Saturday, June 14, 2008


We are very sorry about our friend David Childs. What could have been a great date to report because we completed our project is now a very difficult time for our team.

Friday, June 13, 2008

June 12-13

I did not have time to blog yesterday because we moved to our new hostel and we worked from 9-5 p.m. We were exhausted and sorry to move from El Albergue, but Las Orquideas is ok. We continued our work inside and outside the classroom,

Today we also worked all day and we finished preparing the area to pour sand and then the playground should come. We also cleaned up part of the school. Rosie, Mac, and Kendall were not feeling 100%. Today was somewhat of a difficult day. At the end of the day, we started our pottery introduction, ancient ways to make bowls.

Joaquin´s daughter had a b-day. It was interesting to see a two year-old birthday party in Ollantaytambo.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

June 11, 2008

Today we went to the Salt Mines and saw the Concentric Cirles.
While we admired the Inca architecture, we worked on the personality tests and bonded as a group with Joaquin.
We also visited the Salt Mines. The scenery was incredible and the Urubamba river and valley beautiful. Our driver was the same man as last year incident with the flat tire. He now has a huge bus. I am so glad to see such progress in his life.

When we returned from our excursion, we cooked lomo saltado and cookies under the guidance of the Albergue chef, Juan. After that we did the egg drop challenge and continued trying to figure our leadership styles and how to use that knowledge to accomplish our goals, enhance our performance on our group project, and continue our transformation from a group to a team with a common vision.

I had the opportunity to talk to Aima about presenting her project in the USA, finding funding for the project with collaborations with What kids can do and the Shinnyoen foundation, NYLC and Clemson university. Aima told me that she wants training in education, which I will try to help after I return.

As we prepared to leave el albergue, the kids feel sad because this place has become a home away from home and the staff is very nice. We need to give a chance to Las Orquideas. We will see.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

June 10, 2008

Everyone is fine and the group is becoming a team.

Work day 2: Kids were divided between Tierra de Ninos work and English teachers. The classes at school Manco Inca were large, the teachers were welcoming, and the children loved the Casady kids.

After work, we had our ceramics workshop. It was interesting.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday, June 9, 2008

10:00 a.m. Urubamba river rafting. It was almost perfect because one member of our team did not attend. Louisa was not feeling well and she decided to stay at the hostel under the care of Adela, a kind and caring hostel clerk who is like Joaquin´s aunt. Louisa had stomach ache in the morning, but a good rest allowed her to be with us at dinner and as we speak she is winning every action game the group is playing in the other room.

Back to white water rafting: The Urubamba river was beautiful and kind to our two boats. Everyone enjoyed themselves. Our instructors were professional and their equipment allowed us to take the rapids in comfort. I should not have feared the rafting so much. The view was breathtaking and after several level three rapids, our group felt accomplished. Sorry this dial-up connection is so slow for pictures. We had a good lunch and returned to the hostel to rest for a while. The kids were so tired that they decided to not play soccer today.

After an evaluative time with Grayson, we had our readings discussion. It was difficult for the kids because they and I had not read the books. Joaquin understood the circunstances and the worst part is now over. I hope the discussion will motivate the kids to read, but if not, at least they are aware of the intention of the project with the reading.

We had dinner at 7:30 and the kids and the Peruvian facilitators have been playing games for almost two hours.

Well, all is well in Ollantaytambo so far. We will see what tomorrow brings.

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.