RSIS - Peru 2016 Blog

Update fithteen: 10th August

That’s all folks

It's been an amazing two weeks in beautiful Peru, but today is departures day. Students will be leaving throughout the day and some are already en route home. We wish everyone safe and pleasant journeys home.

Machu Picchu

For many students the visit to the Inca city of Machu Picchu is the long-anticipated highpoint of their trip. The ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu are considered to be some of the most beautiful and mysterious sites in the world and Team Condor enjoyed exploring this amazing citadel.

According to historians, Machu Picchu meaning ‘Old Mountain’, was built in the 15th century by the Inca Pachacutec. Machu Picchu was linked to the entire Inca Empire via the Qhapaq Ñan, the famous roads of the Incas.

Salsa Dancing and final meal together

Team Condor had a final supper together at a popular local restaurant which offered a selection of traditional Peruvian dishes and live music. Students were able to shake things up after dinner with a Salsa Dance class.

Update fourteen: 8th August

Final days on the Project Site

Team Condor have worked incredibly hard over the past few days to ensure that the building successfully reaches completion on time. Students helped move a whopping 13 rafters into place ready for a professional roofing team to complete the work.

The team have also been helping the community with other chores including planting a new corn crop and helping to feed and look after the cuy (pronounced "kwee", the term used to refer to farmed Guinea Pigs.)

As the team wrapped up on the project site they were able to put finishing touches in place, leaving a ‘RSIS 2016’ plaque on the wall of the new kindergarten.

The Big Celebration

The team celebrated their last day on the project site in true Peruvian style. Students joined the community and host families for a huge and very delicious celebration dinner.

The Apulaya Music team joined them to perform a traditional blessing ceremony with lots of traditional music, costumes and confetti.

The next stage of the adventure...

Team Condor have now travelled to Anguas Calientes on the Vista Dome train and are preparing for today’s visit to Machu Picchu. The Vista Dome train offered our intrepid team to relax, read, play cards and appreciate the impressive Andean scenery.

Machu Picchu is the famous Incan citadel set high in the Andes Mountains in Peru, above the Urubamba River valley. Built in the 15th century and later abandoned, it’s renowned for its sophisticated dry-stone walls that fuse huge blocks without the use of mortar, intriguing buildings that play on astronomical alignments, and panoramic views. Its exact former use remains a mystery.

Update thirteen: 5th August

Everyone on site is happy, healthy and enjoying their time on the project site at Kanacchimpa. Team Condor have been making amazing progress and the building is starting to take shape.

The kindergarten will have two rooms; one for teaching a class, and one to use as a storage room or kitchen. There will be 10-15 children to teach in the first year of operation and the team from Wayki Trek is liaising with the Ministry of Education to ensure a teacher is in place. The community will officially be celebrating their 60th anniversary of their foundation in September this year, so they plan to have a formal opening ceremony for the school then.

The team only have two full days left on site to complete the works. Team Condor will end their time at Kanacchimpa with a spectacular celebration. Keep up the good work guys!

Update Twelve: 3rd August

It’s been a busy few days for Team Condor who have been on the project site for five days now. Construction of the Kindergarten school two has been going well (if a little muddy) and the team have been making great progress.

Travel Safe Leadership Students

Today also marks the last day in Peru for Student Leadership Interns Eleana, Azeeza, Abby and Motla. At lunch the team celebrated the last day on site with the Leadership Students with a special cake baked by the awsome Wayki chef.

Update Eleven: 1st August

Climbing Via Ferrata

On Friday the team enjoyed a day climbing the amazing Via Ferrata (“iron way”) in the Sacred Valley with the excellent guides from Naturavive. The Via Ferrata uses a steel ladder and cable system which each team member connects to using a combination of harnesses and a double-caribener connected to ropes to ensure maximum security.

The students climbed up a 300 meter cliff face overlooking the Urubamba River and once at the top, the quickest way down again is of course to zip line! The team zoomed across a total of 2,800 metres of 7 inter-connected zip lines enjoying spectacular views of the Sacred Valley on the way down! “It was pretty scary at first, and then the second half was just fun. Overall - it was a great mix of the two!” said Jacob.

Once the team was back on terra firma, it was time to unwind and restore energy with a delicious lunch, final briefings and some more team-bonding games “in the afternoon we played many different card games which was really fun!” said Nilesh.

After a great couple of days getting to know each other and experiencing a few great activities, it was time for the team to look forward to travelling to Kanacchimpa to start their project work.

