Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008. Tierra de Ninos, ofrenda

Greetings from Peru:

I guess today was the first ¨real¨ day of the trip. We ate breakfast at 8 again, and afterwards, we discussed the plan for the day. Following our discussion, we gathered tools
and walked to the school where we will be working on our project, known in Spanish as ¨La Tierra del Ninos,¨ or the ¨Children´s Land.¨ When we got there we were all thinking the same thing: what did we get ourselves into? The land was a disaster. However, after just a few hours work you could already see a transformation. We spent the morning cutting trees,
hauling dirt, and throwing rocks. This is the ¨pre-work¨ that needs to be done before we can begin to put together the children´s play area. The land needs to be level and clear. After the hard work of the morning hours we had some fun. Local students, from ages 2-15 or so, came to assist us and had a call taking pictures with the cameras that were donated for our project. They prepared potatoes for us in a tradition outdoor Peruvian oven, made of rocks and covered with dirt. We ate potatoes and drank fruit juice while enjoying a break in the shade. After our work we went to eat at a restaurant in town,
followed by the opportunity to watch a local soccer game. We took showers before dinner as we were really dirty from working, and for dinner we had a simple soup and ham and cheese sandwiches. We also had the opportunity to experience a spiritual offering from a traditional high-altitude tribe shaman. It was one of the most interesting experiences of my life. Afterwards we enjoyed the music of Cesar, one of the hotel employees. Everyone is pretty tired; however, I think they are all excited for the white-water rafting tomorrow. So far everyone is doing well; it´s hard to believe it has already been four full days!

We have dial-up Internet connection. The kids are writing their entries in this blog because the other one is not responding. I cannot enter my e-mail from school either.

Everyone is doing fine. We had our first day of Tierra de Ninos work. It was hard labor, but very rewarding to meet the children and some of their parents. We have many pictures. We are uploading them to our laptop.

The children loved taking pictures, filming,working, and playing with the Casady teens. Their school is poor and the land provided is in poor condition. Our kids were amazing workers. It will be rewarding to see the before and after pictures.

Our day started at 8:30 and we worked until 3:00. The children baked potatoes for us in an oven made of rocks as a snack. After work, we went to eat to another good restaurant. After lunch, we went to a soccer game between the Vilcabamba and Ollantaytambo municipalities.

We ended the day with an offering to the earth for good luck with the children´s project. The ceremony was interesting and different. I did not know anything about this side of my Peruvian culture. It is nice to learn so much about my heritage in the company of students.

The kids are now singing with Cesar´s guitar. Tomorrow we will do white water rafting.

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