Location: Cuzco, Peru

Hola amigos!

And hi Mom & Dad! I’m sure you’re excited to finally see the first blog entry.

Today was our first full day in Cuzco! We started the day with a tasty breakfast of eggs and toast at our beautiful hostel. Our rooms are adorable and cozy, and we can see all the mountains and the city from the balcony. A lot of us tried Peru’s famous coca tea to help with adjusting to the altitude.

Today was also our first day volunteering at Casa Mantay, a home for teenage mothers and their children. We sat down for orientation and learned more about their situation. Most of the mothers became pregnant as a result of violent/non-consensual situations. Casa Mantay helps them out by supporting them while they find education and get prepared for their futures. It runs almost entirely on donations. This discussion hit us hard, and we’re all eager to get to know them and help them.

We split into three groups: nursery, kitchen, and painting. I worked in the nursery! We arrived just in time for nap time. We helped carry the babies into their beds and stroked their hair until they fell asleep. The kitchen-workers prepared a delicious lunch of potato salad and the painters decorated a room with a bright, happy yellow.

The mothers at home were friendly and smiled and laughed throughout our visit, despite their hardships. We admire them. During our work, we chatted with them and practiced our Spanish. After lunch, we played with the kids and mothers over games of volleyball and soccer. Afterward, we walked around the markets and got to know each other better.

Today was a wonderful day. We’ve already learned so much about Peruvian culture as well as from the other students from around the world.