Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Casady Prepares to Go: Final update for this blog-parents already have this
Prepare to Go Packet
You will get more out of the Andes Education program if you can do some of reading ahead of time. These three books are highly recommended:
• Three Cups of Tea. (Greg Mortenson). This moving story of an American climber’s efforts to build schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan will allow us to draw connections between what is happening in Peru to what is happening in other parts of the world. Please read the whole book.
• High Noon: 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them (J.F. Rischard). This book lays out the huge global problems and opportunities that face the current generation of young people. The book is divided into three main sections – please read at least the first section.
• Moon Peru, 2nd edition (Ross Wehner, Renee del Gaudio and Kazia Jankowski). Basic overview of culture, history and arts of Peru with descriptions of all the places we will see in Peru. This book is a general travel guide good for background info and browsing.
Here are some other books if you have time or want to bring a book on the trip. A longer list is found on page 606 of Moon Peru.
• White Rock: An Exploration of the Inca Heartland (Hugh Thomson). British documentary filmmaker Hugh Thomson blends personal exploration in the Andes together with a Spanish chronicles and Inca history.
• Conquest of the Incas (John Hemming). The definitive, and well-written, history of the Spanish conquest of Peru.
• Deep Rivers (Los Rios Profundos, José María Arguedas). This novels the story of Ernesto, a schoolboy in the Andean city of Abancay. The conflict of the Indian and the Spanish cultures is acted out within Ernesto as it was in the life of Arguedas, one of Peru’s most important writers.
• Death in the Andes (Lituma en los Andes, Mario Vargas Llosa). This novel portrays a remote Andean mining town where police probe the mysterious disappearance of three men.
Keirsey Temperament Sorter
Before the trip, we ask all students to complete the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. This is an online self-assessment tool that we use to build self awareness. The survey consists of about 60 questions that can be completed in about 10 minutes. Here’s how to take the survey:
• Go to http://kts2.personalityzone.com/user/register.aspx and fill out the required information
• Answer the questions (don’t overanalyze yourself!)
• When finished, view the free mini report
• Print the 1-page report and bring on the trip with you
Flight Information and Baggage Policy
You are flying Delta Airlines from Oklahoma City to Lima and Lan Peru from Lima to Cusco. Your flight details can be found in the attached updated itinerary. Tickets are being handled by Carmen Clay.
Here is the baggage policy for both Delta and Lan:
• For carry on baggage, you are allowed one piece of luggage (max. weight 40 pounds, can not be more than 45 inches in height + length + width and one personal item (small book bag, purse, etc.)
• For checked baggage, you are allowed two pieces of luggage. Each checked piece of luggage should weigh no more than 50 pounds and not exceed 62 inches in height + length + width.
Passport and Visa
All students need a valid U.S. passport to enter Peru. Visas are not required. If you have a passport from a country other than the U.S., please confirm that there are no additional visa or inoculations requirements. For more information and links, see http://www.peruvianembassy.us/visas-visas.php
Please keep in mind that you are traveling as a tourist. When you fill out forms or pass through passport control, please indicate that you are a tourist only.
The most up-to-date information on inoculations can be found at www.cdc.gov. Before taking any shots, please consult with your doctor. For the areas in Peru that we are visiting, we recommend shots for Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Yellow Fever is no longer required for the Cusco area. Please ensure that standard U.S. vaccinations are up to date, particularly Tetanus.
On the day before Machu Picchu, we have decided not to hike on the Inca Trail and instead hike up the less touristy and equally beautiful Mandor Valley to visit a waterfall, study orchids and bird life, and visit a coffee plantation. We will have a naturalist with us that day to engage the students in a discussion of sustainability in the local mono-plantations of pineapple, banana and coffee. The following day we will visit Machu Picchu and climb up Huayna Picchu, the mountain that offers superb views over Machu Picchu. If time permits, we will also hike the portion of the Inca Trail that leads to the Sun Gate.
The hotels we are staying in include El Albergue and Las Orquideas in Ollantaytambo, and Hostal San Isidro in Cusco (see description below under lodging).
