Location: Paru-Paru, Peru

Tick Tick Tick Buzzzzzzzz

I woke up, it was pitch black, and I could hear banging on the door as Devin and Sam furiously knocked on our door to wake us up from our deep slumber. As their persistent knocking continued we got out of bed and wiped the sand out of our eyes. Sam, Steven and I got dressed in our work clothes and decided to scurry down to breakfast in hopes of still getting some food. I was distraught when I heard the news that I was the leader. Fear pierced my heart from the news, but I knew I had to be a strong and valued leader. Moments later I had breakfast and ate some toast and fruits. Once everyone received their bagged lunches, we boarded the bus and set off to paru-paru.

The road to Paru Paru was beautiful and special. A peek into the sacred valley of the Incas.

Three hours later….

We stepped off the bus into the cold crisp calming air as we made our way into the small community the locals showered our heads with white flower petals accepting us as one of them. We all stood in a receiving line, and each local Peruvian put handfuls of white flower petals on top of our heads. They were so happy to welcome us into their community. We made our way to the working area and split into groups. We were making adobe bricks to help build a home… Antonio, Harry, and Sam helped cut the straw into small pieces while others worked in the ditch pick-axing mud into the shape of a basin allowing water and straw to mix with the dirt creating mud for the adobe mud bricks. Ellie, Emma, Emily, McKinley, Leah and I were dancing in the mud singing karaoke until the mud was ready to be shaped into bricks even our bus driver Willy and our tour guide William had joined in the fun. We mixed the dirt, straw, and water for a long time to make this special mud for the adobe bricks.

After a lunch break,  everyone grouped and ate Pesto filled sandwiches, fruit, juice boxes, brownies, and granola bars.. we went back to work and filled the wooden frames with straw infused mud. It was hard work which paid off as all 45.5 bricks we made are being used to help a 24 yr-old man named Andreas build a dream home in Paru-Paru. Andreas is a 24-year-old guy who was diagnosed with polio at a young age of 12 and lived in the hospital for nine years. At three years old, his mother died, and later his father died of a stroke during his stay in the hospital. Andreas recently rekindled with his godparents and now lived very happy although he is confined to a wheelchair. Andreas told us a story about how he can remember walking and hiking through the mountains where we were working. The view was spectacular. He mentioned how the lake where we were was shaped like Cusco, and a nearby lake was shaped like a heart. He dreams of being able to walk again, but his polio prohibits him from doing so. After all the bricks were made, we cleaned ourselves off and headed to the site where Andreas”s house was being built.

The charity we work with, My Small Help, found Andreas and they have helped him live his best life. We were happy to work alongside My Small Help in this effort.

On our way to the site, we crossed paths with a donkey who made strange noises. Finally, it was lunchtime I was starving because I ate all my lunch on the bus. We were presented with many different types of tea and a range of salad with potatoes and cheese it was delicious. After lunch, we headed back to the bus and had our last goodbyes. Once we entered the bus, I knew it would be a long ride till we arrive at the hostel. Around 30 min in Antonio desperately needed to go to the bathroom, but he was able to control himself. As time passed and boredom kicked in, I decided to drink some water, a couple of minutes later my bladder was full. An hour and a half-zipped by I could feel myself all jittery I had to go to the bathroom so bad. My bladder was about to explode. Eventually, we stopped at a rusty old gas station I waddled like a penguin all the way to the bathroom once I was done it felt like heaven. Later that night we had a group forum about Service and Respect. Overall it was a hard but fun and enjoyable day we all felt like we had made an impact on Andreas’s life. We had accomplished the impossible creating part of his dream, a dream home.