Cuzco

On Sunday July 14th, we departed for Cuzco. After wrapping up the amazing week in Pacifico it was time for us to explore another part of Peru!

It was Daniels first trip also!
It was Daniels first trip also!

Upon arrival, we were greeted by Apolo who took us to our retreat house, where we would spend the rest of our day drinking coca tea and acclimatizing to the high altitude. We also needed to prepare for the early morning ahead of us.

We began our journey to macchu pichu at 3am with a bumpy bus ride to a train station which would get us closer to the town of aquas calientes and macchu pichu.

After some fun conversations and a final bus ride up, we were given a tour of the lost city. We learned many things about the Incas including their ways of life, religion and cuisine.
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The afternoon included shopping at the many markets in aquas calientes where the participants could practice bargaining firsthand.
The evening ended with warm soup as temperatures dropped below freezing in Cuzco city at night.

Our final day in Cuzco began with wonderful sun shine and smiling, happy participants. We drove up the mountains for a picturesque morning of horseback riding. This was the highlight for many of us.

DSCF9188DSCF9190At the top of the mountain, we also explored a cave!

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We spent the afternoon exploring Cuzco city and ended the night with a traditional Peruvian dinner and entertainment.

Just like that, our time in Cuzco flew quicker than we could imagine.
Goodbye Peru and thanks for a memorable two weeks! I’m certain many of us will be back soon.

– Jamila Satani

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A volunteer story

Today is the final day of my time here in Lima and let me begin by saying that this trip was a whirlwind journey! I came to Peru on June 7th to begin adventure of a lifetime. I will begin by introducing myself. My name is Afton McKee and I am from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I came to Peru with my school, the University of Manitoba through the Faculty of Education. I am a 23 year old girl with a passion for teaching and education. Though I was the only student from the Faculty of Education, I was able to come with a group of Nursing students and I am now proud to say that I am an honorary nurse!photo 1

Prior to my departure, I was unsure of what my role would be on this trip. I knew that I would be spending time in the Pacifico de Villa PRONOEI and also helping to run an after school program called Youth in Action. I was very excited, but nervous for what my travels would bring me. I knew that Solidarity in Action seemed like a reputable organization which the University of Manitoba approved, so I decided not to worry and to trust that I was in good hands.

When we arrived in Lima, we were greeted by a man who was smiling from ear to ear. I recognized him from the Solidarity in Action website and I knew that this was Larry Shuttleworth. He greeted us warmly, as though we were his own family and I immediately felt welcome. We were brought to our accommodations at a Retreat House, as our flight arrived late and we were off to bed. The next day we got to see all of the places that the group would be volunteering at. For me, the most interesting spot was the Pacifico de Villa PRONOEI. I had heard about their educational conditions and desire to learn more pedagogy, so I was eager to begin. I also got to meet a wonderful young man named Daniel who would be my personal translator.

photo 2photo 3As the trip progressed, I began my placement at the Pacifico de Villa PRONOEI as well as observing how classrooms operate in different areas of Chorrillos. I was able to visit Cristo Rey, a semi-private school that seemed to be most comparable with a Canadian public school. I stopped by Capullitos, a public school and Santa Rosa PRONOEI in San Genero II. Every place I went to greeted me with a warm welcome. In Cristo Rey, I was embraced with open arms and even invited to teach multiple English classes from kindergarten to grade 11. The Pacifico de Villa PRONOEI and Santa Rosa PRONOEI even invited me to lead a professional development session. I discussed how they could make better use of their classroom materials as well as classroom management. I shared many personal stories with these women and was so thankful for the glimpse into their lives that I was able to take.photo 4

There was one particular woman from the Pacifico de Villa PRONOEI who truly seemed to touch my heart. Her name was Flora and she taught a class of 3 year olds. Not only did Flora welcome me with open arms into her classroom, but she also invited me into her home so I could see how she and her family lived. Flora was extremely open with me and eager to learn whatever I had to teach her. She already had such a passion for teaching and a desire to expand her already diverse pedagogy. Flora was a remarkable woman and I feel so honoured to meet her and to have shared so many experiences with her.

On this trip I have had the privilege of meeting so many amazing and inspirational people. As I am an only child, Daniel took on the role not only as my translator, but also as my Peruvian little brother. I was able to meet a young man from Pacifico de Villa who had a passion for music and a love of people, especially young people. The principal from Cristo Rey, who welcomed me into his school, was another one of those inspiring people. While discussing the fundamentals of education with him and Larry, I was able to challenge my current educational beliefs and expand them further. He was a profound man who helped me to grow not only as an educator, but also as a person. The final person who I would like to acknowledge is Larry Shuttleworth, the executive director of Solidarity in Action. He is a man who is truly passionate about helping people. It was through his organization that I was able to journey to Peru and to help others. It was through his hard work and endless drive that I was able to be so embraced into the communities that I visited.photo 5

This trip to Lima has not only changed and evolved my educational perspectives, but also developed my outlook on life. I have such a greater appreciation for all of the luxuries that I have been granted, everything from clean drinking water to having a sewage system and a clean place to lay my head at night. These are all things that I took for granted in Canada that I have come to see the importance of here in Peru. Though many of the people I met lived in such poverty, they were still happy. The children had smiling faces and were excited to see everyone who came into their community.photo 4(1)

Tomorrow I will travel to Cuzco for the last bit of my trip. Though I am wildly excited to venture to Machu Picchu, it feels bitter sweet to leave such a wonderful place. I have had the privilege of spending 2 ½ weeks of my life here in Lima, and I am so thankful that I was able to have such an amazing experience.

