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Location: Cusco

Hearing that I was team leader for the day, Me, Sam and Valentin ran to the Starbucks in downtown Cuzco to get everyone coffee and hot chocolate. After everyone finished their drinks at breakfast, we split into two separate groups for the volunteering that we had to do for that day. That day my group would be helping an organization called Mother Teresa. Their mission is to take in mentally ill people who can’t live on their own or who have been rejected from their families and give them a safe sanctuary to live in. They helped people of all ages with all disabilities. After the bus ride to Mother Teresa, we stepped off our bus and entered the huge gates to the sanctuary.

My group was led by two of our counselors, Devin and Skylar, who showed us to the nun who would send a few people to different places. Sam, Valentin and I were sent to do laundry upstairs. I expected the laundry to be in washers and dryers but when we got up there was a huge pile of clothes and a sink full of ice-cold water. We each did different jobs, like washing, brushing and hanging the clothes. After a bit, Skylar told me to come down to give this man a foot massage. I walked into the Physical Therapy building to find many patients already being helped and some of my friends helping them by drawing and massaging them. The nurse told me what to do and gave me some gloves. After a few minutes, I finished and the man was very happy and grateful and walked off. I stayed in the Physical Therapy building for a while helping other people. A little bit before the lunch service, a very old woman was wheeled in. I was told to massage her knees because they were very sensitive and she couldn’t stretch them out without very severe pain. After a little while of helping her, I and a few other volunteers were sent to the lunchroom that was for the younger kids.

Our job was to feed the kids three different meals. It took a very long time because the kids didn’t want to eat and they didn’t cooperate. It was very eye-opening for me because it was crazy to think that these small kids had to live with their condition their whole lives without a real family to be there for them. I felt very appreciative of my life and privilege back in the States. I worked very hard to make sure that these people could have a fun day and could laugh. Before we had to leave we all played a game of soccer with the kids who could. Later that night the whole group went to dinner at a place called Ion, a Chinese Peruvian fusion restaurant. It was huge and had very nice service. My friends and I ordered a ton of food family style. Before the food came, we played a game of “what are the odds” and the person had to eat the hottest sauce they had in the restaurant. I ended up having to eat a huge spoonful of the sauce. Through the whole dinner, my mouth was numb. Overall, it was an awesome day and I would do it again to make those kids happy.