RSIS - Peru 2015 Blog
This is Peru
Some wonderful photos taken by Vellar really capturing the spirit of the service project
Update six: 26th July
That’s all folks
It’s has been an amazing two weeks in beautiful Peru but today is departure day. All students are now en-route back home. We wish them all a safe and pleasant journey.
Leadership team – the adventure continues!
Leadership students Dawson, Youngyun, Sylvia, Kira and Flora will be staying on in Peru for another week taking it in turns to lead Team two during the first week of project work. The Leadership team will now spend a few days with the Project Leaders to put a plan of action in place for the following week.
The leadership student’s duties will include:
- Liaising with the Project Leaders and local coordinators;
- Writing risk assessments;
- Delivering team briefings;
- Delegating work/tasks;
- Ensuring the happiness and well-being of the group; and
- Debriefing with the Team Leader at the end of the day.
The team completed work on the project and the Apulaya team joined them to perform a traditional blessing ceremony.
The team traveled to Aguas Calientes on the Vistadome train via Ollantaytanbo. There isn’t a train station at Machu Picchu itself. The nearest train station is in Aguas Calientes. The Vistadome train is a very comfortable middle class train. The wagons have large panoramic windows and skylights in the roof allowing us to get good views of the stunning Peruvian countryside.
The absolute highlight of the trip: climbing the Inca city of Machu Picchu. The city itself is a sprawling network of palaces, plazas, temples and homes. The ruins lie on a high ridge, surrounded on three side by the Urubamba River nearly 2,000 feet below.
It’s easy to appreciate the Inca’s ability to master their terrain. The site’s buildings, walls, terraces, and ramps dig into the steep mountainous landscape and make the city blend naturally into the rock on which it is situated.
We had the opportunity to climb the Machu Picchu Mountain, which is located south-west of the citadel and stands at over 10,007 feet above sea level. The mountain trek offered us breath taking views of the city and its surroundings.
Our fitness was challenged as we followed the original stone Inca Trail but it was well worth it! Wooden signs marked out way ahead with the trail inclining about 30-35 degrees. We had to sign in at the Wardens Hut and show our passports. As we approached the base of the mountain, the steps became steeper, narrower and more challenging.
We were quite literally on top of the world when our team reached the summit!
Celebrations and Goodbye’s
We traveled back to Cusco on PeruRail’s Expedition train. Similar to the Vistadom train the Expedition train had large windows offering one last glimpse of the countryside and Machu Picchu’s breath-taking views. Tea, coffee and pastries were served.
We spent our morning busting some moves with a salsa dance class with the Salseros Cusco dance academy. We also had the opportunity to do some shopping to buy some souvenirs and mementos of our journey.
In the evening we celebrated our last night together with a meal at a restaurant called Tunupa.
Arriving at the restaurant, you think that you are in a botanical garden replete with flowers and exotic birds. The selection of food was incredible. Hot foods were hot, cold foods were cold - lovely meal that included some Peruvian dishes. Service was also very good and there was musical entertainment during our dinner. We also shared our Salsa dance moves!
Update five: 20th July
Building skills as well as walls
It’s been mud, mud and more mud over the past few days with the team successfully completing the first wall and working hard to bring the build of the last wall in on schedule. With only two more days on site the team have been developing and utilising skills including leadership, teamwork, communication and problem solving.
The site will be blessed on completion with a traditional Andean ceremony and the team will celebrate the successful build with a meal and music.
The team have been enjoying their camping, learning to cope with the few amenities available in this rural community. Snow was forecast at one point, so the villagers put additional shelters over the tents to ensure everyone was comfortable, although fortunately no snow has arrived.
It’s a nice day, for a white wedding
The team had the amazing opportunity to attend a local wedding. A truly wonderful and unique way to experience Peruvian culture at it's best.
We look forward to hearing more from the team when they reach the city of Aguas Calientes, in preparation to their visit to Machupicchu.
Update four: 17th July
Getting stuck in
Construction has started and all members of the team have been getting stuck in. The team are working together to build a wall around the school compound and another guinea-pig stable for the community. These guinea-pig stables are really important as they enable to community to rear the animals away from their homes and in a more hygienic manner.
It’s pretty messy business as the team are helping to mix mud to use as mortar between the bricks and helping to render the walls with a coat of – yes you guessed it – mud!
Update three: 15th July
The team have been doing well and enjoying their time in Peru. The adventures have begun with our acclimatisation phase, thanks to which the effects of altitude sickness have been minimal. We have stayed hydrated and taken it easy while we adjust to being 1,000ft above sea level.
Music and Arts centre
It was an early start and the team hit the ground running. The morning kicked off with a team briefing but the highlight of the day was the visit to the Apulaya Cultural Centre. Students made ‘beautiful’ music together using panpipes and drums and discovered the importance of music in festivals and celebrations in Andean culture.
Zip lining and Via Ferrata
Weeeeee! A day of adventure and adrenaline. We travelled to the Sacred Valley near the town of Ollantaytambo and climbed the mountain using the Via Ferrata and then ziplined the mountain.
The Via Ferrata is a steel ladder and cable system used to climb up the 300 meter cliff face. We used harnesses and a double-carabineer system for maximum security.
“Totally pumped for climbing the Via Ferrata. Some people with lots of nerves but everyone got through it all with a great sense of pride and achievement. Amazing teamwork. Even the guides commented about the great team and great teamwork!” Debbie, Deputy Leader.
The team are now arrived in Yuncachimpa which is located just outside of Cusco inside the Huarocondo district. Half the group is in the lower part of the village while the other half of the group are in the upper part of the village.
There are only 45 families (around 200 people) living in the village and the facilities are rather rustic, with no internet, no Facebook and minimal electricity. So we are unlikely to receive any more updates until the team arrive in Aguas Calientes in 8 days’ time.
The forecast in Peru today is SNOW! It has started raining but everyone is snug and warm in their tents. The host families have event arranged extra shelter to go over the tents and to keep them extra dry.
Update two: 12th July
All members of the team have now arrived safely in Cusco, Peru.
Update one: 11th July
Most of the team have now arrived safely in Cusco, Peru with the remaining few students due to arrive over the next few hours. We will post another update first thing in the morning confirming the safe arrival of all members of the team.
Welcome, to the RSIS Peru 2015 Blog for team one. We will keep you up to date with the team’s progress as they undertake this amazing life experience. We will email you periodically throughout the project with updates and links to the blog.
Deputy Leader Debbie, has been meeting students dressed in her bright green poncho and blue glasses; nice and easy to spot!
Everyone is spending the day resting after the long flight and getting to know each other. In total there are 20 students and three adults in the team. Students have come from far and wide including Australia, Oman, Germany, UK, India, USA, Canada, Thailand, Kenya and Denmark. Everyone has been getting to know each other via Facebook before the trip but it’s always good to finally put a face to a name!
It’s early to bed tonight because it’s a busy day tomorrow with team briefings and their first taste of Peru.
Just a reminder that students are not permitted to use their mobile/cell phones while on the trip.
In case of emergency
Round Square operates a 24-hour on call service. In the unlikely case of an emergency the project team will notify the on-call team immediately who will then notify parents with full details.
Click the link below to see your full itinerary on Travefy. This itinerary has been built to offer you time to acclimatize to the altitude, develop skills and to absorb the diverse and rich culture Peru has to offer.