Location: Ollantaytambo

Okay, so I know everyone else’s blogs were really good, and I apologize if mine doesn’t compare. So it is day nine here in Peru, and so far it has been a blast! I’m only supposed to write about what I did today so for my family back home you are just going to have to wait until I get back to hear the whole adventure.

Today started with us waking up in a new hostel in the Sacred Valley. We had a lovely breakfast that consisted of eggs, cereal and some fruit (my room woke up a tad bit late, so we kinda had to stuff our faces, oops). After breakfast was over, we headed out to the bus. As usual, the ride was extremely bumpy, but that’s Peru for you.

Today planned to go to an elementary school and help out with the kids and do some manual labor. On our way there we picked up Meca. Meca works with MySmallHelp and would be helping us out. When we arrived at the school, we met with its director, Nora. She explained to us that some of the Lifeworks team would be digging a ditch so her students could plant plants and some of the others would do some physical education classes with the kids. You are probably thinking “oh digging a ditch, that sounds so easy.” No, you are wrong. This was by far the hardest physical work we’ve done yet. When we started out digging the ditch, it was really hard because we were all kinda doing our own thing not worrying about what other people were doing, but by the end, we were all working together as a team which made it a lot easier and a lot more fun. In all, we probably spent about three and a half hours perfecting our ditch.

Something pretty cool happened today. Probably around 11ish, the kids at the school had recess. We had the option to play with them, but we decided to continue working because we were just really determined to finish the ditch. Some of the kids saw this, and they decided on their own to come over and help us. This was an amazing moment for me because by us doing a good thing it made others do a good thing. These kids stayed and helped us until we left and it was really fun working with them.

We left the school at about 12:45 to have lunch. We went to this little restaurant next to the Urubamba River. The scenery was incredible with the mountains and beautiful weather. After lunch, we had this ceremony/sacrifice thing with a shaman whose tribe hadn’t been found by the Peruvian government until the 1950s. He gave us all three coca leaves, and a peddle of a flower. We had to blow on them and then he took them back and blessed us with good health, good fortune, etc. For the sacrificing part, he put a bunch of different things over our coca leaves then burned them. Some of the items included cookies, fake money, candy, Chia seeds and a lot of other stuff. It was very interesting to see how the Incas would have thanked the gods (obviously it wasn’t the same because our ceremony was modernized).

After lunch, we were supposed to do some more service work but instead went to the market and bought stuff for pancakes. You are probably thinking, “Wow, how selfish of them…they are going to get stuff to make pancakes instead of doing service work” but actually tomorrow we are going to make pancakes for about eighty school kids so we needed to prepare for that by buying a lot of eggs, boxes of milk, etc. Once we got back from the market, it was just the normal nightly routine: dinner, meeting, journaling and then bed. Today was a long, exhausting day but it was extremely satisfying. I can’t wait for what the rest of the trip will bring.