Location: Casa Mantay

The team worked the whole day at the teenage mother’s home, Casa Mantay, and was treated with a generous 3 hours of free time.

We started the day thereby observing the amazing, unconventional style that the mothers cooked their potatoes. They collected condensed solid blocks of soil, rich in minerals the day before. They would then create a small oven in the shape of an igloo, out of the soil by precisely placing one piece of soil on top of another, gradually decreasing in the size of the soil blocks, as the structure got higher. It reached approximately one foot, enough to place all the potatoes for eating into. After intense moments of anxiety and care, the oven for the potatoes was completed and was heated from the inside with wood. They would heat the oven for about 2 or 3 hours to heat the soil, before adding the potatoes, so the oven was hot enough to cook the potatoes perfectly. They would place some potatoes in the oven from the top and then collapses layers of the oven on top of the potatoes. They would repeat this process until all of the potatoes were submerged in the soil. The ladies put in the potatoes and left them for about 1 hour. The potatoes were insanely good. The lunch was potatoes, sweet potatoes, and cooked bananas. Some of us had the potatoes with mayonnaise and cheese, for a little bit of flair to the taste.

We set up a volleyball net across the backyard and played light game volleyball with the mothers and some of the kids. We were all surprised at the level of skill that the mothers had in volleyball, carrying out impressive rallies that we could only imagine having. In Peru, women are only allowed to play volleyball because of the Peruvian culture that women are only supposed to play volleyball. This explained a lot to why the mothers were so good at volleyball.

We helped with service by painting the walls, where the mothers did their laundry, from yellow to green and purple. Some of us got distracted and flexed our art muscles by splatter painting water bottles and shoes, which ended up looking dope. We also wheeled the wheelbarrows full of fresh garden soil into the patch that we took apart the day before. We were told that this would later become a garden of flowers, herbs, and plants.

After a long day of hard work, we split up into smaller groups to have some free time. My group had a traditional Cusco style McDonald’s which we later regretted as our stomach were very upset after the Happy Meal. We then went to the market to buy some souvenirs for our families, our friends and ourselves. The market had dope cultural scarves and jumpers, which made out of Alpaca fur.

We finished off the day with a chilled out talk on the roof amongst the whole.