Service Project -- Ollantaytambo
During our time in Ollantaytambo we will focus on an education infrastructure project, which is designed to empower local young people and challenge to think about sustainability. Specifically we will help launch a “children’s park” or “Tierra de Niños” in Ollantaytambo. The idea behind a children’s park comes from the Peruvian non-profit Ania (http://www.mundodeania.org/), which has helped start dozens of such parks across Peru and which is now present in other parts of the world. The idea is simple: children are formally given a plot of land (in this case donated by the school) to care for and manage as their own. In the process, young people lean to love nature and acquire the knowledge and tools they need to be effective stewards of the environment. The contribution for the Casady group is $700, which will be collected by Mrs. Clay before the trip and delivered to Joaquin Randall to purchase the necessary materials.
Working with local teenagers and children, students will help create a park with the following proposed elements: organic vegetable garden, seed ball reforestation (http://permaculturetokyo.blogspot.com/2006/10/seed-balls.html), a play area, and a basic outdoor structure that would serve as a meeting place. Nearby we hope to also work on establishing a compost and waste recycling system for the local school, which will be managed by the Peruvian students. Materials for these projects would be purchased via donations raised by students. The goal of the project is simple: help children become stewards not only of their land, but of their community.
In addition to the main project, each student can choose to work on an independent project according to his or her particular interests. We will arrange these placements based on information from the application form:
• Teach English to children and possibly adults
• Arts and crafts program with children
• Shadow a doctor or a nurse in a public health clinic
• Teach computer skills to children and possibly adults
The following students have submitted proposals so far:
• Jake Patton and Carmen Clay will be bringing reading books donated by the Metropolitan Library Systems. They will also start a project called In our Village. The goal of this project is to help the children of Ollantaytambo create a book about their city and share it with the world. World Leadership School is suggesting to check www.blurb.com for publishing books when it is ready for printing.
• Louisa Liedtke and Rosalie Atkinson will be working on arts and crafts.
• The rest of the group has expressed interest in working with sports, but formal proposals have not been approved yet. It would be great to get some English teachers!
World Leadership School usually pairs students with host families, but the pilot program for Casady School includes stay at local hostels where students can expect clean rooms and bathrooms, hot water to shower, purified water to drink, and local food cooked with high standards of hygiene. Hostels are not luxury hotels, but provide a comfortable and safe place to stay and relax after a hard day of work or travel.
Students will be staying at Joaquin Randall’s El Albergue for the first part of the stay and then move to a Spanish-speaking only hostel, Las Orquideas, which is walking distance from El Albergue in Ollantaytambo. Please find information about El Albergue at
Photos and other information about Las Orquideas are at
In Aguas Calientes, students will stay at El Presidente Hostel, for which photos can be seen here: http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotos-g304036-d309672-Hostal_Presidente-Aguas_Calientes_Sacred_Valley.html
And in Cuzco, we will stay at Hostal San Isidro, which is an upgrade from the El Balcon Hostel quoted in the original schedule. This hostel does was described in the following terms by the New York Times: “This is a pleasant, safe, and comfortable midrange choice, with just 14 rooms set back from busy Calle Saphy in colonial digs set around a long courtyard. Rooms are rather small but clean; several second-floor rooms have high ceilings, wood beams, and skylights.”
Students will sleep in room in separate beds. Bathrooms are inside the rooms or shared in an outside area. Mattresses tend to be made of foam or of harder materials, and students generally get used to sleeping on the beds within a few nights. We suggest bringing a sleeping bag for additional comfort.
You will be living in a traditional Andean community. Learning local manners will improve your relationship with your host family and friends. While you are living in the community you should:
• Say hello to people on the street whether you have met them or not. “Buenos dias” or “buenas tardes” are the proper greetings for adults, while a simple “hola” will suffice amongst younger people.
• When greeting residents of the community, you will shake hands most of the time. The exception to this is that female students from U.S. and Peru generally kiss each other on the cheek upon greeting. Female students generally shake hands with other male students, however.
