Kids Alive International

It is the 11th day of our trip to Peru. Today the weather was rainy and cloudy but still much better than Minnesota I am sure! it has been two days since our last blog so there is not too much to say. Both yesterday and today we have visited the children at kids alive international. It has been a great experience. The kids are always excited to see us and it has been great getting to know all of them. We have learned much about the games they like to play and the music they like to dance and listen to.

We have played volleyball both days and we played basketball yesterday. The smaller children like to swing MAS ALTO! on the play set. The older girls and boys showed us some of their dance moves yesterday and Ice showed them some of hers in return. We have been having so much fun playing with all of them and learning a lot about their culture. One girl, Carina, is an incredibly intelligent 16 year old who speaks english fluently and has helped our group with translations. She wants to study nutrition when she goes to college and I know she is going places in life. Many of the children have special talents and it is fun to see the potential in each of them.

The children are always laughing and they get along so well. The little ones are constantly running to you with big hugs and smiles. Also, they have taken over Wally's camera and have taken tons of pictures and videos. They are currently waiting for their swimming pool to be filled next week. Summer school also starts next week for them and we are going back on Tuesday to help out with whatever we can. We will write again soon!

Jordan and Biology Without Borders


Lima, Lima, Lima

Feliz Anos Nuevos!!! Sorry it has taken us so long to blog again! So much has happened and it has all been exhausted! New year's Eve was incredible. The Peruvians really know how to bring in the new year! We went to the town square to celebrate with them, bought some wonderful street vendor food, and ran around the square with the locals. I guess it is tradition once the clock strikes twelve to start running around on the streets in the town square. Great night. Once we get back, I (Sarah) can upload some videos from it and put them on facebook!

The next day, we went back to the Cusco airport and flew to Lima. Our flight changed from the morning, until one, but then the plane didn't show up for another hour. Finally when we arrived in Lima, we met Carlos Fernandez's brother, Juan Fernandez, and our taxi driver Richard. They brought us to our hostal, which is two blocks from the ocean! The boardwalk has a great view, and the weather is around 80 degrees and humid, but with a cool breeze (way better than Minnesota...I hear you are all getting a ton of snow currently or it is on its way?).

On the 2nd, we went on a run, to vivanda (grocery store), and to the mall. Juan Diego showed us around the central park, and we walked along the boardwalk all day. It was a pretty laid back day.

On the 3rd, we went to meet our first contact, Gladys. She is the lady who we were going to help renovate her house. Unfortunately, she already had it finished when we got there...so we realized that we now had nothing to do from the 8-13 of January. After meeting her, her nephew, Eric, took us to a nursing home where we played bingo with the old people. We also had to sing! I am sure we mutilated Jingle bells with our wonderful singing voices.

We met with our second contact, Gina, on Monday the 4th. Gina is the woman who works with the school of nursing here at the U. She is an incredible lady! She brought us to the slums of Lima, where we visited a school, and a girl's home, that her and her husband run that helps get these children off the streets and into a good education and a good university so that they can go back and support themselves and their families. The slums in Lima are huge...over 35,000 people lived in that area. People from the highlands move into the slums to try to find a better job in Lima then where they originally came from. Upon moving, the houses are made up of straw. As they continue to make more money, the houses turn to wood, and then eventually to cement and brick. Gina helped us think of potential projects such as working with the school to create a biology camp for the kids next year where we would teach them and show them interesting biology experiments.

On the 5th, we met back up with Gina early in the morning to help tear down a wooden shack in the slums so that they can rebuild it with cement and bricks. It was a great experience and we accomplished alot. I am surprised that I am not totally freaking out about all the bugs and...la cucarachas down here. There were two in our room last night (horrifying). Anyways, after we finished tearing the house down, we hurried back to our hostal to clean up for our meeting with Carmen Morales, a doctor here who is also affiliated with the school of nursing here. She gave us many ideas for contacts next year. There is the oncology hospital for children, an organization called "Learn With Me" where we could teach the sick children in the hospitals so that they can continue learning while in the hospital. There is another organization called "A Roof for My Country," where they build homes for families. Now, we just need to contact these places ourselves! We are also trying to get into contact with the Rotary here so that we can try to find a variety of projects, not just teaching projects.

Today, the 6th, we went with Eric (Gladys's nephew) to a children's home. Upon arriving, we realized it was Kids Alive International! One of the organizations we were trying to get into contact with. We met with many of the employees there, and they said we were welcome to come to the home throughout the rest of our stay in Lima (since our other project fell through, we would have nothing else to do, unless one of the organizations we contacted emailed us back). So, we are planning on going back tomorrow and the rest of our time here! Today was great though. The kids were so excited to see us. We played a great game of basketball, and then they drove us to the new home they were building for the children in the country. Kids Alive has been the highlight of our trip so far. We also learned that we could create a biology camp for them as well. Next week, they start summer school, and we might even host some "clinics." Since Ice can dance, we figured she can teach us ALL how to dance! Also, we hopefully will get to teach them some English (although many of them know a lot already).

That is it for now...sorry if this is poorly written, I am sunburnt and tired, so this may not be coherent.

Wishing it was summer in Minnesota,
Sarah and the BWB crew!

