Location: Cuzco

Today was day 4! We were woken up at 7 (by a loud, beeping alarm) filled with excitement to meet everyone at Casa Mantay. Casa Mantay is an amazing shelter where previously abused women get to live in and where their children are very well taken care of by them, volunteers, and the head of the house (Carmen). So we headed down at 7:45 to the restaurant for a quick breakfast and went right to the bus. As per usual we played a few games of werewolf/mafia on the bus until we arrived at the house – around 40 minutes later. Once we arrived, we go to meet the mothers and their ADORABLE toddlers running around the garden. Carmen, the director of Casa Mantay, took us to a TV room where she introduced herself and what they do in their shelter. After we went out and played a couple of introduction games where we learned all the mothers’ names, their age and where they come from; then we separated into two groups for a tour of the house. Since today was Intyraimy (a big Cuzco celebration day) the mothers wanted to relax- therefore today our main jobs were to help entertain the toddlers and set up tables and get lunch ready (which was a famous dish in Cuzco called Potato Pie.) Before we left, we played a fun game of volleyball with the mothers and then right before we went to the bus we looked at the beautiful leather pieces that the mothers had made. On our way back to the hostel, we stopped at the grocery store to get snacks for ourselves and donations for the Santa Teresa shelter to give when we go back to visit them. When we got back, we had 3 hours until dinner reservations, so we relaxed then had a reflection session before we left and discussed a quote by Rachel Remen talking about the differences between helping, fixing and serving people and communities. For dinner we went to a delicious salad bar where we all made our own salads and, of course, the portions were HUGE! – But most of us did end up finishing our plates because they were really good! After a while, we got back to the hostel and played yet ANOTHER game of werewolf with the whole GoBeyond team, which was very fun.

Overall today was a very rewarding and fun day, and I can’t wait for the next few weeks we have!