Location: Ollantaytambo

Today started with heavy rainfall, and our original project was unfortunately delayed- Mariana told us it’s good luck. However, the MySmallHelp group came to the hostel and taught us how to make traditional Peruvian bracelets, and it sure did take away some of our patience but was a rewarding process learning part of the intangible cultural heritage of Peru.

The sun came out after a few hours, and we went ahead with the project which was helping Natividad, an old lady living alone with disabilities to build a garden so she could have fresh vegetables from the garden. Although we were only a team of four and started late, we managed to finish building a whole garden from scratch.

Plowing the fields, planting the sprouts, digging holes to make a fence was undoubtedly hard work, but it was such a meaningful and beautiful experience. Natividad kissed our hands, offered us potatoes she had, and her warm smile totally warmed our hearts. We left starving and drained of energy but proud of what we achieved and the impact of our actions.

We ended the day with my birthday dinner in a fancy restaurant, the food was utterly scrumptious, and we also had the best brownies in town as dessert. On the way back, we rode a six-person motorcycle, and it was such a cool ride back to the hostel. I can say for sure that this birthday was one of a kind, although the third birthday without my family, I loved the celebration and what we accomplished today, giving back using our individual abilities is definitely better than receiving presents.