Thursday, July 5, 2012

Posts from Buggy and Alex!

Yesterday we woke up in our hotel, Las Orquideas in Ollanta, around 5. Everyone ate some breakfast there (bread, yogurt, granola, juice, tea, and coffee) until it was time to leave and walk down the street to the train station. Inca Rail's slogan advertised a "mystic experience," which I can't really tell you much about because I was asleep for most of it. We did get to pass by the school in Pizca Cucho and see the mural which was pretty cool and Grace made sure to tell half the train that we were responsible for it. Once we got off the train, we took a 25 minute bus ride up to Machu Pichu. I'm pretty sure hiking was an option but no one was interested after the nine-hour one to Peruvian Shores. I'm sure plenty of people have said this, Machu Pichu was honestly one of the most incredible places I've ever been. We had a tour guide with a little green flag who Kennedy completely discredited after the tour was over, but we all liked his flag and the way he said "Did you know that you guys?" after every couple sentences. Also, couple of our lunches got confiscated on the way in, but everyone was cool and shared and we had a solid lunch in a spot out of view of the whistle-blowers. After we left, we took another train ride back and this time I got to drink some the the peach juice that I really hope is sold in the states because that stuff is seriously so good. Dinner was at a pizza place in the square where I've been told we ate seven, but I'm just going to say a ton. Morgan decided she wanted some cake afterward and led us sprinting to the nearest place. (To my father who constantly accuses me of exaggerating, she LITERALLY sprinted). Back at the hotel, we played sardines, kind of like Hide-and-Go-Seek except you hide with the people you find. Some of the hotel employees pitched in and made things even more fun. The night ended when we found Henry and Alex up on the roof, looked at the stars for a while, and then went to bed. All in all, it was a solid day.

-Buggy Stallings

Two days ago on Tuesday was our last day in Piscacucho. We started off by finishing up our service project at the school, which included painting the kitchen and bathrooms, cleaning up the plaster that was left over, and playing with the kids. Me and Henry then went and packed our bags back at our home stay and walked with Gil and Sarah back to the school for the Pachamanka with Maquise and Josue. The Pachamanka was sort of like a feast in which all of our families fixed food like guinea pig, beef, chicken, potatoes, and rice. The best part was when Beto, Adela's brother who we worked with at the school, brought Coke and Inca Cola. After the Pachamanka we said goodbye and took some pictures with our families and the kids. Then we went to the weaving community at Patakancha which is supported by Kennedy's NGO. We bought goods from them and then went back to Ollantaytambo. Once we got back we went to dinner and ate chicken or pasta which was pretty good. Then we all went back to the hotel we had stayed in the first day in Ollantaytambo and went to bed. - Alex

Monday, July 2, 2012

I heard it was 107 in Nashville.  Here I have on long pants and a long sleeve shirt over my short sleeve shirt because the north wind is making it quite chilly.  Overall the weather has been great.  It gets quite windy every afternoon for some reason.

Parents:  You can be very proud of your children.  We have the most cooperative bunch of students here.  They have been flexible, supportive of each other, hard working, into each program that they have attended, and taken their responsibilities very seriously.  They have done a fantastic job on the improving the school.  They have used their talents to bless others.  They have laughed together and gotten along so well.  There is not a "bad apple" in the bunch.  Thank you for sharing them with us.

I felt like a real Peruvian today.  When we broke from the school to return to our homes for lunch, my family was in the field picking squash.  Squash here is the shape and texture of a pumpkin.  The father (he's been at his job out of town up until now) was here as well as their two sons from Cusco, daughters-in-laws, and a couple of other workers.  I got to work side by side with them.  They would cut the squash from the stem and put two or three in a large bag to be carried up to the house.  I assume someone is going to come by and take them to market.  They laughed at me at first because I didn't have the technique down to carry the bags on my shoulders instead of my lower back.  I finally got it on the 4th or 5th bag and I told them in english, "I've got it!".  They didn't understand a word I said just as I don't understand any thing from them, but it was a great experience.

Happy Anniversary to Kathy tomorrow.  Thank you for putting up with me for 19 years.  I miss you and the kids very much.

See everyone on Saturday.

Greg Eubanks

So yesterday was Day 9 and it started off at Peruvian Shores, the hot springs we went to after our nine hour hike. We had pancakes with caramel drizzle for breakfast and they were really good. After that, we packed up our tents and all of our overnight clothes and got onto the bus that was going to take us to Ollanta. The ride was three hours long but we got sack lunches that had hard boiled eggs in them. The egg smell might have been what had made almost everyone feel carsick. Once we arrived in Ollanta, we had time to relax before our next activity, and so everyone sat in the shade and had gelato. Our activity was at Kennedy's office in Ollanta and we had to split ourselves up into three groups, the Presidents, Vice-Presidents, and Secretaries. In groups we had to sort through and organize ten cards that addressed different world wide issues that need to be solved, such as hunger, sanitations, economics problems, women's rights, etc. Each group had different ideas about what global issue was more important but as a whole we decided that Happiness would be the by-product when or if these issues were fixed.

 Right after that we went to dinner Puka Rumi for the second time on the trip and had "make your own burritos," which were delicious. We then played 20 Questions about people in the Ensworth community on the way back home to Piscacucho. Once in Piscacucho and after Sarah, Alex, Henry, and I had successfully finished our long trek back to our homestays, Sarah and I helped teach our dad and sister English before going to bed early.