• Do not wear tight or revealing clothing as this is considered disrespectful (see packing list for more detail)
While in Ollantaytambo, students will eat three meals per day provided by local restaurants and hostels selected by World Leadership School. Typical breakfasts include tea or coffee, fruit, bread, eggs, oatmeal; lunch and dinner involve plenty of hearty vegetable soups in chicken or meat broth, rice along with chicken, meat, beans and vegetables. There are many fruits from the jungle, including ones like granadilla that are not readily available in the U.S. Please note any dietary recommendations in the application form so that we can pass onto our host family.
When we are trekking or hiking, meals will be cooked and served on the trail. We will eat in restaurants while in the areas of Machu Picchu, Cusco and Lima.
We will do everything we can to ensure that the food you eat in Peru will be healthy and nutritious.
Gifts, Donations and Ideas for Sharing Who You Are
Students frequently ask about what gifts they can bring for tour guides, bus drivers, and friends they make. Think simple things that are not expensive. Make sure to bring photos of your family and friends to share. Bring something special from your hometown such as food, baseball hat, T-shirt, map, etc. For the children of the school, bring some small gifts for the kids. Magic markers, pencils, small water color sets, or small toys or dolls make for great gifts. You might also consider sharing your favorite candy, gum, or snacks.
Community donations are greatly appreciated. Clothing for children, especially babies and infants, are in great demand. Children’s books in both English and Spanish are also useful and can often be acquired in bulk at your local Salvation Army or thrift store. Basic medical supplies such as tongue depressors, latex gloves, hand sanitizer or bandages are appreciated. Volleyball and soccer are the two main sports in Ollantaytambo so any balls or nets are greatly appreciated. Basketballs, Frisbees, Nerf balls and baseball equipment can be fun to bring along to use during your stay and give away at the end of the trip.
Mrs. Clay has already started a donation drive and Jake Patton has received a donation of 70 books from the Metropolitan Library Systems. Casady Service-Learning Program will be donated some arts supplies as well.
Personal Electronics and Photography
Students are asked not to bring any personal electronics on this trip. Our experience is that iPods, MP3 players and movie/game devices only remove students from the overall trip experience and make them targets for theft. You are welcome to bring your U.S. cell phone if you need to use it in airports in the U.S. but it should remain off while in Peru, where it will most likely not work. Each instructor will be carrying a cell phone that can be used to call the United States in an emergency (see “Emergency Communications”, below).
Each student can bring a camera. Upon arrival, we will discuss, and decide as a group, how we want to handle photography. If everyone in the group is taking pictures all day, this can serve to distance us from those with whom we are working.
Past groups have elected to have a single group camera and a different person is chosen each day to take pictures for the group. Afterwards an album can be created and shared by the whole group. Casady is scheduled to receive a camera from a Climate Change grant which will be left in care of the CATCCO Museum to continue the book project and to take pictures of climate change in the region from time to time.
Your group can choose to have a group video recorder, which will be shared among group members. This video will help explain the trip to our school community back home. Your group can also choose to have a group laptop, which will allow you to blog and also work on any digital media projects. This equipment is not provided by World Leadership School and will be coordinated by students and/or the faculty person.
The voltage in Peru is 220 volts (not 120 volts as in the U.S.). Check and make sure that the AC adapter for your camera or laptop can accept 220 volts (most adapters now have ranges from 100 – 240 V). The plugs in Peru are mostly the same as the U.S. and, if not, adapters can be purchased easily in country.
Personal Spending Money and Shopping
Your program fee covers all your expenses once in Peru except for airport departure tax (estimated $36) which Mrs. Clay will pay from money left over after purchasing airline tickets, and personal spending money (souvenirs, snacks, toiletries, medications, internet, phone calls, shopping, etc.). For more detail on what the program fee covers, see the Application’s Terms and Conditions.
Therefore, students should plan on bringing at least $100 in personal cash to cover basic needs and more if they plan on shopping. Bring only crisp, new bills. Any aged or slightly ripped bills will be rejected by the money changers or exchange for a deep discount.
An ATM card, which can be used to draw money in Cusco near the end of the trip, can be brought as a back-up. There is an ATM machine in Ollantaytambo but it is not reliable. Travelers checks are difficult to cash at local banks. Credit cards are not necessary.
There will plenty of opportunity to buy gifts for friends and family when the group visits Pisac, Cusco and Lima. While in Ollantaytambo, we ask that students forego shopping until the end of their trip.
