Location: Ollantaytambo

Hello all, here is a quick catch up on the past three days! Please forgive us for any lack of super-specific details 🙂

The 26th was our first day back together in Ollantaytambo after the trekking expedition returned to join us in service and we woke up early to walk to a school in town with My Small Help Peru volunteers. While the kids were practicing for the Independence Day parade, we worked to sand tables and chairs, paint and string bottles in the garden, and paint an extremely realistic mural on the wall. After a morning of hard work, we took the Canna-bus to a riverside restaurant where we ate the classic lomo saltado dish for lunch. Then we drove back to the school to finish painting the mural and varnish the furniture. Ty attempted to paint a river shark. However, we unanimously decided it would scare the children and covered it up with blue paint. Once finished with our work and an incredibly athletic basketball game, we headed back to the hostel to shower before dinner. We were more than surprised when the dinner turned out to be a surprise birthday party for Ty and Charlotte, and we spent the night dancing and singing in the small upstairs of a local cafe! Then we stopped at the store for some late-night snacks and refreshments before we conked out for the night.

Although some of the members of the group needed to return home early on the 27th, we carried on with our last full day of service. After a long bumpy ride, we reached a mountainside community where we set up camp for the day. Our goal for the day was to build adobe bricks from scratch, which were made from dirt, water, rocks, a dash of dung, and grass. To properly mix the components, we danced in the mud barefoot (which only looked slightly cult-like). In the span of two hours, we successfully completed 49 bricks and made a name for our cult (the Muddists). For lunch, we had the wonderful opportunity of having a home-cooked meal at one of the community members homes. The cooking technique was called Pacha Manka, which includes cooking the ingredients in an underground oven on hot stones. After learning how to make traditional Peruvian bracelets, we returned back to the hostel and stayed in for a pizza dinner and had an early night.

Today we had a fun and relaxed day learning about different arts and foods common to Peru. After breakfast, we took the bus to a pottery demonstration where we learned how to make simple bowls and pots. Each of us designed and painted a small coaster, and then we went to go sample chicha, which is a fermented corn refreshment typically drank by farmers working in the fields. After the chicha, we walked to another family’s home to see the process in which cacao becomes yummy chocolate. We got to help make some of the chocolate by heating the cacao beans for ten minutes, peeling them, and then cranking the beans and added sugar into a smooth chocolate spread. It was so delicious yet simple to make and left us craving more. Luckily, we ate lunch after a short walk to another beautiful home where we had chicken, rice, and veggies. Then we went to see a honey demonstration where most of us bravely let bees crawl all over our hands. Look for jars of honey coming home soon! After the honey, we took the bus back to the hostel and then some of us went with Jose to get more souvenirs and the best ice cream in town. Then we relaxed until dinner, had pasta/steak, went to a little dessert shop, and now Liv and I are working on the blog!

Lots of love to all!

Miss you guys 🙂 #lasagna