Sunday, July 6, 2014

We have put together a video to remember the good times on the trip.  We hope you enjoy it and thank you for following us on the blog:
In the Atlanta airport.  We've cleared customs and are waiting for our afternoon flight home.  Everyone is happy and well.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

We arrived in Cusco yesterday after a buffet lunch in Urabamba.  We shopped and had a nice dinner before going back to our hotel.  Cusco is a touristy town with a McDonalds, KFC, and Starbucks!  We had a candle ceremony where everyone shared their thoughts about their experience on the trip.  We also watched a short slide show of our pictures and videos.  The night ended with a group hug that was so good we rearranged and had a second group hug!

We will shop and explore the city some more this morning before going to the airport about 2:00 pm.  We are sad it is over and ready to come home.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Thursday, July 3, 2014 - Machu Picchu

Buenas Noches Familias!!

Last night was our first night back at the Full Moon Lodge and I think I can speak for everyone when I say we were all VERY happy to be back. The homestays were fun and a great experience, but it is nice finally having a bathroom on your floor again, and not eating guinea pig… This morning (July 3rd)  Audrey and I got the pleasure of waking everyone up at 4:45 to make our train to Machu Picchu! We took an hour and ½ train ride, which we all attempted to sleep on unsuccessfully. It was very exciting seeing one of the 7 Wonders of the World! After the tour we had a lot of free time in Machu Picchu and had some options of how we wanted to spend it. Audrey, Bella, Peter, David and I chose to hike to the top of the Sun Temple. We were very impressed with ourselves because we were told it was suppose to take an hour and we made it in 35 minutes! After hiking back down we found the rest of the group lounging on the side of a very steep cliff. We had a beautiful view of the Inca Ruins and spent the rest of our time at Machu Picchu laying there. As we were leaving we got to pet some llamas and Lila got her selfie with one, which she was very excited about. After returning back to town G-banks and Meredith surprised us with Gelato, which we were all very happy about. We played some hacky sack in the square with some other Americans we met and now are at dinner. This restaurant has quesadillas, nachos, burritos, and we couldn’t be more excited. We are all very happy right now! I am looking over at the table as I write this and everybody is smiling and laughing. We miss you all so much and can’t wait to see you!! See you all in 3 days!! Adios

Catarina (Cate Elcan)

Hola familias!!!
 Today was our second day at Full Moon Lodge and it is a completely different world compared to the homestays. They were a great experience but everyone is happy to finally have hot showers and a mirror to be able to see what you look like.  Today Cate and I were the leaders of the day and got to wake everyone up bright and early. We then headed off to Machu Picchu and got to see one of the amazing 7 wonders of the world! Cate, Peter, David, Bella, and I went on a hike to see an even better view of all of Machu Picchu and it was breathtaking. After we got done, we all got to take pictures with llamas and head back to the lodge. We are all glad to be back and at dinner with the group. There is no other way to spend the last two nights with our group in Ollataytambo. See you all in three days!! We can’t wait!

Wednesday was our last day in the homestays and our last service day.  We finished what we had left on the mural and the sidewalk.  All the children loved the mural with the bright colors and all the silly paintings.  After work the school performed the Pachamanca ceremony for us.  It was a feast and dance performed by the school children.  The feast was cooked in an underground oven and yes we had the guinea pig.  After the feast we had some bitter sweet goodbyes with our families and headed back to Ollantaytambo.  We chilled until we were treated to pizza for the first time and we ate every bite.  Then we went to bed early to prepare ourselves for the early morning trip to Machu Picchu.

Peter Srebnick

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

blog 6 - July 2

Today is June 2nd and it is our last day in Piscacucho. Yesterday we got to sleep in an extra hour because we were all tired from the hike, which was really nice. We started our very busy workday around 10. Some of us helped work with the cement to build the sidewalk and the rest of us worked on the second part of the mural. In order to get more work done we drew our own designs on the mural instead of having the artist draw them. Emily drew a huge alpaca, Kathleen and Elizabeth drew a train, Lila and Cate drew a little girl next to an apple tree, Rachel drew a little boy with sheep, and Gray drew another tree. The rest of us helped to make the sidewalk by moving rocks and making an assembly line to pass cement up and down the wall. After a couple hours of hard work we went back to our house and had yummy chicken noodle soup for lunch. After lunch we went back to the school and painted for the rest of the afternoon. Then we all met up and shared the questions and answers that we asked our families about the topic we chose whether it was healthcare or women’s roles or family life, etc. After that we had our usual ANCHOR meeting and then went back to our house to get ready for dinner. Before dinner when Liz and I walked downstairs we saw our mom washing the hairless guinea pig that she was getting ready to cook for our fiesta tomorrow. Liz and I will never forget that little piggies naked face. We walked into the kitchen to try to see which one of our guinea pig pets they had just killed, we think it was the black one. After we got our minds off that we had another really good dinner of rice, French fries, and chicken. After dinner we played a huge UNO game with our family and our cousins (Rachel and Kathleen’s family). Today we hope to finish everything we started before our celebratory fiesta this afternoon! We are having a blast and we miss everyone!
Natalie Foster

