Austin Prep School Peru 2017
April 11, 2017
The first day of our adventure started with Bagel World at 3am (because Austin runs on bagels). Our first flight left at 6 and we arrived in Houston around 10. We played some bonding games and then we got to take at rip around the airport trying to use up our 8-hour layover. On top of that, the flight was delayed but we finally got to Lima at 12:30 am. Something to remember, don’t open a water bottle with a straw on a plane! The water shot straight out onto the ceiling because of the air pressure. At the airport, we waited in a long customs line and then got on our bus. Even late at night, Lima was lit up and we had a great view as the plane touched down. After our day of travel, we got to the hotel around 2:30 and collapsed into bed, exhausted but excited for the days to come. Everyone is looking forward to immersing themselves in a new culture, and meeting their host families. In a few days, we will start our service and we are all excited for it. We’ll have the opportunity to try new food (scary and exciting!) and meet a lot of new people. The 10 days to come will definitely be ones to remember.
-Bridget and Alana
April 12 -14, 2017
The Austin Prep School group has been busy jumping into their service projects and meeting their homestay families in Urubamba! Below, some students recap their experiences. For a time-lapse video of the Austin Prep group painting the school’s sports court, see the Global Works Instagram page by following @GlobalWorksTravel or clicking here: https://www.instagram.com/globalworkstravel/.
For a time-lapse video of the group creating a saw dust carpet mural for the local Good Friday processing, visit the Global Works Facebook page Global Works – International Community Service or clicking here: https://www.facebook.com/GlobalWorks/
April 17, 2017
Today we were able to actually go to the site of the Sacred Valley Project. The Sacred Valley Project provides education opportunities for rural, indigenous girls, who do not have much access to schools. The project is to build a dormitory where these girls can stay when they come from their rural mountain towns. A few days ago we got to meet some of the girls in the program, so we know who is going to appreciate our contribution. Each of us got to work with a pick axe or shovel. For some of us, it was the first time doing so. Even though it might seem like strenuous activity on the outside, all of us knew what we were doing served a great purpose. We often take for granted how easy our lives are, especially with education. We’ve grown up thinking that education was a given, and something easily accessible. Coming to Peru, meeting the girls, and physically putting in effort to make sure education is more attainable is one of the biggest reality checks any of us could have. I understand now to be more thankful for what I have, because someone else in the world who is less fortunate than me is willing to move away form their families in order to get what we believe is normally attainable. Through all this, the girls seem generally happy, so now when I’m unhappy, I’ll realize that I really should be more grateful for what I have.
We had time to reflect on our last 4 days in the homestay and we wrote thank you cards for our families. We all agree that we had an amazing time. The families really treated us as a part of the family. We wrote our gratefulness and and appreciation for their love, shelter, and for welcoming us with open arms. We read these cards out loud to our families at the despedida (farewell celebration). Everyone was able to spend one last night with their homestay families over a nice pizza dinner. We are sad the time with our families has come to an end, but we are excited for the adventurous days ahead.
*note that the group also visited the Arco Iris School Of Special Needs. Some of the photos reflect that visit.
April 18, 2017
Rarely am I willing to wake up at 4:00am for anything but a friend. I had circulated this idea for a few hours now, and thinking it would come to fruition. We figured only a few of the more ‘earthy’ ‘crunchy’ kids would be game. By dinner time, the night before, the plan had been formulated. Everyone knew our plan and the place was buzzing with ‘are you going?’ and ‘I think so’. The excitement built as time progressed, an electric aura hung over the place. Cerca 4:00am I got up, albeit reluctantly, went through the motions of getting ready. I made my way to the plaza de armas. I expected 6 of the group, but there they were, all 16 and two of our leaders. We were all present, all full of energy, all ready for La Cruz! We trudged up the mountain as we increasingly felt the effects of high altitude. After a half an hour covering serious terrain, we reached the peak. 10,000 ft up! It was 5:30am. A meditative silence came over the group as we watched the city fill with light and warmth. I realized how important this pilgrimage really was. The dip of the valley and the city of Urubamba cradled within it in contrast to the adjacent mountains, weaved together with misty clouds, was surreal. This was a rare experience, phenomenon even. It was a time where spirituality and majesty of this place presented itself, and could be respected and felt by all.
April 19, 2017
On Wednesday the 19th our group headed to Machu Picchu. Our guide James told us of the of the successes and mysteries about Machu Pichhu. While enjoying the amazing views, James explained to us that Machu Picchu had been a secret location where the elites of society sent their children for the best education possible. After the tour, we each had the option whether or not we wanted to hike up to the sun gate. Though we were all exhausted from a very busy few days, everyone agreed. Once we reached the top, I was very proud. Nobody got left left behind, stories were shared, and everyone lended a helping hand or a boost if a friend needed it. With the rings we made in Urubamba, the group had a ceremony to distribute the rings to each other . Each person got a random ring and had to say something nice about its owner while presenting it back to them. While most of us hadn’t known each other prior to the trip, I was surprised by how far we had come. All of the small speeches were heart felt and perfectly described the receiver. I think this is a great way to come out of our shells, show appreciation for the people around us, and get closer to the group. The hike to the sun gate and rig ceremony was one of the best parts of my time in Peru.
April 21, 2017
For the past few days of the trip, we have stayed at the Ninos hotel. This hotel is no ordinary hotel, but rather a hotel t hat serves a more extensive purpose. A portion of the profits earned form the guests staying at the hotel goes towards supporting the impoverished children of Cusco. They provide a space for necessities and activities that they are not fortunate to receive at home. On Thursday afternoon we walked from our hotel five minutes up the street to the Ninos restaurant that See the children. As we entered the restaurant, we saw a plethora of happy children playing soccer and having a great time. It was enlightening to see an opportunity given to those who have so little. It surprised me how much work was put into the project. Yet all of those working for the children expected nothing in return. As we walked around on a tour, we learned that the establishment provides the children with food, showers, toothbrushes and in special cases, housing. Not only does the ninos restaurant provide necessary items, but it also includes a cinema for the children to enjoy, movies, and a space to play volleyball, basketball, and soccer. This like many of our other activities opened our eyes to just how lucky we are. We take for granted having as roof over our heads, food on the table, and bathrooms to use. Realizing just hoe inaccessible some of these things csan be is truly a reality check.