August 2, 2019
Today was a successful and eventful start to what has already become quite the adventure.
We started our morning around 9 am, waking up and getting ready for the day which was shortly followed by our breakfast. After eating, we all made our way out of our hostel and began our long day of on-foot travel throughout Lima. Beginning our walk from our hostel in the South-most area of the country’s capital, we made our way all throughout Lima. We experienced an up-close view of neighborhoods and had a clear shot of the ocean where we took a rest and sat by the water. Covering ground fast, we visited numerous market places, exchanged our money, shopped around, and ate lunch.
Continuing our walk, we headed towards the North-most area of Lima called Miraflores where we stopped by a nice shopping mall, saw a small turtle sanctuary, stopped by some beautiful public parks where we began our general group bonding, shopped at a market for any foods or drinks that the students would want for our bus ride, and ate dinner as well.
After dinner, we were met by our drivers who then delivered us back to our hostel from our previous night to regather all of our larger baggage and after packing up, we all headed to the bus station where we waited to board our overnight bus to the region in which we’re working, Oxapampa.
Now, all on the bus and looking back on today, it was very very full and very very fun. The overall feeling was excitement towards our trip and what’s to come.
August 3, 2019
We arrived at the bus station in La Merced at 8:30 in the morning. Right away we ate breakfast, which was a drink-able oatmeal, and got on two separate vans, driven by Luis and Edgar who will be our drivers for the next week, that took us on a scenic drive to a local swimming area underneath a stream of waterfalls. We walked up to the largest and swam around as a group, going under the waterfalls and enjoying the clean water. Later we walked down to another, even larger waterfall and sat where the water just barely misted us. After swimming we drove down to a restaurant called “The Bambu 2” where we were served typical plates from the region. Around an hour later we drove to Villa Rica and stopped at a local lodge where we’ll be staying for the portion of our trip that includes service.
August 4, 2019
Today was definitely one for the books. A large transition from our previous lodging and locational arrangements here in Peru, our first full day in Villa Rica was a satisfying success. Arriving at the Yanesha community village (Union De La Selva) was an amazing opportunity for the group to establish a great relationship with members of the community such as leaders, locals, and the children. We arrived and viewed Yanesha community traditions such as traditional dances, archery, music, and food. We viewed and discussed previous projects in the community and developed our game plan for the worksite.
After our day in the community, we returned to the lodge for dinner and to continue our physical training for our Machu Pichu trek. After dinner, we had a long discussion about global economics, international relations, and the way the world works. After that we had some group bonding session, daily reflection and tried a new fruit “Granadilla – similar to passionfruit.
August 5, 2019
The early morning exercise was a beautiful jog through the immediate area around the hotel. Then we ate delicious fruit with yogurt sauce to satisfy the needs of everyone in the group. After that we started working on the project, we split into four groups of four, one group continued to dig the hole for the water tank deeper, another group carried bamboo to help construct a storage/rest area, a different group shoveled cement mix significantly closer to the hole in preparation for the cement stage.
After returning to the hotel and having dinner we made a trip to the local market for fruits and snacks for the week.
August 6, 2019
Today was the exploration day. We hot our feet eaten by fish in a nearby lake ‘Lago Ocunal’, then we rowed a boat in amongst the lilly pads and birds.
From there we went to try some coffee from an overly passionate coffee professional. The coffee was great and produced with fair-trade practices. After which we opted to visit local waterfalls where we hang out and some of us went swimming.
After dinner, we watched a documentary on Incan history and had a discussion on global wealth equality.
August 7, 2019
Today was a looong work day, cutting wire, digging holes and moving sand. One bumped head and a lot of stumbling about but all in all everyone had a great time. At we had a workshop about health in developing nations, discussing why there are more people affected by infections in developing nations followed by some group bonding
August 8, 2019
Today was full of work and energy, and finished with an intense lack of energy. Today the group grinded out a lot of positive and productive work towards finishing our ambitious water tank!