On the project site

Team Condor arrived in Kanacchimpa on Saturday and have already got to work on the walls of the new kindergarten school that Team Llama started to build a few weeks ago.

The team are camping in the community and are being hosted in small groups by a number of local families. Facilities and amenities are pretty basic, but everyone is comfortable and is settling in nicely. The families will cook breakfast and dinner during their stay and it is a great opportunity for students to really engage in family life of an Andean Quechua community.

Kanacchimpa itself is a small rural village just outside Cusco, and as you can see - the views from the project site are spectacular. The team has already taken the opportunity to explore their surroundings by hiking up a nearby mountain to get a better view point.

Update ten: 29th July

The team have settled in well and have been enjoying their first few days in Peru. Student Leadership Interns have helped the team to put a few essential agreements in place for the team to follow in addition to the RSIS Code of Conduct.

Apulaya Cultural Centre

The team enjoyed their first activity together – a visit to the Apulaya Cultural Center in the Sacred Valley to gain an understanding of the great diversity of the Andes´ traditional indigenous culture. Students spent the day learning how to play pan pipes, drums and flutes. The team also exercised their artistic muscles with a Andean art class.

Update Nine: 27th July

Team Condor has Landed!

All team members who were scheduled to arrive today have now arrived safely in Cusco. The final student will arrive tomorrow to join the rest of the team.

Students have come from far and wide including America, England, Germany, South Africa and India. Everyone is now resting back at the hotel and getting to know each other. Students from Team Condor were met by Student Leadership Interns Eleana, Azeeza, Abby and Motla and they are helping the new arrivals to settle in.

Student Leadership Interns

Students Eleana, Azeeza, Abby and Motla have spent the day preparing for the arrival of Team Condor. The Student Leadership Interns were members of Team Llama who have stayed on in Peru for an additional week to lead Team Condor in their first week of project work.

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.

"We cannot feel more proud of these four ladies and the high expectations they have for the Condor team." Freddy, Deputy Project Leader.

Eleana, Azeeza, Abby and Motla have been reflecting on their highlights of the project so far:

Update Eight: 25th July

Adiós!

All Team Llama students are now en-route back home. We wish them all a safe and pleasant journey. Leadership Students and Team Leaders now have a relaxing evening ahead of them and a morning of planning before Team Condor arrive on the 27th of July.

Salsa dancing

On their last day in Cusco Team Llama enjoyed a energetic Salsa dance class and last meal together.

Vistadome Train to Machu Picchu

After their project work Team Llama traveled to Aguas Calientes on the Vistadome train via Ollantaytanbo. 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 this trip has to be 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.

Team Llama were quite literally on top of the world when they reached the summit.

Happy Birthday Andrew

We also wish Project Leader Andrew a very happy birthday! We hope you enjoyed celebrating your birthday at the top of Machu Picchu.

Update seven: 22nd July

The team celebrated their last day on the project site in style! Students danced and celebrated with the community dressed in traditional costume and a huge dinner. The community gifted the students a Peruvian bracelet each in thanks for all their hard work and dedication.

Update six: 21st July

Today is the last day of Project work at Kanacchimpa for Team Llama. Students and the whole community will celebrate this afternoon with a blessing ceremony including traditional costumes and lots of pan pipe music.

"Team Llama - you are amazing!" says Liz Gray, Project Support Manager "Maria Gracia, the team at Wayki Trek and I have been planning this trip for about a year, and while a lot of work goes on behind the scenes YOU are the ones who get the glamorous end of the deal and bring it all to fruition.

You’ve worked so hard ("mas barro por favor!!"), you’ve clearly come together as a fantastic international team and you will leave behind a long-term legacy for the children in Kanacchimpa. Just think - when you are parents yourselves and sending your kids to school, you can think that all those kids in mountains of Peru are sitting in a classroom and having a chance at an education because of something YOU built all those years before.

I’m really proud of everything you’ve done, and really proud of Maria Gracia, Wayki Trek, Andy, Nina and Jordan! Know that the mud will wash off one day, but the memories will always be there. Gracias por todo amigos!!"

Teamwork, Leadership and dance moves!

Nearly a week and half into their trip, friendships have definitely developed. All members of the team have worked well together, keeping spirits high and making time fly by. the team have been developing and utilising skills including leadership, teamwork, communication and problem solving.

Westminster School student, Ania has been teaching the team an Australian Bush Dance to help the team warm up in the mornings before work.

