Written May 14
Yesterday the participants experienced one of the most amazing man-made creations, Machu Picchu. It is located in the lush mountains just outside the small village of Aguas Calientes. It is such a remote place that there is little road access to this area so it was necessary to take a train. The ride in was picturesque. The train had large windows along the sides and many windows along the roof. It was a great opportunity for participants to relax and enjoy their last big group activity together. Jess Manente shared, “it was a beautiful train ride it definitely contributed to an overall amazing day. It was an incredible experience seeing Machu Picchu! It is like nothing I have ever seen before. I can`t imagine how humans managed to create such an imposing and magnificent settlement with no modern assistance and in such a remote area.“
Many friendship have been forged over the last week and a half. I think many of them will prosper and grow well after this trip is over. An unlikely group of individuals were brought together over an interest in bettering themselves, the world they live in and to better understand it. Due to the large size of our group I think it really helped to debut a broad range of viewpoints and backgrounds which contributed to diverse responses to evening discussion questions.
For the majority of participants it was their first time attending a trip like Solidarity in Action or seeing severe and widespread poverty. I think there were many challenges that were successfully overcome and much personal growth has occurred. I think many of the changes won´t be noticeable until after returning to Canada.
Sarah Szabo had no previous experience working with people who have disabilities but this week she decided to take this opportunity to try working with children who have disabilities. She attended the Laura Alva placement which is a school for children with disabilities. By the end of the week you could see that after visiting this placement a couple of times Sarah´s confidence in her ability to work with children who have special needs has already grown immensely. I think her experience will translate into an increased interest in seeking out opportunities to work with children who have disabilities once she returns to Canada.
The overall experience of this trip has been amazing. This is the third Solidarity in Action trip that I have attended in three years and by far the group of participants that we had this year was the most friendly, loving and cohesive. I am excited to see what kind of changes and growth this trip has inspired in the participants when they get back to Canada. I am expecting great things from this group of inspired individuals. As participant Mansi Parasher philosophized, “The more you let go, the more you find yourself.“ These are words that I feel are very appropriate to describe many of the participants who came to the program with an open mind, gave there all,were willing entertain a variety of different views and therefore received a lot of personal growth in return.