This morning we woke up and ate breakfast and then shortpy after took off for our work cite where we began working around 10 o’clock.
We worked until 12:30 and then stopped to eat lunch and relax. Once we returned to the work cite we continued to make progress on the water tank and nearly finished digging the trench that is needed to arrange the piping systems attatched to the tank for water distribution.
Exhausted and satisfied, we keft the cite around 3:30 and enjoyed some down time until dinner at 6:30.
After that, we had our Workshop at 7:20 and discussed EcoHealth and the causes of detrimental illnesses that are born from the degredation of our environment on Earth.
Tomorrow will be our final work day at Union De La Selva, and then on Saturday we head off for Cusco where we will begin our epic hike towards Machu Picchu!
More updates to come,
August 9, 2019
This morning we woke up at 7am and had our last breakfast together in Villa Rica. After breakfast we loaded into the vans and drove to Union De Selva for our last service day.
Once we arrived at the work cite around 9:30am we were very excited to see that the cement machine had arrived. All of us have been spending the bulk of our service days digging and leveling the hole and we were super excited to finally use the cement machine. It was even more fun than we hoped and everyone played a role in bringing this project together from shoveling cement, to bringing water, and even getting in the pit to spread the cement out, but we got filthy.
To wash off that filth we took a walk down to a river before lunch. We all had a great time washing ourselves off and most us went swimming! The water felt so nice after all of our hard work. We lost track of time and were a little late for lunch, but it was definitely worth it and a great way to end our last service day.
For lunch we were surprised to see that the community had cooked us one of their delicacies, Cuy, or better known as guniea pig. Some of us were brave enough to try it and it was delicious! We thank the community for making this the best last lunch, they went all out.
After lunch we joined the community in celebrating their culture through song, dance, and games. We came together and danced one last dance with the community leaders. We also joined them in playing games like Sol y Luna, a very similar game to tug-o-war, and we played a game of soccer. We are all so grateful to have experienced the community’s culture and it will be an experience we will never forget.
Once getting back from the work cite, we all went to the market to buy snacks and then went back to our lodge for dinner. After dinner we had the opportunity to listen to some speakers who are in the Peace Corps. We learned a lot about their programs and during their presentation we ate some celebatory cake. We all have enjoyed our time at Villa Rica and this place will always be in our hearts.
Tomorrow we have a very early start and will be traveling to Cusco for our last 5 days of the program!
August 11, 2019
Hey folks, 2 loooong days of travel! But also some welcome surprises and new adventures. Vicuña sightings, mountain top lakes, shopping in the city, pizza, distracting puppies, breath-taking-views-in-full-body-armor mountain biking, a remarkable breakfast, cusco city and a couple of precious hours of sleep. Everyone is thoroughly exhausted and nervous for the long hike tomorrow but the building anticipation for Machu Pichu is keeping everyone going.
August 12, 2019
Waking up at 5:30 am, the day started before the sun rose. The group walked to a breakfast buffet before beginning the day long trek on the Inca jungle trail. Along the route we learned about coca, mango, and quinoa farming. By mid-day we stumbled upon the Monkey House and were met by hammocks, shade, and cold water. The spot lived up to its name as one little monkey ran throughout the house. Our stay was much longer than planned as tour leader John painted everyone’s faces with a local and natural plant that also serves as an insect repellent. From there we headed up to the Inca trail, reaching our highest point of the day. Hiking down to lunch, the heat set in as the altitude dropped. On the final stretch of the 15 mile walk, the group came upon cable cars soaring across the river into a tunnel only lit by our flashlights. Soon after, we reached hot spring pools where we spent an hour and a half relaxing and reflecting upon the day. The group then took a 15 minute shuttle to the hostel and walked down the block to a filling dinner as day one came to a close. The views today did not disappoint, and the group is looking forward to tomorrow with soar legs, but happy hearts.
August 13, 2019
Blog to be written but please enjoy some of our awesome pictures from today!!