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New Milford High School Peru 2018

April 13, 2018

We arrived in Lima at 6:30 Peru time only to find out that our flight to Cusco was cancelled. This allowed us some bonding time and an opportunity to review our Spanish skills. We eventually were assigned a new plane. Despite all the encountered delays, the first view of Cusco made it all worth it! We took a bus to La Plaza de Armas where we met our welcoming group leaders, received delicious sandwiches and freshly made juice! We jumped back on the bus and began our bus ride to Urubamba. We had no idea what was in store for us! To say that the views are indescribable is an understatement! With every turn the lush landscape had something new to offer. We were constantly in awe staring out the windows and trying to capture its grandeur in photos.  Before we drove down the mountain into the valley where Urubamba lies, we stopped to look take photos of what was almost an ariel view of the town. The drive into Urubamba allowed us to view where we would be staying for the next five days and brought us to our destination of the hostel, Samana Wasi, which was close to paradise. It had cows and cats which we all adored and let us not forget la comida! It was delicious! All the travel definitely made us tired and it was not too late before we all said buenas noches!

April 14, 2018

We started the day off with a breakfast filled with fresh orange juice and eggs, followed by an orientation. We were introduced to the Global Works expectations and reviewed the trips itinerary. Afterwards, we were assigned our host families, which included a little role play of possible scenarios we may encounter.   Then it was on the bus again heading for Pisac Market. The market offered us a purchases of alpaca products, souvenirs, empanadas, and an opportunity to use our Spanish for bartering.  We continued on to an Alpaca farm. We all had a blast feeling the adorable Alpacas and of coarse trying to snap pictures with them. The drive back to Urubamba offered us once again views beyond belief! They were so picturesque it felt as if we had to be viewing a green screen. The mountains and villages are beyond belief!  Back in Urubamba we met our host families at the school we will be helping out at. Their greetings were so welcoming as they took as in as their own family immediately. We each went to our host families houses for a Peruvian dinner filled with Spanish conversations to get to know one another.
It was another perfect day in Peru!

– Elena, Emma, and Sophia

April 15, 2018

I’m still speechless. I mean, when I’m speaking it’s in Spanish, but the cultures, the people, and the landscapes are nothing short of a dream.

This country is just so pure. Those with few materials possessions act as if they have everything.

We were granted the opportunity to head miles into the farmlands of Kajllarakay, an indigenous Quechua village full of love and life. Families there presented us with handmade necklaces of string and flowers. I found out later that these pieces took more than 30 minutes to make. Over the course of the day we worked with tilling the land, collecting corn kernels, and weeding in the gardens. Yes the manual labor was rough, but it’s clear that these people deserve the celebrations they indulge in when the crop season has finished.  After the work, we walked 15 minutes up a dirt path to the outlook of the entire town. From there we sat to celebrate a sacrifice in which the town leader threw a sacred corn beer to thank the mountains and the earth for the protection they have been granted. The views from this site were unlike nothing I had ever seen before. Miles and miles of snow tipped mountains, farmlands, and roaming sheep. We spent over an hour at this location, and were presented with a picnic of corn, potatoes, and beans for lunch.  No one wanted to leave, but it was time to dance. As we strolled down the dirt path, listening to the music, and admiring the view, we joined the families in a playful group dance, and gave thanks in Quechua for their time. Here the people don’t have a word for goodbye, only a term for “see you later” because there is no goodbye. They welcomed us to come back again, and said that their doors will always be open. Family, friends, y amigos, we were one of them.

– Liam

April 16, 2018

Today was our fourth day in Peru, and we have enjoyed our time so far. This morning our host brothers and sisters walked us to El Sagrado Corazon de Jesus, the school that they attend. Once we arrived there, we received a warm welcome from all of the students. We even went to a few of their classrooms and sang “Hey Soul Sister” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to them after they had sang various songs to us. It was very entertaining. After all of the greetings were complete, we put our work gloves on and started sanding the handrails to repaint them, while others worked on the library and the bathrooms. During recess we played several games with the children who were very excited to see us and we had empanadas and Inca Kola (beware, it turns your tongue yellow, but it is very tasty).

Once it was time for lunch, we navigated our way back to our homestay and enjoyed a nice meal with our family. Then we returned to the school and walked to an Incan Ruin that was once a palace of one of the rulers. Some students decided to “wash their hair” in one of the fountains. We then walked to the Plaza de Armas and everyone enjoyed ice cream as we sat in the center of Urubamba. Following this we made silver rings with a local jeweler and played UNO on his shop floor. It got very intense.  And then… it was the moment everyone has been anticipating, fearing, and for the brave, looking forward to. A mysterious scent wafted through the door as we all glanced nervously at each other. Through the door entered a traditional Peruvian dish known as, Cuy. Before we knew it, forkfuls were being passed around and it was time to test our stomachs. The bravest of them all took the heads and legs, while more fearful ones took little pieces. We were all pleasantly surprised that it tastes like chicken.  We then concluded our night walking home to our host families and had a nice dinner. We are now eagerly awaiting Machu Picchu and can’t wait to share the memories with our families back home.

¡Hola from Mac, Shea, Leah, and Maggie!