We're back from Machu Picchu and in Cusco for New Years!

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HOLA! Nosotros estamos en Cusco! Es una ciudad muy bonita! We spent two wonderful days in Aguas Calientes, a small town north of Cusco. We took a train through the Andes to get there, and the view through the mountains was a-mazing! We passed through a few small villages, including Ollantaytambo, which was a cute little town. There is a backpacking trail through the area (which goes through Machu Picchu too) and takes about 4 days, and at some point before the train station in Aguas Calientes we dropped off some backpackers.

Aguas Calientes was a small town close to Machu Picchu, and almost as soon as we got there we boarded a bus headed towards the Inca city. We met our tour guide Franklin in front of the entrance to the park (it's kind of like a national park in the US) and he took us around the ruins. We learned about the Inca history, and found out that Machu Picchu was never completed, it was actually abandoned in fear that the Spanish Conquistadors would find it. One theory was that Machu Picchu was built as a university, there are many different areas in the city, including places to study astronomy, hydrology, religion, and agriculture. We also learned about the importance of the Condor in the religion and culture of the Incas, as well as the Puma and the Inca Cross. We also learned the language of the Incas, Quechua, is actually still spoken by many locals.

Machu Picchu is situated between two mountains, Machu Picchu (the old mountain) and Huayna Picchu (the young mountain), and is within many other mountains, so you can imagine the view was breathtaking.

We went back to Aguas Calientes after a rainy day at the ruins (it's the rainy season here) and visited the local shops and restaurants to get a feel for the local culture. The textile shops sold very colorful clothes, hats, blankets, and scarves and granite carvings and souvenirs. We spent the rest of the night getting to know each other better!

The next day we took the train to Ollantaytambo and took a taxi back to Cusco. Our driver, Alfredo, actually spoke Quechua (it's his native language) but he spoke Spanish and English as well. We went through the town Urubamba and went through a different region of the Andes mountains (in that area). We saw a snow-capped mountain, crop fields, and many farm animals. The ride was gorgeous and was definitely worth it!

We're now back at our hotel in Cusco and are ready to celebrate the New Year! We learned from our driver that yellow is an important color during this time because it brings luck. Many stores and buildings are covered in yellow balloons and people wear yellow and give each other yellow flowers. We are heading to the main square tonight, where there should be fireworks and a lot of celebration!

We will be heading back to Lima tomorrow and are really excited to make contacts for volunteering! Feliz anos nuevos para todos!!

Kirsta and Biology Without Borders

Greetings from Cusco!

Hey all,

it is currently 8:02 pm and half of us are already sleeping! It has been an exhausting and long two days. Last night we finally arrived in Lima around midnight, and then had to stay at the airport overnight to wait for a flight at 6 am to Cusco. When we finally got to our hotel, we slept and slept. We ran into some problems with our tour guides. It took Wally about 2 hours working with them to figure out why the deposit didn't go through, but we were able to pay them directly, and everything is working out. We mostly just bummed around throughout the afternoon and then went to dinner at El Truco. The dinner was authentic and great. The scenery here is absolutely beautiful. The mountains are breathtaking. We can't wait for the train ride up to Machu Piccu tomorrow morning (I know I mutilated that but I'm tired).

Walking around Cusco has been great. Everyone is super friendly here, and no one is pushy. That was pretty much our day. We wish we wouldn't have been so exhausted so we could have enjoyed our time here longer, but we have Thursday night here as well. It gets VERY busy here at night and the taxi drivers show no mercy to pedestrians.

Our plans for tomorrow consist of taking the train to aguas calientes, stopping by our hotel and then heading to MP! We stay overnight there and then head back to Cusco in the morning.

We thought we were heading to a warmer climate....and unfortunately packed a little to light. It is a tid bit chilly here. Hopefully it warms up and hopefully Lima will be a lot warmer!

That's it for the night.

Sarah

DAY ONE!

Today's the day we set off into the sky heading due south towards Lima, Peru! As we write this in the rush to get to the airport, we'd like to inform you: yes, we are very excited right now. From the capital city of Lima, we'll be traveling to Cusco, and then to Machu Picchu! We aren't sure when we'll be able to post our next entry, so here's some information about our adventures soon-to-come!

Cusco and Machu Picchu are the "Statue of Liberty-s" of Peru, the Taj Mahal-s of India, or the Great Wall-s of China. Skipping them on a trip to Peru would equate to not visiting Peru at all! So, within just a few hours of landing, we will be taking a flight to Cusco, Peru--one of the longest-inhabited cities of the Americas! From there, we will be taking a two-day tour at Machu Picchu where we'll get to climb the Huayna Picchu mountain (four hours total up and down!) Learn more about Machu Picchu at the following website:

http://www.peru-machu-picchu.com/

So as we set off with our suitcases and laptops, our immunizations and our excitement, we bid you farewell and hope you enjoy our trip as much as we do!

Adios!

Biology Without Borders
Winter Peru Trip 2009-2010

Recent Comments

  • swick: You will show us pictures when you get back, right? read more
  • swick: Sounds wonderful, you five explorers and ambassadors! read more
  • crosb065: Sounds awesome you guys! Hope your New Year's was great, read more

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