Hello family and friends of the Gilman and Bryn Mawr program in Peru,
The group is all checked in for their flights from Cusco to Lima and are waiting at the airport to board. All flights are on time so far and everyone is in good spirits and excited to arrive home! We will update this blog if there are any schedule changes or delays.
Please don't hesitate to reach out to the WLS office at 303-679-3412 with any questions or concerns.
Thank you for your continued trust and support,
Student Travel Manager
Our final day began in Ollantaytambo. At eight we ate breakfast and proceeded to prepare ourselves for the day. Some of us were tired given the night before there was endless and loud music coming from the city. After breakfast, we took a hike to a mountain side overseeing the small city. On this mountain side we found old Inca buildings which use to be storage units for materials from those buildings. We could see the entire city, and we subsequently took pictures of the beautiful landscape. After about an hour, our group descended to the city to go shopping. We bought a multitude of gifts for our families and souvenirs for ourselves. After shopping we left for Cusco City and along our way we stopped for lunch. Before entering the city, we took a short story at Sacsay Huaman which overlooked all of Cusco. After our quick visit, we finally entered the city, and at the hotel we did the candle circle. The activity officially marked the end of our work with the World Leadership School. In the activity we told each other what we had taken from the experience and what we had left behind. Some also learned to appreciate what they had in the USA while leaving behind their preconceived notions of Peru. We ended the day with a fun dinner in the city and left for our hotel afterwards. As a group, we had learned a great deal of lessons to bring home, and we are confident that the experience has changed us for the better. Tomorrow we leave for the United States. See you soon!
Today we woke up to a chilly morning with some light rain. We layered up and gathered for breakfast at 8am. After breakfast we were given roughly 30 minutes to gather our final thoughts and present our leadership stories that we had been working on to the group. The stories were each unique, leaving us with a sense of inspiration, sadness, and insight into how leadership can impact people. After the stories, we rushed off to the train station to catch a train to Machu Picchu. The atmosphere at the station was strangely fast paced, it had the hustle and bustle that you would expect to see in American cities. Following the hour and 45 minute train ride alongside a river snaking through the mountains, we arrived in the city of Ollantaytambo. We walked through the colorful tourist city to wait in line to catch the bus to the Sacred Valley. As the bus climbed up the mountain it afforded us a great view of the surrounding mountains. Once at the top, we got in line to enter the ancient city and met up with our tour guide for the day. When we got through the gate, we went to the highest point in the city. As I write this summary with the sounds of celebration coming from the city outside, I recognize once again how fortunate we are to be having this experience. Soon enough we will be back in our homes worlds away from what is in front of us right now, so I hope that we take it all in in these last few days here and finish our journey strong.
Today we woke up from Villa Hermosa and packed all of our things and walked to breakfast. There was a resident monkey and parrot walking around us and everyone took plenty of pictures. We had a fried egg, fried banana, muffins, and coffee and bread. We then said our goodbyes and left. We went shopping at local shops in Puerto Maldonado and plenty of kids got some stuff. We then went to the airport and went through security as necessary. We flew from Puerto Maldonado to Cusco. We then landed, got our stuff, and got in the van to leave. The ride was an hour and 40 minutes. Our current hotel, Las Orquideas, is very cool. Many think it's their favorite. We went out to dinner at a very nice place and everyone had an option of grilled chicken with rice and veggies or a beef dish with rice and veggies as well. Afterwards came tea and cake. We walked back, did "ANCHOR", and went to sleep.
Today we woke up at 6:50 in the Saona Lodge. We got ready for our breakfast at 7:30 which consisted of eggs, ham, cheese, bread, butter, and jam. My favorite part about the breakfast there was the eggs. They were cooked perfectly and tasted delicious. After breakfast we left to go kayaking and tree climbing at Wasai Tours. We met our guides Cesar and Jesús who showed us around the farming area of the Lodge. After seeing various fruits and plants, we headed for tree climbing and kayaking. The tree we climbed was around 150 ft. tall, and we had ropes that we used to go up and down the tree. After our group climbed the tree, we went kayaking. This was the most fun part because we got to go in the middle of the river and stop momentarily on the shores. After our activities, we went back to Villa Hermosa where we had dinner at 5:30 and our daily "ANCHOR" activity. After that, we went to our rooms and talked with each other until 9:30. We look forward to what tomorrow brings us, but until then, adios.
Jaron y Nick
For the ninth day of our Peruvian journey, we left the Monte Amazonico lodge to return to the Infierno village. We started the day with breakfast at 7:30. Shortly after finishing breakfast we got on a boat for a 45 minute boat ride back to the city of Puerto Maldonado. After disembarking from the boat, we said goodbye to our tour guide, Donald, and got in the van for our long and bumpy ride through the Peruvian backroads. We arrived at the school around 10 o'clock to begin our service work. Half the group finished up the benches, applying a coat of weather resistant paint, while the other half played handball and soccer with the kids. After about two hours of work and playtime, we gathered in the cafeteria of the school for the goodbye assembly. The students and faculty sang songs in their native language and the Gilman and Bryn Mawr students played musical chairs, with Max emerging as the victor. Both the Peruvian and American national anthems were sung and the faculty thanked us for our service work. Afterwards, we went to our respective homestays for our final lunch with our host families. After our last meal, we Sid our goodbyes, and spent time walking through the community, playing baseball in the fields, drinking coco juice, and frequenting the local establishments. Our afternoon concluded with a long walk back to the shelter for an evening of rest. Upon our arrival at the shelter, some group members discovered unwanted guests in their luggage, including a tarantula and a possum. We finished our day with a meal consisting of carrot soul and spaghetti with beef and mushrooms. We are looking forward to a day of fun activities tomorrow.
From today's group leaders,
George and Simeon
Day 8. No food, water running out. Morale - shaky but we'll go with it. Just kidding! Ha ha. Hi families. Twas 4am when we were awoken to a faint "hola" at the door by our amigos. Groggy yet eager to appreciate nature, our group of a dozen and 5 hopped into a quaint motorboat that took us deep into the mazes of tropicana. The moonlight and gentle guidance of Johan set the mood for a day of wondrous festivities. On shore, we set foot on a journey to some hidden canals where canoes were waiting. We hopped on a canoe and went through a shallow swamp, where we saw some black cayman and monkeys. This swamp would eventually lead into a hidden oasis of palms, sun, and otters. Additionally, we spotted some birds, beaver, insects, water, and dirt. Our guide told us about how there are electric eels and anacondas deep down in the water. Pretty freaky, but we powered through. Next we viewed the World Cup final back at the island cabin with foreign commentary. By the time we arrived back to Carlos Lodge, it was only around 11:30! Then, we met at 2:45 and went zip lining in the forest. The views of trees as we went zipping by were magnificent. The skywalk was neat also. After we got back to the lodge we rested for a short while and then ate a meal of orange soup, pasta, meat, and rice pudding. Then we went on a night nature walk. We saw many spiders and 2 leaf bugs! Alan, Adam, and Lucie tasted termites. Natural food is the best food! Apparently they tasted like wood. Also, many triangle chocolate bars were consumed. Great day, miss all of our people back home.
Xoxo, Grace and Quinn
We started the day with an excellent breakfast and then walked to the school around 9:30. Between 9:30 and 1pm, we nearly finished the bench with the help of Bilmer. During our break we played baseball with the equipment that was brought down by the first Gilman Peru program. On the way back to the camp we witnessed Pablo being silly and attempting to place his cat on several group members heads. Once we returned to camp, Johan pointed out several tarantulas near our rooms and then we had dinner. Also today was Max's birthday so we had muffins to celebrate after dinner.
Leaders: Adam & Max.
Today we had a later breakfast that usual, which allowed us to get some much needed rest. We had eggs, bread, yogurt, kiwi, pineapple, and juices. After the scrumptious morning meal, we treaded to the school to keep working on the unfinished benches. Progress was decent and there was a good amount of trial and error concerning where to dig the correct holes. After a few hours, the Gilman and Bryn Mawr students played fútbol and games with the Peruvian children. At 1:00pm we headed off to lunch with our homestay children. Many games were played during this afternoon break. Once the clock struck 2:30pm, everyone met at the school to start the "infierno challenge". We split into four groups and then ventured around the community to complete various challenges and activities with the Peruvian families. Some of the challenges included cracking nuts, Amazonas dancing, cooking Juane, and tattooing with natural paints. At 5:00pm we all returned to the school before walking back to Saona. When we got back around 5:30pm, we showered, rested, and proceeded to eat our daily meal consisting of pasta, chicken, pesto, soup, and the Juane we hade made. After we were full and content, we had our daily ANCHOR meeting, There were few things said at the ANCHOR meeting, which showed how tired everyone was. The new leaders were assigned for the next day, who were Max and Adam. We believe this is a power combo because of their friendship and hard-working traits. Up to this point, the trip has been interesting and eye-opening. We are sending love back to America. Nighty Nite!
Nick and Coyle