Follow our 7e adventures in Peru from July 1-15, 2019 with our Program Director Ben O’Hanlond. Follow their adventures with the Yanesha community as they learn about Human Security in Peru! 

Peru Open Enrollment, July 1-15, 2019!

July 2, 2019

Hey família! We finally all arrived in Peru (except for Max’s bag… Pending). Highlights so far: Chuck woke up early was stopped by police as the the president walked by. We walk more than anyone (except Cathy – an avid hiker) has ever walked before. We went to a chocolate museum, learned about chocolate production and chuck bought some chocolate shampoo (which, by the way, tastes terrible). Max stocked up on his new outfit for the next few days – care of American Airlines delayed luggage arrival policy. We had dinner in China town and almost missed our overnight bus to Villa Rica when Max decided we needed emergency churros at the last minute. We’re now safe on the bus and excited for our next few weeks in Peru.

July 4, 2019

Hey familia! Bonjour! Emily, Max, and Laasya here! This morning we woke up in La Casa del Aduljo Mejor and the hotel staff kindly made us eggs with ham and plantain porridge. We then went on a very nice but a bitttt bumpy of a can ride to the place we are constructing the health clinic, La Union de La Selva. The Yanesha community gave us a cultural exhibition which included traditional dance and song. They also prepared us a delicious lunch which included the national dish, Cuy, which is Guinea pig! We all worked hard together and finished one wall of the bottle building. The kids were all very eager to help and friendly and everyone loved Kathy’s dancing! Max had a lot of fans! Tomorrow we will return back to La Union de La Selva to keep working hard.

July 5, 2019

¡Hola! ¿Que pasa? We took the bus back to La Union de La Selva after a yummy breakfast of salad and fried fish. Half of us continued working on wiring the walls and securing the water bottles as insulation while the other half mixed cement. We were able to accomplish more than bens goal as we covered a bit more than one wall (outside and inside) with the first layer of cement. Most of the kids were at school today, so they couldn’t help as much as yesterday. On our way back home we stopped by the bus station and were super excited to find out that Max’s suitcase finally arrived!!! Tomorrow we continue our adventure in Oxapampa

July 7, 2019

Today was a ‘relaxation’ day. Though we still climbed up and down over over 500 stairs and walked over 5 miles. Waterfalls, lookout points, local markets, MUCHO comida, trout, THE MILKY WAY GALAXY! Caves, swing sets, witches, trampolines, cheese tastings, ice-cream, yanisha VS. The US justice system, native American rights, cake annnd an amazing dinner. All made for a long and exciting day. #gluten4punishment Also #gourmandising

July 9, 2019

Welcome back to another day of vlog that we know all of our viewers have been waiting allll day for! Today we had an awesome relaxing/adventure day which entailed ice cream before lunch and many waterfalls. The first water fall was huge and we had it all to ourselves! We all swam and were able to make it to a pocket underneath the waterfall (don’t worry parents we did so safely)! We explored other waterfalls as well and once we were done ate at a restaurant where we had ceviche and fried catfish from the river. After lunch we had a boat ride which was both relaxing and exciting as Luis (our driver and amigo) literally rocked the boat! For our last activity of the day we visited a community called the CIAMB where we were given a presentation of dance and song, got dressed in traditional clothing, and had a dance party after Chuck and Emily both got married to a super lucky individual in the community! Because of this special celebration we are trying to convince Ben to let us get more pastel or cake, (I’ll let you know how that goes).