We will do our best to blog on a daily basis. Mrs. Clay will blog at http://cyclonexploringpossibilities.blogspot.com/. A blog will be set up by World Leadership School for students to blog prior to the trip and the link will be emailed to parents and students before the trip. Students and faculty will take turns updating the blog so that friends and family can receive regular updates. Mrs. Clay has provided the following blogging schedule in the best of circumstances, with a minimum of two entries per week, if time, weather, and work exhaustion do not permit more blogging.
• Jake: Mondays
• Kendall: Tuesdays
• Rosie: Wednesdays
• Louisa: Thursdays
• Nina: Saturdays
• Grayson: Sundays
Email, public phone and postal services are available in Ollantaytambo for students to communicate with friends and family. We ask that students be reasonable about e-mail use as we are going to Peru, in part, to take a break from modern technology! Families should expect email contact from students about once per week – the blog is designed to provide more regular updates.
Parents and friends should limit themselves to email when communicating with students. Any mail sent to Ollantaytambo will arrive after the students leave. Though certain host families do have telephones, we prefer that these are used for emergencies only.
In an emergency, parents can call World Leadership School in Peru on the following numbers. If you are calling from the U.S., add 011 before dialing these numbers.
Cell phone: 1-5184-984-820187 (to be carried by Joaquin Randall)
Land line: 1-5184-204-014
For routine messages, or if the cell phone does not work in emergencies, parents can also call World Leadership School in Denver anytime on the following numbers: (303) 679-3412 or 1-888-831-8109. The staff will relay messages onto instructors in the field.
Routine messages can also be sent to World Leadership School at email@example.com. This mailbox will be checked on a daily basis and messages can be forwarded to instructors in the field.
In the case of an emergency, we will contact the emergency contact listed on the student’s application form. We will also have a parent email list through which we can send news if necessary.
All students are required to have U.S.-based health coverage. Most healthcare providers will cover for injuries that happen overseas but we ask you to confirm this beforehand.
In addition, World Leadership School will provide emergency health and travel insurance to each student. This insurance is designed to pay for any necessary evacuation and also produce immediate payment for in-country medical expenses.
Information about this policy will be sent to parents and students before the start of the trip.
Health and Safety
When we first arrive in the Cusco (around 11,000 feet) we will drop down immediately to Ollantaytambo (around 9,000) feet to avoid altitude sickness. We will also drink plenty of fluids, rest, and avoid heavy exercise upon arrival. Consult with your physician regarding altitude sickness medicine. The local remedy is coca tea which students will be served upon arrival to Ollantaytambo.
The main health challenge we will face will likely be gastro-intestinal problems. These can be caused by bacteria, virus, or even parasites but most often they are simply caused by U.S. stomachs that are not used to Peruvian food.
We recommend that students take a daily “probiotic” two weeks before arrival in Peru and to continue until the trip is over. Probiotics, such as Jarro-Dophilus or Lactobacillus or Papaya Enzyme, are dietary supplements that contain potentially beneficial bacteria and yeast and help condition stomachs for a new environment. It’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before taking any medicine or supplement.
Upon arrival in Peru, we will discuss ways to stay healthy as a group. The keys are:
• Drink only purified or boiled water (iodine and water filters are good, but not sufficient)
• Watch what you eat
• Wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitizer such as Purell
• Notify an instructor or faculty person as soon as you begin feeling sick so that we can begin taking corrective steps immediately.
Because of the altitude in Ollantaytambo, insects such as mosquitoes are not a major concern except for at dawn and dusk. During these times of the day, we ask that students use bug repellent and cover their skin as much as possible.
Each World Leadership School instructor has first aid training and will carry a comprehensive first aid kit. For convenience, students are also asked to bring a few basic first aid supplies (see packing list below).
The following information on health and safety is taken from Moon Peru and is worth reading carefully. For more detailed info, see 583 – 590.
Traveler's diarrhea pulls down even the stoutest of Peru travelers eventually and can be surprisingly unpleasant. It can be caused by parasites or viruses, but most often it is caused by bacteria carried in food or water. Plenty of other diseases in Peru are spread this way, including cholera, hepatitis A, and typhoid. Nothing is more important for you health-wise than thinking carefully about everything you eat and drink.
