We hope that you are all eating your quinoa! Remember, it is for your health and if you don’t eat you could be sent back.
It’s been a minute since you all have been in Peru. Well maybe more than a few minutes, but Mario and his students are still here making good use of the greenhouse you built. You put a lot of work into it – endless bags of dirt, painting until arms got tired, but in the end you completed a great project that will benefit a lot of people. Mario’s school is continuing on as normal (kids are still crazy, but at least they’re learning something!) and hopefully you’ve all settled back into your own lives of high school classes – or potentially college- or perhaps your final year of middle school. Remember your experiences with the Peruvian students here, their own challenges, backgrounds, and excitement, and utilize what you’ve learned in your own lives.
We’re sure you all remember Lares! Oh how the endless steps and hills seemed to go on: one foot in front of the other, one llama sighting after the next. Cresting the hill and finally lunch, little did we know that we would continue on to yet another beautiful valley. That night we were able to enjoy dinner – whether we wanted to or not- as well as a toasty fire with campfire songs and breathtaking stars. Literally breathtaking. The next day, the challenging but beautiful moment when the group crested the mountain together and looked into the valley beyond was shared and enjoyed by everyone. Finally (only 10 more minutes, promise!) we arrived at the Hot Springs that night and relaxed into the realization that we had all completed such a challenging task.
The highlight of the trip for many of you was our visit to Machu Picchu. We had another tough climb up, but everyone accomplished it with minimal complaining and encouragement for the others in the group. We all got some great selfies and took a nice group photo with the hippo. We split into two groups and had our guides explain the history behind the site. Some people got a little more out of the tour than others (sorry, Dani!), but everyone could appreciate the beauty of one of the wonders of the world.
The trip was a beautiful mix of personality, talent and adventure. Being able to see the entire group come together to appreciate each person’s contribution to service brought us closer and helped our group become a family. Together we learned about ancient Incan sites, took on the rapids of the Urubamba River and laughed at the talent show. We shared an incredible last night together.
Our favorite moments:
Arriving back from MP at 2 in the morning
So. Many. Stairs.
Finally getting Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream in Aguas Calientes (or a few days later for Morgan)
Getting coca leaf fortunes told by the shaman – remember, Matt, you’re marrying rich!
That damn darn hill on the way to service everyday. At least it got a little easier by the end!
Inca Kola. Hopefully Dan and Sandra have found some sort of supply of it somewhere. If not, can someone check if they are still alive?
Singing songs around a campfire. Some happy moments before everyone started getting sick.
Learning about Sacsayhuaman with John.
Mateo’s wonky finger and Olivia’s wonky detachable teeth.
Taking time to deconstruct everything you experienced in Peru during Mentor Groups.
Supporting each other during each difficult step on Lares.
Making bird fighting noises whilst flapping your arms during dance class.
Gabby’s awesome poem at the talent show
Yojan and the legend himself, Rolando, doing some traditional dances for us at the farewell dinner.
Playing a valiant game of soccer, despite getting destroyed by the local team. Remember, Lily H, soccer means no hands!
Fighting over our Leaders of the Day’s trivia questions in order to be first in line for meals.
Coca tea. Some liked it, some hated it, but remember how much it helps with the altitude!
Nothing ever being on time.
Mob mentality taking over for the piñata and smashing it with Gabby’s crutches.
John having to translate for the MP guide, whilst Dani and Sandra had to translate for John.
The USS Dank taking on some rapids!
About half of you got to know Cusco’s lovely MacSalud Clinic with Yensi at one point or another. Fond memories from there, I’m sure.
Adam carrying around a cuy’s head in a bag, for some reason.
Movie nights! Also getting to see the cinematic masterpiece that is Transformers in theaters, which many of us weren’t able to understand a word of, and was probably completely inappropriate for 5 year olds.
Mario and all the work he has put into helping just a small number of Cusco’s children. Never forget the difference that just a small amount of work, done by just a small amount of people, can make in the world.
Slow and Steady,
Mateo, Sierra, Raquel, Yensi