Location: Cuzco, Peru

Hi everyone back home! Last day in Cuzco!!!!

I’m sure my mom and dad are frantically refreshing the blog every day, no need to worry all good here!

Today was such an amazing day. Half of the group went to the Santa Teresa Orphanage while the other group went to Casa Mantay. My group went to help out at the orphanage. We had heard about the experiences the other group had at the orphanage, but nothing could prepare us for what we saw today. Even though it is called an orphanage, it is a place for people with disabilities. Although it was very difficult to take in, we all just wanted to help out. The bus ride over was pretty quiet. I’m sure everyone just imagined what we would encounter. When we arrived, a young man ran straight over to me and gave me a big hug. He then ran over to Zoe to hug her and then over to Dan. He had a huge smile on his face and was so happy to see us.

Next, we were split up into two groups, three of us would help out the women while the rest would help out the children. Zoe, Sydney, and I all volunteered to help with the women. We were all very hesitant, very unsure of what we were supposed to do. The first thing we all helped out with was feeding the women. While some could feed themselves, others could not. The women I helped feed kept hitting her head and crying. It was a sad sight to see, but I’m sure she was happy we were there. After cleaning the tables, floors and all the dishes, the women were put outside except for one. I kept hearing her cry, so I went off to find her. She was in a back room curled up in her wheelchair and had been crying for a while now. I put my hand on hers and sat on the ground with her for about 30 minutes. The whole time I was sitting there, she did not cry at all. This made me feel amazing, just sitting with someone for a short amount of time can change their whole day. All the women were very friendly, most of them smiled at us and said hello and held our hands. After the women were taken care of we went over to the children’s room. These were some of the happiest kids I had ever seen. Just saying hi made them smile and laugh. After feeding them, we got to take some out on a walk in the garden. Jared said that he accidentally hit the door with the girl’s wheelchair and she just started laughing, and he said it made him feel great. Seeing these kids and women laugh made my day 10x better.

I think everyone had mixed emotions about today. I’m glad I got to go to the Santa Teresa Orphanage. While it felt good to give back, it was something we had all never seen before. Experiences like these bring our group closer together. I have already made some great friends on this trip. I can’t wait to see what it will be like at the end!