Only drink bottled water or water that has been previously boiled. Instead of buying an endless succession of plastic bottles, which will end up in a landfill, travel with a few Nalgene bottles and ask your hotel or host family to fill them with boiling water every morning. Refilling bottles is especially easy at hotels that have water tanks, or bidones, of purified water. When you order a drink, order it without ice unless you are certain that the water used to make the ice was previously boiled. Wipe the edges of cans and bottles before drinking or carry straws.
Avoid street vendors and buffets served under the hot sun. Instead, choose restaurants that come well-recommended for taking precautions for foreigners. If the kitchen looks clean and the restaurant is full, it is probably all right. Before and after you eat, and several times throughout the day, wash your hands with soap and water. Because soap is hard to find in all but the best Peruvian restaurants, a good substitute is Purell, the antibacterial gel.
The safest foods in restaurants are those that are served piping hot. Soups, well-cooked vegetables, rice, and pastas are usually fine. Eat salads and raw vegetables with extreme caution and confirm beforehand that they have been previously soaked in a chlorine solution. Better yet, prepare your own salads with food disinfectants for sale in most Peruvian supermarkets.
An exception to the no-raw-foods rule is cebiche, which is raw fish marinated in bacteria-killing lime juice. As long as you are in a reputable restaurant, fish cebiche is a safe bet. Avoid all types of shellfish, however--bad shellfish, even if it is cooked or marinated in lime juice, will still make you sick.
Be careful with dairy products. Before dumping cream into your coffee, make sure that it has been pasteurized. Only eat ice cream from top manufacturers like D'Onofrio, but avoid it if partially melted.
Market foods that are safe include all fruits and vegetables that can be peeled, like bananas, oranges, avocadoes, and apples. Many local fruits are OK as well, including chirimoya, tuna (the prickly pear fruit), and granadilla (a round, stemmed fruit with a hard skin and gooey insides). Dangerous items include everything that hangs close to the ground and could have become infected with feces in irrigation water. These include strawberries, mushrooms, lettuce, and tomatoes. There are plenty of safe things to buy in the market and, when combined with other safe items like bread and packaged cheese, make for a great lunch.
Do not take drugs while in Peru. Though smoking marijuana is rarely punished these days in parts of the United States, Canada, and Europe, Peru's laws are as strict as ever and tourists have ended up in jail. The penalties are even stricter for cocaine, which is common in Peru though it is often cut with all kinds of dangerous chemicals. Under Peruvian law, foreigners in possession of drugs are regarded as international traffickers and can face jail time from 15 years to life. There is no bail for drug trafficking cases, and the legal process can drag on for up to two years. Your embassy will most likely decline to get involved.
Peru is generally a safe country, so travelers should not feel paranoid--we traveled for eight months with electronic cameras and laptops and had no worries at all. But you have to follow common-sense rules and realize that thieves target gringos because they have cash, passports, and valuable electronics on them.
Most important, be alert and organized and watch your valuables at all times. Your money and passport should be carried under your clothes in a pouch or locked in a safety box at your hotel. We carried small bills in the front pocket of our pants. Keep a constant eye on your luggage in bus stations. When in markets, place your backpack in front of you so that it cannot be slit open. When in restaurants or buses, keep your purse or bag on your lap.
Make yourself less of a target. Do not wear jewelry or fancy watches, and keep your camera in a beat-up hip bag that is unlikely to draw attention. Be alert when in crowded places like markets or bus stations where pickpockets abound. Go only to nightspots that have been recommended. Walk with a sense of purpose, like you belong exactly where you are. When withdrawing money from an ATM, be with a friend or have a taxi waiting.
Experienced travelers can sense a scam or theft right before it happens and, nine times out of ten, it involves momentary distraction or misplaced trust. If someone spits on you, latch onto your camera instead of cleaning yourself. If someone falls in the street in front of you or drops something, move away quickly. If an old man asks for your help in reading a lottery ticket, say no. If a stranger motions you over or offers a piece of candy, keep going. Be distrusting of people you do not know.
