We’ve arrived safely!

Hello friends, family and jealous siblings eagerly awaiting the return of their brothers and sisters!

My name is Ryan Valconi and I am the activity coordinator of the March Break Community Service Program in Peru at Blyth Academy. Before I begin, I want to take a moment and extend a big THANK YOU on behalf of both the staff and students of this program. Though your child may not yet know it, this experience will change them in ways they may not yet understand. From an enhanced ability to appreciate the small things in life to being able to see the bigger picture in any scenario, this experience will transcend the beautiful border of Peru and forever impact your child’s perception of the importance of community service.

Today, students, parents and caregivers made their journey to Pearson International Airport. There, goodbyes were exchanged and long hugs were shared as students waved goodbye to those that dropped them off. Together, Blyth Academy staff and students navigated the labyrinth of security and gates to make their way onto the plane.

After flights from Toronto, Dallas and Lima we landed in the crisp air of our final destination: Cusco. We were greeted at the airport with a friendly smile from our perennial guide, Luis. Our Peruvian friend who manages to expertly navigate the hectic streets of Cusco, Luis and the crew loaded our luggage onto the bus and chauffeured us to our hotel in the heart of Cusco. After check-in, students had the opportunity to get settled in their rooms before heading out on a tour of the city.

Luis led the group through the streets of downtown, highlighting some spectacular areas of interest along the way. The tour culminated in a visit to the San Pedro market where students picked their lunch from a sea of vendors selling everything from cow hooves, frogs, alpaca meat and french fries. Some adventurous students tried their share of unique dishes before spending some time perusing Cusco with their groups at their own pace.

After reconvening at the hotel, we met for dinner and were treated to authentic Peruvian cuisine. An eclectic array of dishes lined our large table and students were not shy to share their selections among friends. After a filling meal, students either stopped in town for a post-dinner treat or made their way back to the hotel for some much-needed rest.
Tomorrow, we are headed to Helping Hands Cusco where we will volunteer our services in a local community school! We may even hike to the top of Cusco’s best viewpoint for those adventurous enough!

‘Till then,
Ryan Valconi