Location: Sacred Valley of the Incas

On our second day of service at the school in the Sacred Valley, we split up into small groups to sand classroom walls, desks and chairs, and the wood fence around the school garden. Along with two other volunteers from MySmallHelp, Amanda, Jack and I started by sanding the garden fence. I enjoyed the school’s beautiful view, which featured a grand mountain range tipped with glacier snow, and watched both volunteers and locals work together in harmony. When everyone started to paint the fence a crisp white color, it was evident that Amanda, Jack and I worked hard due to white stains left from the paint on our clothes.

After our hard work, we ate lunch and played games with the local children, such as jump roping and playing soccer. My favorite pastime was throwing the Frisbee with Junior and Santiago, two students at the school who couldn’t get enough of fetching the Frisbee when thrown off course. After returning to work and rotating tasks, my group and I moved on to paint the ceiling of one of the classrooms, accompanied by several students eager to help.

Unfortunately, we only had a few paintbrushes, and the children were limited to watching and entertaining us while we worked. When we quickly finished the ceiling, we joined the rest of the group to hand varnish many desks and chairs. Despite the task’s difficulty due to the small crevices of the furniture and sticky consistency of the varnish, we all were able to work together to finish all the desks and chairs before the sunset. After a long day of service, we were thanked with a special treat.

As the air cooled and the sun hid behind the glacier-tipped mountains, all the students who accompanied us with our service throughout the day joined together in homemade costumes to perform a traditional Peruvian dance. As the music sounded, the children danced to the beat of the song with filled bottles around their waists to provide even more rhythm. At the finale of their performance, the children pulled us into their circle to dance with them and let us participate in their fun custom. After showing their gratitude, we said our bittersweet goodbye and headed to dinner. As we left on our bus, we could see the bright white fence that we all worked so hard on, which left me with an immense sense of accomplishment. We ended the day with a group dinner full of laughter and sharing of moments we experienced during our service.