Aldea Yanapay

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On Thursday and Friday Hailey and I instructed and art class for 4-8 year old children. On Thursday we taught the kids to make origami butterflies, fish, and cranes. After the kids made their oragami figures they were given paint to paint their origamis with. After class we had family time to plan each families performance of the Hindu god assigned to them. The performances were to be 30 seconds to three minutes and were meant to present what each family had learned about their god. On friday classes were only to be an hour so each family had time to present their god during the show. During class on friday the kids painted and drew pictures for the hour of class, then went to their families for an hour to finish their performances before the show. The show then lasted for an hour and a half and each group presented their gods with Yuri speaking before and after each performance.

Working with the kids

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We usually wake up around 8:00 am and eat breakfast around 8:30 am. Then we usually take a walk around the city of Cuzco. The city is so lively. There are children dancing to the sound of flutes and drums all around Cuzco. At 1:00 we come back to the hostel were we eat lunch and nap until 3:00 pm. At 3:00 we head towards the school, where I help the children in art. During art class, we draw, paint and make bracelets. The children always have a wonderful time in art class. After art class, all the children gather in a room where they sing songs and talk about this weeks topic in world religions: Hindu gods. After that, I help the children prepare for the final show on the Hindu god Agni. Milk is served to the children at the end. All the volunteers then have a short meeting, where we talk about future projects with the kids.

Arrival at Aldea Yanapay

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Monday, June 2nd, 2014:
After an amazing, well-spent weekend in the ancient Incan ruins of Machu Picchu, we finally were excited to start volunteering again at a completely new and novel location: The Aldea Yanapay after school program in Cusco. One of the first things we noticed was the drastic difference in city life in Cusco versus Urubamba. Since Cusco is a really big tourist city, we felt as though there's definitely a lot less interaction with the locals since you run into so many tourists from all over the place on the streets and at restaurants. Villa Magica, the hostel at which we are staying is absolutely wonderful and relaxing. The hammocks and garden outside is gorgeous and a fun place to hangout and meet all the other volunteers volunteering at Aldea Yanapay but also staying at the hostel as well. We started off our day with the typical delicious Peruvian breakfast consisting of bread, butter, jelly, coca tea, papaya, orange, cereal, oatmeal, etc. Then, from 10am-1pm we usually went outside to explore the streets of Cusco, such as the San Pedro market located just a few blocks away from our hostel. Then, at 1pm we had lunch at the hostel and rested for a while before we went to go volunteer at Aldea Yanapay at 3pm. We volunteered there at the afterschool program from 3pm-8pm. We spent the first two hours in a specialty we were assigned such as homework in the library or games or art. Then, at 5pm, we lined up in our assigned families and went to have the circle of expression. The circle of expression was a great, fun time where all the kids, all the staff, and all the volunteers got together in one room, and on Mondays discussed the theme of the week. This week the theme was Hindu gods so during the circle of expression, Irene, the co-head of the program led the discussion by introducing all the new volunteers to the kids and the other volunteers, then we talked about certain aspects of the Hindu religion with the kids such as certain customs, items, gods, etc. Then after an hour of circle of expression, we got 30 minutes from 6:00-6:30 pm to spend time with our "family" which consisted of kids of similar ages and a few volunteers per family. The families were organized by age so all the eight year olds for example were in the same family. During family time were supposed to discuss the theme of the week with them, so we talked about hindu gods, especially the god Agni-which my family was assigned. In order to keep the kids engaged in the conversation, we had to come up with creative ways of playing games or doing skits. Then, tomorrow we would have prolonged family time and less circle of expression time so we can work on our particular god and create some sort of presentation with the kids that we will present on Friday. It was a super fun time to engage with the kids during our individualized activities from 3-5pm and also from 6-6:30pm during family time. Working with kids is always fun, hilarious, and challenging but very rewarding (: Tomorrow we can't wait to visit Yanapay again!

~Himal

Machu Pichu

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Yesterday we took a train at 6:50 am from Urubamba to Machu Pichu. The Machu Pichu city with hotels and things is not very eventful. Most things here are quite expensive. The town is also not very large and we walked all around it yesterday. There is a river which is on one side of it and it is pretty fun. We went and sat on large rocks on the edge of it while the boys went rock jumping. It is very strange to come here where everyone speaks English when in Urubamba we are some of the only people that do. It is definitely not the cozy Peru we have grown accustomed to and we can not wait to be back with the locals.
Machu Pichu though was quite fun and interesting. We woke up at 3:30 am to get there early and watch the sunrise break over the mountains. Many sunrise Machu Pichu Llama mountain pictures were taken. We then trekked up to the top of Machu Pichu Mountain which was very beautiful and about 2000ft above Machu Pichu. Finally summited a mountain! After almost dying of dehydration we bought expensive water (aka American prices) then set off to explore the Incan city. Got some quality classic Machu Pichu pics. Ran around there forever. Got back and ate all of the Mexican food because every restaurant here has every type of food ever. Also hit up the city for a bit and did some yoga on rocks.

Glaciers and Painting

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On Wednesday and Thursday we painted several of the children's bedrooms at the orphanage Munachay, in the mountains under a glacier which supplies the orphanage with water. Munachay is run off of donations from the orphanage's founder in Germany and has volunteers from Germany working there. The rooms that we painted had marked walls and chipped paint. We repainted two of the rooms the same color and the third room a different color. After painting we tried to help the children with their math homework but it was hard to communicate the answers because of the language barrier. Some of the children didn't have homework so the house mothers just had us quiz them on multiplication and division. They were able to solve some very challenging problems! After the children finished their homework we had an extra hour and a half before the bus left so we hiked to the top of a mountain near the orphanage. Munachay was a very good experience and it was nice to be able to see some self-sustained volunteer organizations in Peru.