July 10th, 2019

Hola friends, family and fans!! 
After a day of adventures and fun yesterday, we were all up early and ready to jump back in to work. We were all excited to see how much we could accomplish today knowing that we are running out of work days on our trip and our goal to finish as much as we can on our project in Union De Le Selva. After a quick (and delicious) breakfast, we all made a quick walk to the market with Ruth to pick up fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat for lunch today. 
Before setting out on our daily journey to the worksite, we had to make a quick stop at the bakery to pick up a few snacks for the trip (thanks Laasya). 
Once onsite we instantly teamed up and managed to finish bottling our last wall and mixing lots of concrete by lunch time. 
After yet another fabulous lunch and a quick jam session with Ben, Emily, and Max taking turns on the guitar, we all jumped into concreting and managed to finish our last internal wall by the end of the day.  On our ride back to our home away from home we decided to play “hot seat” which not only made the trip go by much faster, but also gave us the opportunity to learn many fun and interesting things about each other. 
After dinner and a quick documentary about national and global wealth distribution, Laasya convinced Ben that we deserved a treat for all our hard work, so off we went on a walk into town to visit our friendly neighborhood cake store.  (Good news is I think we are now members of their frequent buyers club and should be receiving a free cake anytime….) 
After sitting sharing the few types of cake we had yet to try, we reflected on our days work and our goals for tomorrow.   
Stay tuned for an update on Thursday’s progress!

July 11th, 2019

Buena Noches Amigos!
Here we are finishing out another incredible day here in this beautiful place! At one point today we actually had a discussion about what day it is because none of us can believe we have actually been here for 12 days already. It seems like just a few days ago that we began our adventure.  
Today started out a little slower than usual with Max and Laasya struggling to get out of bed. I’m not sure if it was from the long day of hard work yesterday, or too much cake last night… once they made it to the dining area, we had a very tasty breakfast consisting of fruit and cereal over a yogurt base along with the customary bread and tea. After breakfast it was once again off to the market to pick up fresh fruit, vegetables, and chicken for lunch today while Ben made a quick trip to the hardware store to pick up supplies. After a quick stop at the bakery with Laasya (do you see a pattern here?) we were off on our way back to the project sight. Upon arrival we instantly jumped right in to finishing up concreting on our building. Emily actually received a lesson from one of our local masonry experts on the fine art of finish concrete work using a trowel.  Once she got into it she was tackling the wall like a professional! For lunch we had chicken and broccoli, along with our traditional fresh fruit, rice, fried plantains, and fresh squeezed pineapple juice.  
After lunch we had the honor of being treated to some local traditional dances performed by the children of the community. At the end of their performance, they requested a song from us and Emily, Max and Laasya sang an award worthy rendition of Stand By Me with Emily playing the guitar.  
They then took us out to show us some of their local traditions and games. We started out with a little archery practice with their traditional bow and arrows. We all did quite well, with Emily stealing the show by sticking 3 out of 5 arrows into the pole.  
Then it was game time… we started with a game of tug of war, at which the kids surprised us with their strength in numbers, but we prevailed and took the win! 
Next up was a game of football (soccer as we know it).  After a very long and challenging game, we gave them quite the surprise by scoring 4 goals. Unfortunately for us they scored about 20 (we lost count after 10) but we all had fun and that’s all that counts right??? 
After we carried Ben off the field with a hamstring injury, it was back in the van for our trip back to Villa Rica. On the way back we stopped at a look out point to take pictures overlooking the town, then back for a traditional plate of chicken, rice, and vegetables over French fried potatoes. After dinner we ended our day with a documentary about coffee production, sales, and trade agreements around the world. 
We are now all off to bed to get some rest in anticipation of getting as much work done as possible tomorrow on our last day at the project site. 

July 14th, 2019

Sadly today was our last day in the Yanasha community of Union de la Selva.
The day was bittersweet as we were excited to see our progress and what we accomplished over time with the bottle building but we also felt very sad to leave. We are so thankful for the hospitality of the community of Union and can all say we hope to be able to return one day.
The whole community came together for a traditional lunch called Pachamanca which consists of digging a hole in the ground, heating rocks in the fire, then burying the food (chicken, duck, guinea pig, and pork) along with the hot rocks! The food is then covered with banana leaves, and then dirt to create the same effect an oven would have. It was delicious! We distributed coffee plants to members of the community which had been grown by past 7 Elements projects. We also took a tour of the community where we were shown the school, the river, and the area that they raise fish. After our goodbye we drove back to our hotel and visited the night market one last time where we were served hot chocolate and pancakes by Luis’s wife Doris. Thank you for a great stay Villa Rica and Union de la Selva!