Location: Cuzco

After an alarm clock malfunction, we woke up scrambling to breakfast. We being Jack B, Me and Ben. The hostel ran out of eggs, so as a surprise we got pancakes. They were super awesome and had banana bits in them. After breakfast, the group climbed the stairs to reach the bus for our final day with Casa Mantay. The long bus ride composed of Max timing Ben on his Rubix cube skills culminated with our arrival at the park nearby and an eager group ready for the day.

Once we arrived, the moms spared no time in bringing us back to the park to play soccer. We played a few warm-up games like freeze tag and a mix of ships across the ocean and rock, paper, scissors. Then the soccer began. Ben, being the only soccer player, dominated the game. Of course, I was on the opposite team. Once a group of local guys came to the park it was time to go back to Casa Mantay. Again there was no time spared when we returned as the moms wanted to make bracelets right away. Most of the guys, including myself, decided to continue the soccer with some of the kids. That was until the little girl I had been playing with yesterday decided to bring me to the playground to help her down the slide.

For lunch, we all sat separated and mingled with the moms over quinoa soup and some Peruvian pizza: a delicious lunch and a great way to have a closing meal. Lunch was brought to an abrupt end when the face paint was brought out. The kids loved the face paint. There were skeletons, pirates, rainbows, and hearts painted throughout the day. In the middle of watching face painting, a mom asked if Jack B. and I would accompany her to the market to get fruit, so we went with. The markets in Peru are crazy. Very energetic and vibrant and full of meat. The meat is hypnotizing yet disgusting at the same time. You want so badly to look away from the chicken feet and animal innards, but you just can’t. After being brought away from the meat, we bargained for star fruit and pineapples and headed back to Casa Mantay.

The last few hours at Casa Mantay were very memorable. The moms gave me bracelets, and I got to play with a little-painted pirate named Leo. He was obsessed with working out, doing pull-ups on me and bench pressing my arm constantly. I would play with him and lift him and we just had quite a lot of fun for a bit. Then it was time to go. We all gathered around for a picture together, and stuff got emotional way too quick. Between the moms and some members of our group, the speeches that were given to each other were great. As a final goodbye, we hugged and exchanged gifts together. It was a great way to end the program with Casa Montay.

Our night ended with us getting our phones back to call home and dinner at Organika. For the most part, people talked to their families and relaxed after three days of intense and rewarding service. Our nightly meeting included questions that provoked deep answers and hilarious ones. The relaxed nature of the night was great for rejuvenating before a day of travel and mountain biking.