Afton McKee

Written on June 22nd, 2013

Leaving Pacifico

Diverse.

That word describes this group, best. We had ages varying from 21 years old up until 84 years old. But somehow, everyone worked together so well.

Everyone is taking off for Cusco in the morning. They are all taking with them, lots of memories and a sense of accomplishment. With Cusco in their minds, and Pacifico in their hearts, they set out for a new experience. After yesterday’s successful event, we were all excited to visit the community today for hopefully not the last time. We had a small farewell ceremony with community members, participants and translators. There was music, food and lots of children!

Jhoselyn and Jamila during yesterdays event.
Jhoselyn and Jamila

It was very humbling to see everyone spend time with the people they have made connections with. The kids were sad to leave the participants, there were a lot of hugs and kisses being shared. They showed us a kind of love that can’t be shown through words.

The final dinner was a good recap of the entire week, because the participants laughed and “awwww’d” at the slideshow Julie, Heather and I put together for them.

Pictures can only say so much about the experience. We go through life, missing the little things, being busy with our own schedules…and these kids taught us how to play again, how to live a little. IMG_1357

IMG_1497IMG_1503I hope it is not the last time that these volunteers visit Pacifico de Villa.

 

I am Thankful to the following people for always having an open mind and putting in their best of efforts, everyday.

-Larry shuttleworth, Avantika Mathur, Nabila Kanji, Heather Law, Julie Ingriselli, Alex thompson, Guillermo Serpa, Diego Gutierrez, Jhoselyn Manturano, Daniel Contrerras and Jose Remierez.

 

Cusco welcomes all the participants.

-Mansi Parasher

 

 

Togetherness

Our day had an interesting start, it involved at least 6 to 7 people holding brooms and creating an assembly line that looked like a dance recital. We walked into the community center in Pacifico and it had been flooded from the rain. Brooms were the only thing available, so we made the most of the situation. Everyone worked together to get the place ready for the event at 2 pm today.

The after math
The after math

It was truly amazing to see how everything came together today. Posters, gift bags, prizes, presentations, and much more were put together by our group.

Jamila, explaining her station
Jamila, explaining her station

I also learned today that the community is just as excited as us, to see change for a better tomorrow. So many people came out to the event and everyone participated in learning about each of the stations that we had set up.

They learned about the benefits of having proper hand washing practices, they learned about germs and better sewage alternatives, and the children learned about cleanliness by cleaning up the local park and filling up at least 20 bags of garbage!

Alex, with the children, cleaning up the park
Alex, with the children, cleaning up the park

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(left to right) Julie, Jhoselyn, Me, and Jose.
(left to right) Julie, Jhoselyn, Me, and Jose.

Everyone returned home at the end of the day, very happy and very satisfied by the way the event went. There were raffle prizes, and the community members won things likes garbage posts, water buckets, hygiene gift bags, and more.

At the end of the day, it was nice to sit down with the community members and have dinner together.

Even though there were ups and downs to the day, it was a very successful day. I am truly proud of each and everyone for the accomplishments they have made in this past week.

Tomorrow, the group has to say goodbye to the community. Or a “See you later”…?

– Mansi Parasher

 

Purpose

“A purpose of life is a life full of purpose.”

I think that is a quote that has always stuck with me. That is one of the reasons that I enjoy being here. There is purpose to my day, as soon as I wake up. I know that I am supposed to be here, doing what I do.

Today, Larry Shuttleworth shared beautiful words with us. His dedication and passion for SIA shines through whenever he speaks. His message was clear. What you do in Peru does NOT have to stay just here. Take it home with you, because it is too wonderful and too human to just happen here. Too human…too human, What does a human experience mean?

Nabila, polishing a new seat for the kid's see-saw in the playground.
Nabila, polishing a new seat for the kid’s see-saw in the playground.

It is the ability to see the beauty in every single thing, person and place.

Rustic beauty
Rustic beauty

A piece of wood deteriorates away over the years, the paint still hangs on for life. As the years go by, we may lose our enthusiasm, we might lose our purpose, we might even lose ourselves. But one thing we can hang on to, is our memories and the impact we made on other lives.

Tomorrow is a big day for all of us. As a group we are putting together a health campaign that will educate people about a healthy lifestyle. Garbage posts and the construction of it, will be introduced to the public. There will be a clean up of a playground taking place. Informative booths will be telling people about the importance of washing hands and cleanliness. This group has worked very hard all week to make this happen.

Garbage post construction
Garbage post construction
Lindsay and Hilda prepping for tomorrow.
Lindsay and Hilda prepping for tomorrow.

The passion and time that every one of us has put in has been inspirational. Everyone has a different story. Everyone comes from different lifestyles. But when we’re in Pacifico de Villa, we forget all differences and become a team.

These are just people doing what they love to do.

“You have to choose to be happy.” – Nabila

-Mansi Parasher