Hola, Hola, Hola!
               HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! Hope you are having the best day!Everyone is feeling great and 100% finally! We have survived so far. Adela is treating us to Chips Ahoy currently and promised ice cream AND pizza tonight. We are SUPER excited to say the least. Yesterday, we came together and got so much done on our mural at the school. Were almost done!! The kids here are amazing, and so loving. We all appreciate meeting new people and having their help to finish the painting! Although most of us have some blue painted hair, it was fun to work with the kids! We’ve been enjoying getting to know our mom, Catalina, and learning more about the Peruvian culture. It’s really interesting to learn about the differences in cultures concerning family life. My family is pretty much cousins with everyone in Piscacucho, so we always have visitors for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! I came across an interesting scene while standing on our porch last night. A naked/hairless guinea pig (cuy) being prepared for the fiesta Wednesday! YUM! We’ve all made a new best friend Miguel, the painter/artist. Without Miguel, our mural would really be struggling. His name is constantly being shouted for help “Miguel Ayudame” when we are painting. We are all having fun and feeling good! We miss everyone back home! HBD MOM!
Elizabeth Kelley

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Blog 5, july 1

On Saturday we had a day dedicated to being with our homestays. Rachel and I woke up and ate, and then we taught our Mom, Franco (our little boy), and Liz and Natalie’s Mom how to say days, colors, and numbers in English. Later we showered in a bucket. Rachel and I rested a lot and then we walked to our teacher’s house and also saw Peter and David’s house. We had spaghetti for dinner, which was so good. Then on Sunday we woke up and went on our hike. On the way to our hike we saw people weaving. The uphill hike was pretty hard but had a good view. After lunch we started to go downhill and it wasn’t hot which was good. We were walking through a cloud, which was very pretty. We saw a lot of llamas and alpacas. We slept in tents that night which was fun. The view was really pretty the next morning. Then on Monday we hiked for two hours and went to the hot springs, which were so pretty and hot. Then we went on a three-hour bus ride to Ollantaytambo and had pizza. I’ve never seen people eat that many pizzas before. It was so good. Then we came back to our home stays and slept! We’re having fun and we miss everyone at home!!
Kathleen Jackson

Saturday we had the whole day to spend time with our homestay families and learn more about their culture. In our house, Cate, Bella, Emily and I spent the day playing Uno, soccer, and other card games with the kids. Emily and I always have random little girls coming into our room wanting to play with our hair and braid it. In the afternoon our homestay sister took us on a hike along the railroad tracks to see ancient ruins and then we went on an adventure down to the river where we sat on rocks and hung out for a while. The rest of the day we spent hanging with our families and resting. Sunday we woke up early for our two-day hike which we were all nervous about because just walking a few minutes to the school gets us out of breath in this altitude. The first part was hot and uphill which really got the best of us but after lunch it started getting cooler as we went downhill into the valley. Later we arrived at the campsite where tents were set up for us to sleep in. After dinner we all sat outside and looked at the stars, which are amazing here. Rachel and I didn’t sleep much because of the cold so we just stayed up and ate candy bars in our tent all night. Needless to say we were very tired for the hike the next day. Everyone was excited to arrive at the hot springs where we hung out for a few hours before getting on the bus to go to Ollantaytambo for dinner. It’s safe to say you’ve never seen a happier group of people than us when we found out we were having pizza.
We miss everyone at home and are having a great time!
Gray McClellan

Today is Tuesday, July 1.  The students are doing great.  They are a very fun group and are getting along very well.  They love playing with the children and are enjoying painting a mural on the school wall and building a sidewalk.  We’ve made new friends from Spain, Thailand, and Great Britain in addition to our new Peruvian friends.  The children from the homestays were so excited to see the students last night when we returned “home”.  It felt like returning home because it is something

Friday, June 27, 2014


 We arrived last night to our homestays in Piscacucho, after a 45 minute drive through beautiful scenery down into the mountains. Once we arrived, we were supposed to meet our homestay families at the school. Everyone greeted their family with a hug and a piece of lemon cake and of course Audrey and I’s family didn’t show up to get us. Finally we met the family, who are so sweet, where we were greeted by the parents, the 8-month-old baby Yamil, and the two brothers Juan Paul and Joseph. We all stayed with our families for the rest of the night to get settled in and comfortable around each other, good for me because I don’t speak Spanish. The next day was our workday and we taught classes, designed a mural for the outer wall of the school, played with kids, and worked on building a sidewalk. We are trying to adjust to the food but after every meal we end up snacking on bars (running on short supply J). Last night we met up with all the kids in the town at the school’s soccer field and played an intense game of “futbol”. It was fun to see how we all came together to play something that everyone loved. Before bed, Audrey and I took our first shower at the homestay with a bucket and ladle. We are really taking in this amazing experience as individuals and as a group. We miss all of you and can’t wait to share our memories! (Love you fam)
Lila Sohr

We are now at our homestays and starting to experience the culture of Peru, although it is taking a little bit of time to adjust. Kathleen and I are staying with two little boys, Franco and Yefereson, and their parents. We didn’t know Yeferson’s name for about a day and we have yet to meet the father. Our mama is incredibly kind, and Kat and I are working on our Spanish, which we think is improving. The food is interesting. I’ll just leave it at that. Yesterday was our first day at the school and we are already bonding with the children here. The mural is coming along, with the help of a wonderful artist named Miguel. Last night we all went to one house for a game of Uno, which we enjoy just as much as the kids do. The scenery here is incredible and every time you look around it takes your breath away. We miss you all very much!!!