Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hello friends and family of the Kent Place Peru program!

Our instructor, Diego has informed us that the students and faculty are at the airport and are scheduled for an on time departure from Cusco to Lima.  I have included the flight information below:

  LATAM        2032             
  LV: CUZCO              500P     
  AR: LIMA PERU          625P                                                          

  LATAM        2530               
  LV: LIMA PERU         1220A     
  AR: NYC/KENNEDY        910A

Please feel free to call our office with any questions or concerns (303)679-3412.  

Maria Selde
Program Coordinator

Monday's post from Tyler and Tara

Waking up at five in the morning to travel to Machu Picchu was very challenging. However, it was all worth it because we got to see its beautiful scenery, including some adorable llamas. We toured around Machu Picchu and learned many interesting facts about the architecture of the ruins and the Incan history that came with it. Although we were not able to climb Huayna Picchu, we still were able to experience breathtaking views of the entire landscape. Tyler's favorite part was sitting at the top of the mountain in silence for 15 minutes and taking in the beauty that "Mother Nature has given us". Tara's favorite part was taking pictures with her friends in front of the many locations they visited. Overall, it was an amazing day of sight-seeing. 

Some pictures from Monday's visit to Machu Picchu:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Saturday's post from Sara and Ariana:

Yesterday morning started off with a local pottery class only a few minutes away from the lodge. The class was given by a local man named Eduardo, who told us all about how the Incas and those before them would create intricate designs on pottery.Then the group made their own cups and bowls like the Incas did. We then climbed the east side of the mountain to discover the incredible views the Incan ruins had to offer. We participated in a world leadership activity where we looked deeper into the worlds problems that are the most pressing in Ollantaytambo and around the world. After, we went to lunch with our host families to enjoy the local cuisine to energize us for the next hike in the Incan ruins. We hiked to the steps of Ollantaytambo, to learn about the amazing culture and knowledge of Incan life. The view from the top of the ruins was indescribable as the beauty surpassed anything we had ever seen. The snow capped mountains in the distance of the valley was a clear example of how Peru is so ecologically diverse and has some of the worlds most beautiful sights.  We ended the day with some free time and shopping after another long, incredible, and memorable day. 

Our Pacha Manka (picnic) today

Brainstorming session in the patio of the Full Moon Lodge. Steffi, Ellie, Julia, and Radhika are members of the affinity team working on the theme of "the economy."

Saturday, June 14, 2014

All of us in the potter's workshop. We will pick up our fired pieces on Monday.

This afternoon as our tour of the Ollantaytambo ruins came to a close.

Friday's post from Ellie and Julia

On Friday we completed our service project. We finished painting the benches and fences surrounding the garden in addition to painting the rocks we assembled around each tree. The students were excited to help paint the benches and were thrilled to lend a hand. In addition to the garden work, we found ancient Incan rocks that we assembled in the center of the garden for the kids to play. The rocks formed a miniature water way with which the children loved to play. Subsequent to finishing the garden we completed painting the mural. The mural consisted of three walls outside the kitchen to promote healthy eating and good hygiene to the kids. The first wall encouraged the washing of hands. The middle wall showed the food pyramid to advocate for a balanced diet. The third and final wall is a contribution from all the kids; it was a wall covered in their handprints. They could hardly wait their turn and their smiles never faded. We loved interacting with the children and getting them involved with the work we did. They were all enthusiastic and had huge smiles on their faces. Seeing how our work affected the children in such a positive way motivated us to work harder and made the work not seem like labor. 

Collectively as leaders, this experience changed our perspective on volunteer work and education systems outside of the United States. It has made us appreciate the opportunities presented to us and change what we consider a norm and a necessity. Although it may seem ironic, we found ourselves envious of the Peruvian students-- the mountains surrounding the school and the ancient Incan rocks laying around had us in awe but was considered normal for the students. The leadership opportunity presented to us incredible and like no other.

- Ellie and Julia :) 

This morning we learned about arte pre-colombino with artisan, Eduardo Baltazar Huaman Aquino.

Friday, June 13, 2014

We completed our service project!

Thoughts from Ivana about Thursday

You, as friends and family, are probably anxiously staring at your computer screens and viciously blinking cursors in order to gain a glimpse of what we, your daughters, did yesterday, who it was that we met, and how we have been feeling overall. To satisfy this strong curiosity you all must be feeling, I will take a few moments to describe to you how I spent my day yesterday with the hopes of giving you a clear image of what we have seen and done. The following is my attempt to open each of your individual monitors (or laptops) to a world that lies thousands of miles away, a place of enchantment and hospitality, filled with people who not only understand their surroundings, but who are constantly at one with those simple spirits that litter the nighttime skies, morning clouds and gentle afternoon breezes and swirling clouds of mountain dirt.

