Patabamba were always memorable and hilarious. Even seemingly normal activities like a trip to Super Sol to buy snacks (every flavor of Pringles), buying Picarones next door, or watching Boss Baby was a riot with you guys. Arriving to the campsite on the first day of the trek, after the hailstorm, was a definite highlight for us. The next days hiking alongside the train tracks into Aguas Calientes and the trail up to Machu Picchu were beautiful and unforgettable.
Months after all of this I hope that you all still hold onto the friendships you made and how you grew as a global leader. Do you remember what your ‘rock, stick and leaf’ were? Some of you said you wanted to stick with your Spanish, or continue to be more inclusive with others in your daily lives back home. Many of you wanted to continue volunteering in your home communities and traveling to new countries.
Keep working towards these new goals that you set for yourself and know that all of us staff here are cheering you on. Thank you for a wonderful summer, your dedication to the program and the endless memories that came with it.
Con mucho amor,
-Jill, Grace & Nico