Friday, June 20, 2008

Adios Cusco- Hello Lima

Friday: Every one was tired, but in good health. We had a tour of the cathedral and the Inka Museum. After lunch the kids rested while Joaquin and I took care of travel confirmations. Our plane from Cusco to Lima was changed to an earlier flight. There was a problem with the date of the flight and changing it took a long time. Thank you to Joaquin and his contacts for making the change possible. We left Cusco at 7:45 Lan Peru flight 24 instead of at noon. Our plane tickets in Delta were confirmed without difficulty.

The earlier flight from Cuzco allowed us a few more hours in Lima. Aima had contacted the headquarters of our project´s foundation, La Tierra de Ninos and we hoped to meet its founder, but it did not happen.

Joaquin provided a beautiful closing exercise at the end of the day. It was heartbreaking to see how much the group has grown together and how much they enjoyed the service project, the highlight of their stay. I am thankful to Mac for not giving up on the trip when people did not easily sign-up. We had a transforming 15 days.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sunday 15-Wednesday 18

Continuation report of end of project: We finished the project and had a tasty Pachamanca to celebrate.
It served about 45 people who included all the volunteers from Ollantaytambo and Casady, the Manco Inca School children and adults, the carpenters, their families and few dogs.

The kids sanded the playground and when it was partially finished, we saw how happy the children were. We have a great sense of satisfaction for all our hard work.

On Wednesday evening, since I am writing this on Thursday morning, Aima, the Tierra de Ninos coordinator gave a financial report of the total cost of the playground as of $1,200. Our $700 were matched by El Albergue and Tierra de Ninos resources to make the playground a reality.

As we left Ollantaytambo on Monday, the playground was as finished as we could leave it.
On our way to Macchu Picchu we received a report that the children and the carpenter had finished it and the children were playing but sad that we were gone. When told that a new group was coming, they said it would not be the same. Last night, Aima thanked the Casady kids for having made the time with the children unforgettable. She said, "You made them feel special when you played and paid attention to them, something they do not all get at home or at school. "

We were so sorry and sad about David that we concentrated in communicating with Casady and Jared in China. Thank you, Joaquin for understanding and changing schedules.

Then we continued the Market Place of ideas. The kids divided in groups decided what will be the next steps to keep the momentum going and bring sustainability to the leadership and work we started together in Ollantaytambo and when we go back home.

After suggesting creation of Tierra de ninos at Casady; following-up the book project, which is only at the preliminary stage with Internet penpals, and having a Speak Week; the kids decided that the easy thing to do as a group was a SpeaK Week. A week to focus on volunteering and fundraising for the next trip to Peru needs at Ollantaytambo and to provide funding for interested students who are unable to afford the cost of the trip independently. Students will work in collaboration with Student Council and officers of other clubs. Students discussed the projects and voted for Speak Week.
The Speak Week was tabled until the beginning of the school year.

On Sunday we took a field trip to the weavers' place.
The kids were very tired. The field trip was somewhat dissapointing because we did not get to see the weavers weaving, just working on a lesson on natural techniques. It was very cold and some of the students and I started to get a cold. I bought some local medicine for the group, which worked well.
Nina saw a practical application of Mrs. Zesiger class and everyone was invited to eat the local potatao with local salt and ginea pig. Some also bought weavings

Since it was father´s day, some kids e'mail parents from El Albergue. We did not have Internet at Las Orquideas. I was sick, so I went to sleep after dinner. Thank you Joaquin for allowing us to have a special good-bye dinner in Ollantaytambo.
It has been a memorable experience and you made it possible. Hope you will want us back next year!!! Nina bought chocolate roses for Joaquin and our day ended in a good note,

Monday June 16:
We took the backpacker train to Aguas Calientes. The Presidente Hotel was nice.

We had a hike to Mandor Valley and Joaquin tried to have a fair trade talk with the students which I did not think went very well. mostly because everyone is very tired and sad about David.
Then we went to the thermal baths and had dinner at a place that was nice, but the kids did not enjoyed the food that much.

Tuesday June 17: The day started with Jake having something in his eye. We took him to the local medical post and headed to Macchu Picchu. Since his eye continued to bother him, Joaquin stayed behind and saw the doctor on duty at Macchu Picchu who cleaned-up his eye and placed a patch for prevention since he had scratched his eye.
Jake and Joaquin joined us in the hike to Hayna Picchu and Moon Temple.

When we returned to Macchu Picchu we were so tired, it took some time to get the kids to be willing to continue with the tour of the historical santuary.

At the end of the day we boarded the train first and then the bus to pick-up our luggage for our transfer to Las Chulpas where we stayed over night. We were exhausted.

Las Chulpas was a nice rustic, secluded retreat. The choice of meal was not the best. The rooms were very very cold. The water was cold in my bathroom so I could not take a shower that evening, which was fixed early next morning. Although the place was interesting, I do not think I will go back just for a night; too much work loading and unloading luggage in a remote area with hard accessibility to rooms. The owners of this hostel were very nice,

Wednesday June 18: Today is my son´s Brian B-day. We stopped in Pisac for the kids to buy crafts and to have lunch. The menu was nicer than the day before, but had quinua soup once more. It is a delicious soup,but a variety of soups would have been welcomed.
After lunch I found out that Mac had misplaced her camera. After looking around, we concluded that maybe it was stolen, but since we were already on our road to Cusco, there was nothing we could do.

At Saqsayhuaman, the kids tired and I with the heaviest cold, were reluctant to keep hiking, but it was interesting and the goal setting session in the beautiful environment was effective.
Here Rosie told me that she had also misplaced her camera, which was the camera we were to leave with the kids of Ollantaytambo. She thought she had to look at one one place to make sure and that she would do that as soon as we arrived to the hostel.

We had a couple of hours to shop in Cuzco after checking in San Isidro Hostel. Then we had dinner and Nina´s enthusiasm for dancing took the group to some discos.

Today is Thursday June, 19. We will tour Cusco and I will ask the kids to brainstorm their presentation because we cannot get together until August again after we go back, Grayson might not be able to be there and Rosie will go to another high school next year. Every one is a little more rested but with mild colds.