Location: Huerto paraiso

Early one morning I awoke a little early after a long day of service the day before and realized it was my day to be “team leader.” I was super excited, and with that title, I knew I had many duties to accomplish, and the first one was to wake everyone up. With that in mind, I hopped out of bed, threw my flip flops on and headed out to fulfill my first mission. One by one I knocked on each door saying “wake up guys it’s 7:20.” Finally, back upstairs and in my room, I quickly got dressed, packed my day bag and headed back downstairs for breakfast. Shortly after finishing my peanut better pancakes Devin, one of our counselors asked me “is your team ready?” Quickly realizing that another one of my many duties was to make sure that everyone was downstairs and ready I began counting making sure everyone came down and was ready to leave for an exciting day in Peru. Luckily, I counted, and all 17 people were ready and excited to go. After I gave the okay, we all headed for the bus and on to a new adventure.

First, we went to the pottery place where we were quickly shown how pots were made out of clay. We were also taught that clay could sit in an airtight bag up to a year which was surprising. After that we watched a hunk of clay get spun by hand into a beautiful bowl. I split the large group up into two smaller ones, the first went to go and spin clay into pots, and the other, which I went with got to carve and decorate their bowl. When we finally sat down and began to carve the pots, I noticed that they used these little tools that look like something you’d use to do nail art and when painting it they use a paintbrush, and they would paint into the carved spots wiping off the excess. After a little bit of time, my pot sported a simple design, so I headed to the next station to attempt to sculpt a bowl by hand. After taking a moment to put on an apron (making pots can get kinda messy) to myself and climbing into a chair that was as high as my waist, I began the process of sculpting. I turned the table with my foot, no electricity here, and using things like water, a brush, and my own two hands I finished my masterpiece. To my surprise, my bowl was pretty awesome.

The next place we visited we were taught how chocolate is made. We first got to see it in its original form which is a bean, and then we got the chance to grind it in a grinder which we struggled with, but the lady showing us everything accomplished her tasks very quickly and with ease. After the beans were all ground down and turned into powder, we were able to try it as a bar and then in a hot chocolate. Though it was very bitter without artificial sugar, it was interesting getting to try something in its most basic form.

Chicha was the next thing we learned after chocolate. It’s a traditional drink they have everywhere in South America. It’s made from fermented maize. We, as a group, were able to try it in an original form and mixed with artificial strawberry sugar. I prefer the artificial sugar myself.

After so many exciting demonstrations, we were all super hungry and ready for lunch. We walked 20 minutes down a road until we came to the gates of a beautiful garden where we would be having lunch. Little did we know that we were having a delicious 4-course meal. After eating and exploring the garden for a little bit, it was back to our adventure, so we all thanked the man that hosted us in the beautiful venue and walked out of the gates.

Not only learning but getting to watch and see honey get pulled straight from a beehive had to be my favorite part of the day. At first, we were shown how to “smoke” the bees out of the hives and then I had the chance to do it myself. After all the bees were out and confused the man showed us everything, and he even gave us the chance to hold, yes hold, a handful of bees in our bare hands. When asking around for a volunteer, nobody spoke up. So being the team leader, I decided that I would be the first to try something new. At first, I was freaking out when he dumped the bees in my hand, but shortly after I relaxed, I realized that holding them while they were in that state was calming and interesting. Sadly, they couldn’t stay like that forever, so we had to shake them off. Then, after we all were bee free, we got to try honey straight from the comb.

After such an exciting day of cool stuff, we headed back to the hotel to rest and get ready for dinner. When we left for dinner, we had no idea where we would be going, but to our surprise, we ended up at this little spot off the side of a mountain where we ordered pizzas. There they had a tv hooked up to a microphone and being without any American style music for a couple of days, that made us beyond excited for some good ‘ole karaoke. From Katy Perry to Adele we sang and danced the night away after an amazing and very memorable day.