Location: Cusco

Today is Wednesday and our fifth day since we arrived in Lima. Harry, Lia, Sam, Steven, Valentin, and Ellie woke up extra early to fetch coffee and hot chocolate from Starbucks for the group. We all ate breakfast at seven and we left to go to Casa Mantay and Santa Teresa at 8:15. As usual on the bus, we measured as we felt on a scale of one to ten, one being the worst and ten being the best. Today was one of our best days with lots of tens and nines.

We split the group in half again, and the half that didn’t go to Santa Teresa yesterday went today. I was in the half of the group that spent our morning in Santa Teresa. Santa Teresa is a home led by an order of nuns that take care of the disabled, either mentally or physically. The first place we went when we got to Santa Teresa was the physical therapy room, which doubled as a playroom. The first thing I did when I arrived was play with Carlos, who was an adult who really enjoyed playing with clips, so Emma and I clipped them to his pants and his shoes. He would pick them up and collect them all. In the same room, McKinley colored with a man named David, a little girl played with toys, and a nun massaged a disabled woman’s leg.

Next Antonio and I worked in the kitchen cutting papayas and sorting grapes, but it was very difficult because about a third of the grapes were moldy or rotting. Later on, most of us went to help with lunch. I helped a little girl named Luz Clarita eat. The dining room we went to was used primarily for young children and the sisters were serving two different types of soup. The first soup was noodles, tomatoes, and chicken in a broth, and the other had chicken, potatoes, and quinoa. Luz could mostly feed herself, but some other children in the room were paralyzed and had to be fed. We all finished our time at Santa Teresa by playing a game of soccer with a few of the boys living at the home. Our morning there really gave us a sense of how lucky we were to be able-bodied.

On the bus ride to Casa Mantay, we stopped to get some snacks like Oreos, Pringles and wafer cookies. When we arrived most of the work was already done because the half of the group who didn’t go to Santa Teresa were cleaning and helping out with the children, so all we did for the rest of the afternoon was play with the children and mothers. Most of us were chasing children around in the yard, raiding hair, or taking care of the infants. One mother who I talked with was only thirteen years old and was taking care of her two-month-old son. I tried to talk to her more, but we had to leave so I gave her a friendship bracelet I made and Pringles. At night, we went to dinner at an authentic Peruvian restaurant and got multiple different types of soups and shared them family style. Last, we finished up the night by judging a very competitive scavenger hunt, which ended in a three-way tie.