Firm foundations

Team Llama have completed the groundworks for the new school, clearing the site of rocks and completing the foundations. The team have helped to stock pile hundreds of bricks ready for Team Condor to put in place. The tidy site is taking shape and the footprint of the new kindergarten is rising up from the ground.

Update five: 18th July

It’s now day four on the project site and the team are making amazing progress. The students have been working as a team to help clear the site of rocks and to dig foundations. The team have helped to make traditional Adobe (mud) bricks where a mixture of mud and straw is cast in open moulds onto the ground, and then left to dry out in the sun. The bricks are then cemented together with fresh mud and the completed walls are then given a render of, yes you guessed it – more mud!

The team have also been helping with other chores in the community like helping with meal preparation and feeding the guinea pigs.

Today everybody worked hard and we moved a lot of stones. In the morning we fed the guinea pigs and helped the families prepare breakfast.” Nina, Deputy Project Leader.

It’s not all hard work, on Sunday the team took the opportunity to rest and explore some of the nearby countryside.

We had an easy start today, everybody had the opportunity to do some laundry and relax in the morning. We then built an oven out of mud and stones and took the opportunity to hike up a nearby mountain peak before having lunch prepared in our very own oven.” Nina, Deputy Project Leader.

While on location in Kanacchimpa the team are camping on the property of a host family in groups of four or five “we’ve had a great welcome here. The food is wonderful and we will all gain some weight here!” says Nina.

Back in March, Local Project Manager Maria Gracia and Tourism and Cooking Trainer Julio Almeida visited the community to train the host families how to care for visitors.

During this time Julio worked with all the families that are hosting the team, teaching them about kitchen hygiene, food storage and how to prepare suitable and balanced meals for visitors. Many members of the community arrived for the training (men, as well as women which is unusual in this kind of community) and at the end of the third day, everyone served food to the community that they had learned to make.

Update four: 15th July

Team Llama enjoyed their first day on the Project site in Kanacchimpa and have begun their service work in earnest.

There is plenty of work to be done with the construction of a new kindergarten for the village children. The team are working alongside the community chain-ganging materials to the worksite, adding render to the walls and helping with brick-laying.

Happy Birthday - Feliz cumpleaños!

Round Square and everyone in Team Llama would like to wish Azeeza a very happy birthday! We hope you enjoyed celebrating your birthday in beautiful Peru.

Azeeza's birthday was celebrated in style with confetti in her hair and the villages sang for her.

Zip lining and Via Ferrata

Team Llama enjoyed a day of adventure and adrenaline with a visit to the Via Ferrata, a steel ladder and cable system used to climb up the 300-meter cliff face in the Sacred Valley. Once at the top of the mountain, there is only one way down: Zip Line!

We spent a wonderful day on the Via Ferrata - everybody made it and it was a lot of fun! We now have some time in our beautiful hostel and enjoy the garden and the groups enjoys interaction with card games and table football.” Nina, Deputy Project Leader.

Update three: 13th July

Team Llama have been doing well and enjoying their first taste of Peruvian culture. The adventures have begun with the acclimatisation phase, thanks to which the effects of altitude sickness have been minimal. The team have been staying hydrated and taken it easy while adjusting to being 11,000 ft above sea level.

Apulaya Cultural Centre – Traditional Inca Art and Music

Team Llama have spent afternoon at the Apulaya Centre for Andean Culture run by husband and wife team: Emerita and Valeriano, a truly wonderful couple, who have spent years developing the centre which is also their home.

Team Llama enjoyed a class on ancient Inca history, art and music. Students made ‘beautiful’ music together using panpipes and drums and discovered the importance of music in festivals and celebrations in Andean culture.

Update two: 11th July

All team members who were scheduled to arrive today have now arrived safely Cusco, Peru. The team are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the last student who will join them tomorrow.

Arrival/Day One

Everyone is spending the day resting after the long flight and getting to know each other.
In total there are 17 students and three adults in the team. Students have traveled from schools in England, America, Germany, Australia, South Africa, India, Canada and Armenia.

It's early to bed tonight because it's a busy day tomorrow!

Itinerary

Click the link below to see your full itinerary on our Intranet, you will need to log in to view this. This itinerary has been built to offer students time to acclimatise, develop skills and to absorb the diverse and rich culture Peru has to offer.

Update one: July

Welcome

Welcome, to the RSIS Peru 2016 Team Blog. 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.

Mobile/cell phones

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.

Feeling inspired?

If this blog has inspired you why not register for our next Round Square International Service Project? Visit our website to find out more about our upcoming projects and get involved: