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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Kickin’ it in Cusco – Community Service Peru

Hola Padres y Amigos,

 When we left you last, we were writing from the Amazon Jungle.  Since then, we have traveled to Puerto Maldonado and are now in the picturesque city of Cusco. To pick up from where we last left off, and to offer the complete story of what we’ve been up to, we must return to the jungle.  We spent our last full day with our service partner at the eco-travel tourism group continuing to clear trails and to finish painting the signs we had been making.  We were very proud to place the signs in the holes that we had dug for them and can’t even begin to put into words how seeing our work completed gave us all such a huge sense of accomplishment!  

 That afternoon, we enjoyed a once in a lifetime experience!  Our much beloved guides, Robin and Dino, taught us how to build rafts to float down the Latorre River. Every trip member eagerly paid attention while learning the tricks to building the perfect raft that could sustain four people.  Once water ready, in groups of four, we paddled down the river trying to race one another and though at different points we all led the pack in the end, it was Dino’s team that won the race!          

  The next morning, some very early risers (Claudia, Allison D, Allison S and Lia, along with Lana and our guides) enjoyed an optional Macaw feeding.  They learned that Macaws feed on bugs that live in clay, and the clay that they eat provides the nourishment they need to keep their feathers shiny and vibrant.  On the way back, they were all were stunned by a beautiful and picturesque sunrise. 

 Later that morning our group bid farewell to our jungle haven and we made our way to the town of Puerto Maldonado.  We enjoyed a hearty Peruvian lunch and explored the local markets. That night we had dinner at a karaoke restaurant where Ally B, Michelle and Julia were some of the first brave souls to serenade the group with their angelic voices.  After all giving our vocal cords from exercise, we decided to let a bit of dancing fever take over as we headed to the local disco to enjoy some time on the dance floor.  Lexi, who boogied around the dance floor and ensured she danced with everyone, won our Peruvian Zulu award the next night.  

 This brings us to our current location of Cusco.  This beautiful city is located 13,000ft above sea level and our amazing hotel is situated on the hillside, with a remarkable view of the city center.  After unpacking, we toured the area taking in all the natural and historical beauty.  Our tour guide even showed us rock sediments that we could slide down and Zach was the first to give it a whirl!  The rest of the group followed right behind. Yesterday, we had our first full day of service at an orphanage.  It is an all girls orphanage with girls ranging in age from 5 years to 16 years.  Although, most of the girls spoke little to no English, it was easy to communicate in other ways.  It was apparent through the staff’s and children’s body language that we were welcomed as soon as we walked in.  Our time was divided between playing with the girls, helping to repair some cabinet doors in the kitchen as well as some general maintenance around the establishment.  A special shout out goes to Maddie and Yuri for their commitment and hard work throughout the day! 

On the way back the trip members wanted to stop by a local market where Max found our trip’s mascot, Curious George, a new accessory; a beautiful blue miniature alpaca sweater! We send all our love to everyone back home!

 Until next time, Adiós por ahora  

The Westcoast Blogger