-Nick

Day 7: Painting at Santa Rosa!

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On Tuesday we went back to the girls home at Santa Rosa to paint in their outdoor play courtyard. While helping out there the previous days, we noticed that most of the games painted in the courtyard were extremely faded, chipped, and overall in poor condition. We thought that if we repainted the games that the girls would play outside more! It took several hours, and quite a few tries at mixing different colors, but we managed to paint some different games like chess, checkers, hopscotch, and other Peruvian games that we weren't quite sure of the name. Some of the younger girls got back from school just as we were finishing up, and they immediately ran outside to see the work that we had done. They were clearly very excited to play outside, but we had to explain to them that they would have to wait a day before it was dry. It was great to see that they were all so excited to use their games again!

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-Hallie

5/26/14
Day 6

Today was an amazing day. After a nice breakfast we took a bus to a small school high in up in the mountains called Pampallacta. This school holds about 200 children. These children and unfortunately very poor. Also a lot of the children only speak Cechua (which is the native Incan language). After the children had lunch (which consisted of one piece if bread an a cup of warm liquid) they all lined up and clapped for us. We then handed out pens and candy to all the children. It was heart touching to see how grateful these children are. We also decided to use our project money to buy the school and much needed printer for their school. Next, we headed to Tortora. The conditions here were similar to Pampallacta. We handed out bread, candy and paper to the students. Later on that day we headed to the salt pools which was pretty neat... In other words: amazing!

5/6/14
Day 6

Today was an amazing day. After a nice breakfast we took a bus to a small school high in up in the mountains called Pampallacta. This school holds about 200 children. These children and unfortunately very poor. Also a lot of the children only speak Cechua (which is the native Incan language). After the children had lunch (which consisted of one piece if bread an a cup of warm liquid) they all lined up and clapped for us. We then handed out pens and candy to all the children. It was heart touching to see how grateful these children are. We also decided to use our project money to buy the school and much needed printer for their school. Next, we headed to Tortora. The conditions here were similar to Pampallacta. We handed out bread, candy and paper to the students. Later on that day we headed to the salt pools which was pretty neat... In other words: amazing!

20,000ft Up - Sunday the 25th

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Today we had the opportunity to hike a mountain that was close to the Santa Rosa orphanage we have been volunteering at the past few days. We were told that the best time to start hiking was at 5am so we had to wake up at the lovely time of 3:30am. When we embarked on this daunting journey it was still dark out and very cold, as our guides were two girls from Santa Rosa. The hike was extremely hard and the lack of oxygen at this altitude definitely did not help us at all, it took us about 2 and half hours to reach the top. At the top there were a lot of Inca ruins that we could explore, and maybe the best part was a large flock of llamas!! Needless to say we got a lot of pictures with the llamas. We estimated that at the top we were about 20,000-22,000ft above sea level, breathing was kind of difficult. After we explored the ruins our two guides from Santa Rosa took us up to a waterfall that we explored for awhile. Then we finally began our dissent down and after almost slipping off the side of the mountain a few times we made it down the mountain safely. We returned to the hotel for some much needed relaxation. A few of us jumped into the pool at the hotel that isn't heated and it filled with glacier water but it was awesome. And since it was a beautiful day we just lounged and napped outside for the rest of the day and went to bed early to get ready for a full day of volunteering tomorrow. Overall it was a pretty neat day.

llama count- 20.5

Sorry there has been a lack of posts for the past few days, the wifi has not been working very well. This post is actually supposed to be for Sunday the 25th and we hope to be fully up to date by tomorrow!

Peruvian Volleyball

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May 24th, 2014
Today, we went as a group to the Santa Rosa Home to volunteer again and spend time helping the girls, the nuns, and other workers there. We started off the day as usual by leaving our hotel at 9 am, then after taking the Camino de Incas bus and passing through small scenic towns on the way (such as Yucay and Calca), we finally arrived at the Santa Rosa Home after 45 minutes. In order to get into the buildings here, especially big buildings and institutions such as hotels, schools, etc., they have a bell system. There's simply a switch outside the huge gates of each of the buildings and you have to ring that bell so that someone from the inside can see who 's visiting and can let you in. It's definitely something interesting that we noticed that's different from the United States. So, once we rang the bell and were let in by the main nun (Nun Damienna), we decided to help out by harvesting some more quinoa like yesterday. So, we helped Senor Leonardo harvest quinoa during the morning until about 1pm--lunch time. We were served a scrumptious and generous lunch by the nuns at the Santa Rosa Home which consisted to soup, some white rice, a type of potato-tomato-and meat mix/french fries and freshly sliced and peeled tomatoes (for those of us who are vegetarian and/or cannot eat meat).
After having lunch, we proceeded to set-up a new volley ball net that we had bought for the home the night before since we noticed their volley ball net was pretty damaged. We also decided to buy a couple of new volleyballs and soccer balls since they seemed to be in need of those too. Once we were done setting up the set around 2:30 PM, some of the older girls from the Santa Rosa Home came outside and wanted to play volleyball with us using the new net. So, we played an incredibly fun and intense game of volleyball with a few of the older girls and then, by the time we were done playing, it was already time for us to leave to go back to the hotel around 4 PM. On the way back to the hotel, we came across an amazing vendor that was selling various Peruvian items such as hand-made purses, llama gloves, socks, key chains, scarves, pottery, etc. We decided to momentarily stop there and fulfill our touristy purchases. Then we went back to the hotel and decided to go to bed early for our exciting Misty Mountain/Huchuy Qosqo adventure early tomorrow morning at 4 AM.

By: Himal :)
Llama Count: 0 :(