Gil Green
Yesterday we spent the entire day hiking. We all woke up around 5 in the morning to catch our 6 o'clock bus. After our hour and a half bus ride we arrived at the beginning of the hike. There we met our 11 horses that were going to carry our stuff for us on the hike. We then began the 9 hour hike. The start of the hike was downhill and we all didn't think much of it, until we began the uphill part of the hike. We hiked uphill for 3 and a half hours, from 12,000 feet to 15,000 feet; a lot of us dealt with altitude sickness and headaches. When we finally reached the top we were all exhausted, but we still had 4 hours of downhill until we reached the hot springs. We stopped for a long lunch after about 30 minutes of downhill. From there we hiked about 3 and a half more hours. Finally we reached the hot springs right around sunset. We all set up our tents and then showered for the first time in about 4 days and got in the hot springs. We had spaghetti for dinner, although a few people went to sleep before dinner because it was so late and everyone was so tired. Although everyone was so glad we made it to the hot springs in one day instead of two.


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Heading out for the trek

Two days ago the group was able to finish up the plastering an paint
over it as well. Also we finished the school entrance sign and part of
the children's mural.

Yesterday we took a little break for a festival in Ollantaytambo. The
children of  the ciyt and the surrounding Andean villages along with
some actors put on a play about the founding of the city and how it
got its name. After the play, which was two hours, we went to the
market and got fried trout and popped corn for lunch. As we were
leaving the city we saw lots of dancing and lots of foreigners there
for the festivities.

Last night we had a ceremony were a shaman came in and we had a very
spiritual experience. After he had put all of the ingredients on a
paper sheet, with our help and explaining the meaning of each key
competent he put it in the fire and sent good vibes to the Apu

This morning we are headed out for an eight hour hike to the hot
springs and will be camping overnight in the mountains.  We will check
in as soon as possible! (probably Sunday night.)

-Sarah Crowe

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursday Morning
Hey its Mary Rae even though its Thursday I’m going to talk about
yesterday. So yesterday Blair and i got up around 7:30, had a really
good breakfast of pancakes and tea with our homestay family. Then we
walked to the school for work. We’ve been working on improving the
kitchen at the school. So yesterday we plastered the outside. It was
pretty hard work. We have to make the plaster ourselves, so we would
get some of the mix from the bag and then go into the house and fill
the bucket of mix with water. After we finished work Blair and I went
home to eat lunch. Afterwords we came back to the school and split up
into groups of five. Five of us went on a hike, and the other five
weaved baskets. I went on the hike, and it was really beautiful.
Truthfully it was more of a walk. We just walked along the road for a
while and then we went on this side path, where on the left there was
a cliff and at the bottom was the river. Then on the right there were
peoples farms. We encountered about 5 bulls on our path and had to
walk around them. Our hike ended at the Incan ruins were we walked
around and ate snacks. The ruins were so beautiful! The food here is
also really good, everything is made from scratch, and we get tea at
every meal which is my favorite part. The only bad thing about the
food is that we get served huge portions and its rude not to finish,
and you feel pretty sick after your done. But i love it here
everything is so beautiful.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 26, 2012
Peru has been wonderful so far! We arrived in Cusco on Sunday morning after over 24 hours of traveling, which included a 3-hour delay in Houston. By the time we landed, most of us were running on only a few hours of sleep and were both relieved and excited to begin our time in Peru.
We met up with our World Leadership School guides, Tai and Kennedy, in the Cusco airport and boarded a bus to Ollantaytambo. On the bus ride over, we saw the beautiful Peruvian countryside, which was filled with green fields surrounded by snowcapped mountains. Wild flowers ran along the road and the sky was the brightest shade of blue. When we reached Ollantaytambo, we settled into our hostel rooms and explored the town in groups. Afterwards we had several leadership activities and ate a great meal at a local restaurant.
            The next day we went white-water rafting on a tributary of the Amazon. Despite it being winter in Peru, the weather was quite pleasant. After rafting, we moved out of our hostel and headed to Piscacucho where we met our homestay families. I am rooming with Mary Rae, and our homestay family, consisting of a mom, dad, and two young sons, were very welcoming. They fed us popcorn and spaghetti while we all played card games around the dinner table. Although the language barrier is troubling, we are still able to have a great time together.
            Today is our first day working on the local elementary school. We began the day sanding off several walls in preparation for a mural. Then our WLS guide, Kennedy, informed us that there is currently a nation-wide teacher strike, which isn’t uncommon in Peru, and that the kids haven’t been able to attend school. After hearing this news, a few of us got together and began teaching local kids, who were hanging out near the near the school, basic English in a classroom. Now we are working in shifts between sanding walls and teaching.
            I can’t wait to continue learning the culture, working on the school, and exploring all that Peru has to offer. I can already tell that I will miss this place!


Day two

Today was a lovely second day. We started the morning rafting the Urubamba River. It was a lot of fun; Henry and Buggy got soaked but the rest of us weren't too wet. After a picnic lunch by the river we came to Piscacucho to meet our homestay families. The students are settled in, and were playing with their host siblings or eating dinner when we went around and visited them this afternoon. Piscacucho is absolutely spectacular and we hope to be able to get some pictures up tomorrow!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Students are in Cusco

Hello family and friends! The students from Ensworth have arrived in Cusco. They were met by the WLS coordinator Adela and WLS instructors Kennedy and Tai. They will head down the Scared Valley to Ollantaytambo. They have a 2.5 hours drive to Ollanta. They will have lunch in Ollanta and spend the rest of the day relaxing and settling into their new environment. They will update the blog later this evening.

Erin Lasky
Program Director
Hii Parents
We received the following message from Greg Eubanks last night: "We got to Lima about 1:30. By the time we got thru customs and found a place to camp it was about 3:00. We had lots of company.  There were people sleeping everywhere. Slept for a couple hours on the floor and most are getting some breakfast now." The group is now on their way to Cuzco and we'll update the blog later in the day once they arrive in Ollantaytambo.
Ross Wehner