Location: Cuzco

Note: photography is not allowed at the Santa Theresa Orphanage, so we’re only able to post photos from Casa Mantay.

Happy day six everybody!! Surprisingly, we’re still alive, well most of us are. Thanks to the 76 Brits in our hostel, most of us were lucky enough to wake up at 4:30 am. Thankfully, that didn’t stop the Peru crew from having an amazing and packed day here in beautiful Cuzco. Like yesterday, we divided into two groups – one went to Casa Mantay while my group went to the Santa Teresa Orphanage. Due to some sickness within the group, only six of us were able to have a life-changing experience at this incredible home for the handicapped. Unlike most orphanages, the residents ranged from 1 to 99 (yes, there was a 99-year-old there).

We began by dividing into groups for different chores around the orphanage. Some of us made beds and mopped the floor, while others helped in the kitchen or fed people breakfast. The nuns were very appreciative of all the things we could take off of their hands, and we got to meet some nice residents that wanted to help (and others who just stood there making sure we made their bed to their standards).

As a special treat today, the residents got to play outside which is a rarity at the Santa Teresa Orphanage. Each of us got to play with different children and adults, who were overjoyed to be tossing around soccer balls. It was incredible to see how their faces lit up when we played with them, especially when those who could not verbally communicate were laughing hysterically. Not only did we feel as if we had brightened their day by playing with them, but I think they brightened ours even more. This experience was emotionally difficult for the majority of the group, but the satisfaction that came out of this service was very powerful and will stick with us for a long time. At the end of our stay, one of the nuns handed us a charm with Mother Teresa on it, letting us know that we should continue to live our lives with the impact of our experience at the orphanage.

After a delicious lunch at Organika, our group walked to the San Pedro market. With some expert bargaining skills, many of us were able to purchase some inexpensive Peruvian treasures. Hopefully, you reading this are lucky enough to receive some of these things as gifts!

We had a great dinner at the restaurant with board games and crazy hats and finished off the night with a group discussion. We spent an hour discussing what service meant to us and how different types of service affected us. But since that discussion took a lot longer than I had expected, it is WAY past my bedtime, and we have an early start tomorrow. Anyways, this trip keeps getting better, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next couple of weeks (and I’m sure you can’t wait either!) Adios amigos!