Yesterday, Bri and I had the amazing experience of being LOD's (leaders of the day). As yesterday's leaders, Bri and I focused on the garbage clean up in the garden as well as the painting of the surrounding fences and a mural near the kitchen. It was a difficult task to organize everything, considering that one of our team members (Ellie) was sick; thus, we needed to encourage all of our group members to compensate for one less helping hand. Even so, Bri and I achieved our goals fairly well. For instance, I was able to speed up the process of the garbage clean up through a game in which the sixth graders competed to clean various areas of the school garden. The game was both fun and educational because it taught the sixth graders to value their surroundings and take care of/ appreciate their environment. In addition, we made great headway on the mural since we sketched the outlines on the wall and colored the backgrounds (the theme of the various caricatures is based on sanitation/maintaining healthy habits). Lastly, we weeded the garden (Mami, I don't know how you have done it for all these years-- grass is stubborn...I so appreciate your green thumb) and added nice details (like painted rocks) to make the garden prettier. 

After a hard day of work, we went to the lodge to witness a local Shaman perform a ritual to Mother Earth. He spoke of the importance of taking care of Pachamama and we asked for Mother Earth's blessings. He also, using the gifts that we chose, was able to tell each of us our fortunes. The discussions that occurred in addition to the local rituals also opened my mind. It was interesting for me to hear his perspective on religion, democracy and the differences between North American vs. South American culture. After completing the rituals, we went outside and burned the gifts in order to feed Mother Earth. 

However, one of the highlights of my day yesterday was eating dinner with my host family, Mama Juana and her two daughters Lusma (age 18) and Mariela (age 3). On top of DELICIOUS food, we laughed at my uniquely corny "Ivana" jokes, looked at pictures (Bridget, Tyler and I had a particular interest in seeing pictures of Lusma's novio, Marco), and just had a great time enjoying each other's company.

This trip has been incredible for me so far and it is hard for me to believe that the service portion is coming to a close. There has been bonding among both groups--the KPS sisterhood and within the local families.  My favorite part of this trip so far has been the constant feeling of knowing that I am home--that, as the Shaman said, we are all "sons and daughters of the universe." With beautiful mountains surrounding us (Daddy, you'd love it!), with clouds that gently brush past the tips of mountains, and with a proud sun and a humble moon that know how to illuminate the earth in order to define each blade of grass or distant patch of snow, Peru has not only been an adventure but a powerful blend of an Incan past with a blooming present that belongs to a strong, defiant and proud people.

To end, I need to take a moment to "focus" on a promise to my little Peruvian Posse (Eric, I wish you could meet them!). :) So, here it goes:

Michael, Julia, Frank, Manivel, Michael, Maria Celeste, Alyssa, Natalie, Angela, Rocio, Reina, Zayna, Fabiana, Chimo, Sergio, Marco, Kevin, Arnold, Saidi, Emily, Mariela, Mayumi, Sumaida, Iyadi, Julian, Carlos, Elvis, Andres, Fabricio, Juan Davi, Elizabeth, Sammy, Adela, Ervin, Carla, Isabel, Celia, Ariana, Anabel, Diana, Sadi, Arlet, Thalia, Vanesa, Camila, Natalie, Carmen, Jose, y Rafael tienen un mensaje muy importante para ustedes: Feliz dia a todos y feliz Ollantaytambo.

PS- mom and dad Pastro, Bri says hi!! :)

Our leaders of the day assist with some hand washing.

Brianna and Erin are making great progress on the mural.

Ivana is preparing our next blog post with a few helpers.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Day 2: the mural highlighting the food pyramid and steps for washing hands takes shape

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wednesday in Ollantaytambo

Aside from the slight delays on the way here to the beautiful Ollantaytambo it was completely worth it to see the picture-perfect mountains that we woke up to this morning. The long plane ride, to the other plane ride that got cancelled, to the bus ride were all very scenic; however, looking out off the side of the road and seeing the true beauty of the natural valleys was worth the wait. Today, we had some fresh eggs and toast to start off our day which then was followed by a day of service. We went to the local primary school and cleaned up the patio area and then left for a lunch with our host families and chaperones, who helped greatly with our Spanish. They were very inviting and soon enough, they were teaching us the other languages of the village. We went back to work for a few hours and closed the day with a reflection and then a nice dinner with the host families,this time depending on our own Spanish. They helped us out tremendously and some of them had English speakers staying at their houses too, which helped greatly. Overall, it was a very memorable day. 

Note from the chaperones:
This blog post was written by Steffi, who was leader of the day with Bridget. In the morning, Bridget will be posting some of her photos. They did a terrific job planning our work today and keeping everyone excited about our tasks.  

Our walk home from school today.

The view from the school patio!

Painting the fence...

A fresh coat of paint for the fence at the school.

Ariana and Brianna are planning the design for the mural!

Our first work day begins, cleaning up the school yard.

Bridget and Tyler with a helper in the school yard.

The view on route to Ollantaytambo. Spectacular!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Landed in Cusco!

Hello friends and family of the Kent Place Peru program! 

We just got word from our instructor in Peru and the students and faculty have arrived after a brief flight delay.  They will begin updating the blog once they are settled in, but their WLS adventure is off to a great start!  Feel free to call 303-679-3412 with any questions! 

All the best,

Maria Selde
Program Coordinator

Monday, June 9, 2014

We are on our way! Testing our Blog posting skills with a picture of Erin and Ivana!