SSV Squad 2018! It’s been a while, huh? I’m sure time has flown by, just like it did when we were all together in Ollantaytambo. Whether we were excavating humongous rocks at our service site, trekking amongst the striking Andes, laughing at the oddness of alpacas, or simply chilling at home base – the time passed super fast, and that’s the reason for this time capsule letter! Although it may seem like ages ago, the time we shared together and impacts we made are definitely worth taking a minute to remember.
You made an everlasting imprint on the community during your time in the Service in the Sacred Valley Program. The weaving center you helped construct made a TON of progress. This means that the women from the local community will soon have a place in Huilloc to store their materials and work on all their beautiful handmade textiles with more efficiency and organization. Reach out to Awamaki if you would like to see recent pictures. Many tourists will soon be able to come check out the weaving center, learn how the handmade goods are made, and enjoy hanging out in the community. The women, Awamaki, and their families will always be grateful for your help.
Let’s also not forget all the knowledge you gained on the trip and the time spent learning from both shamans, the local staff, and all the guides. I hope your newfound understanding continues to provide a different perspective on your life and what it means to have a community and happiness. When you think back on our trip together, there’s certainly a handful of fun (and hilarious) moments that come to mind first. We saw (and got selfies with) alpacas, llamas, chinchillas, and some other adorable animals in the wild. We trekked for days to summit Lares pass (over 14,000 feet!) and got some of the most epic photos of Machu Picchu. We shopped at local markets and explored several different ancient ruins sites. We went rafting and survived freezing waters and crazy fast rapids (though thanks to the showers we were already used to cold water). We had a traditional ceremony, authentic meals, went out for pizza and ice cream, and ate wayyyy too many snacks (or maybe just enough). We shared music, games, and tons of great stories. The mentors – Jack, Kelly, Brooke, Ariel, and Sheila loved being able to share these experiences with you guys! Thanks for all the hard work you did while you were here and thanks for making it so fun and memorable.
Some special moments from our trip:
– Learning how to use an Inca toilet
– Buying some colorful Alpaca swag
– Bonding with the local women while making some beautiful bracelets by hand
– Getting brownies at Papa´s bakery
– Hanging out with Pluto the dog, who managed to trek almost the whole way with us!
– Getting “Meet in the Middle” stuck in our heads (thanks Kelly)
– Surviving the climb up the steep mountain after eating a giant lunch on the first day of hiking!
– Sharing stories and getting to know each other during Mentor Groups
– Raquel and Rider teaching card games in the restaurant
– Seeing the mystical Machu Picchu soaked in rain
– Making chocolate with way too much honey and spice
Thanks for the memories!!
Ariel and the SSV Team