We will be working outside most days and also engaging in physical activities such as trekking at high altitudes. We recommend that students prepare by doing any kind of regular cardiovascular exercise (running, biking, swimming, etc.) before the trip. Life in the Andes requires strong lungs and legs.
There is a 24-hour clinic in Ollantaytambo where most student injuries and illness can be taken care of. There is also a local doctor who can make house calls if needed. There is a full-service hospital in Cusco, about a 1.5-hour drive from Ollantaytambo and ambulances are available for emergency transport.
June through August is the dry, winter season for the highland and jungle areas of Peru. Rains tend to be brief and happen mainly in the afternoon. In Ollantaytambo (around 9,000 feet elevation) temperatures during this time of the year are in the 60s and 70s during the day and down to freezing at night. Temperatures are slightly colder in Cusco (around 11,000 feet) and slightly warmer at Machu Picchu/Aguas Calientes (around 7,000 feet).
Finally, here are some of our favorite movies about Peru. Many of these help to shed light on Peru’s political and cultural evolution.
1. Madeinusa (2006, director Claudio Llosa): this is a magical realist portrait of a small Andean village and traditional festival. It was made recently and to wide film festival acclaim. The Casady group will be seeing this movie during the June meeting at Mrs. Clay’s home.
2. Paloma de Papel (2003, director Fabrizio Aguilar): tells the story of a boy soldier in the Central Andes during the shining path era.
3. Ojos que no Ven (2003, director Francisco Lombardi): Through out six different and yet parallel stories that take place during the corrupted government during the 90s in Peru, Lombardi tells the moral decomposition that ran through all classes and generations of the Peruvian society.
4. The Dancer Upstairs (2002, director John Malkovich): A movie in English that contains a fairly good portrait of Lima in the 1990s Sendero Luminoso era.
5. Yawar Fiesta: Fiesta de Sangre (1979, directed by Luis Figueroa): based on the novel by acclaimed Peruvian storyteller José María Arguedas, this movie tells the story of a small Andean town conflict during festival time.
Pack as few things as possible. It’s much easier to travel and stay organized if you pack lightly. Here are some general notes:
• Each student will do his or her own laundry by hand. You may want to bring medium to dark clothing; white is harder to keep white when hand washing.
• Standards of dress are different. Clothing should not be tight or revealing (e.g., nothing that shows your stomach or underwear). Think modesty, comfort and layers. Few local people wear shorts so we recommend that volunteers do likewise.
• All bedding and towels are provided.
• 3 pair shoes (athletic shoes, light hiking boots that offer ankle protection, and flip-flops or sandals)
• 2 pair jeans and one other pair of pants
• 1 pair shorts
• 1 swim suit
• Optional for females: 1 skirt, knee to mid-calf length
• 4 short sleeved and 2 long sleeved T-shirts (at least 1 long-sleeve shirt should be of “wicking” fabric for hiking)
• 1 sweater
• 1 fleece or other warm jacket
• 1 light-weight rain jacket
• 6 pair socks, plus at least 2 pair of good hiking socks
• 6 pair underwear, 3 bras for females
• Hat for sun protection and one warm hat (can also buy in Peru).
• 1 hand towel
• Medium-sized day pack for day trips and airplane carry-on
• Light-weight sleeping bag. Three-season down or synthetic bags work well.
• 2 1-liter Nalgene-type water bottles
• Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip balm
• Headlamp and extra batteries
• Toiletries (shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, dental floss, comb, lotion, razor, several small bottles of Purell hand sanitizer, hand wipes, roll of spare toilet paper)
• Personal med kit (any prescription meds plus Tums, Pepto Bismol, ibuprofen, insect repellent with Deet, Neosporin, a few bandages, tweezers, moleskin and 1-2 packets of oral re-hydration salts). The instructor will carry a comprehensive group medicine kit.
• Notebook that can be used for journaling, taking notes, drawing, vocabulary, etc.
• Pens and pencils
• Ear plugs for sleeping despite noise
• Passport and extra copy of passport stored in separate place.
• ATM card
• At least $100 in cash (clean, crisp bills of $20 preferred).
• Money belt or cash
• Spanish-English dictionary
• Donations and small gifts
• Pictures of family and friends to share with host family