¡Hola from Peru!
As our trip enters into its last week, we still have tons of activities, service and things to see and do. Our last stop in the Andes Mountains was Puno. Puno is a city which is located beside the world’s highest navigable lake, Lake Titicaca. On Lake Titicaca we had a kayaking excursion. In double kayaks, we paddled along the coasts of the Capachica peninsula. Our final destination was a base camp, where we had the chance to hike up a hill and catch a glimpse of Bolivia. After our small hike, we sat down and enjoyed a traditional meal. Once our meal was finished, we head over to the floating island of Uros and met some of the local people who live on the reed islands. They explained how they make their islands and the history behind their people. It was so cool to learn about and to see. We also had the opportunity to see and buy some of their handmade crafts and tapestries.
We left Puno and flew back to sea level to Lima. In Lima, we stayed in the same hotel as we had stayed in the first few nights when we first arrived in Peru. It almost felt like home. While in Lima, we volunteered at a home for the elderly called San Vicente de Paul. It is a home for elderly people who have no family or do not have a place to live. It is not funded by the government and so they rely on groups like ours to come in and help where we can. The girls helped to brighten the day of many of the women by painting their nails. The women had lots of colors to choose from. The women all left with a huge smile and loved their freshly painted nails. While the ladies painted nails, the boys shined the shoes of some of the gentlemen who lived in the home. While doing the tasks, the trip members had the chance to practice their Spanish and get to know some of the people. Josh was a natural and charmed all of the people he spoke to!
The next morning, we headed back to San Vicente de Paul and played Bingo with the men and women living in the residence. Each trip member sat at a table and helped the people with their cards and let them know which numbers were called. David S had an extremely funny man he was working with, he kept cheating and putting down numbers that were not called so that he would win. We all had a lot of fun.
We said goodbye to Lima and headed to Lunahuna. When we arrived at Lunahuna, we had a fantastic BBQ dinner cooked by Mat (our very own Master Chef) and relaxed for the evening. Lunahuna is a small town that is not used to international tourists. We had quite the welcome! In the morning, we headed to the main square where we were welcomed by the mayor of the city. He explained that every Sunday they have a parade and asked our trip members if they would like to be a part of it. We all agreed! The trip members along with the mayor and other members of the municipal government carried a large Peruvian flag.
They were followed by a marching band. They paraded around the main square and stopped in the center where they were invited to raise the town’s flag. The mayor made a speech about how happy he was to welcome us to the city and thanked us for the service we had been doing around Peru. After the ceremony, we began our service. We hiked to a nearby farm, where we picked avocados. It is very difficult for this farm to sell and distribute its crops. We purchased the avocados we picked and this one purchase was more than the family would have made in two weeks. In the evening, we headed back to the hotel to relax and play games.
The Westcoast Blogger
Are you interested? Check out our 28-day trip for community service in Peru and get involved by its history, culture and people.