Can You Dig It?
As the sun rose on our fourth day in Cusco, so did the regular morning traffic rush. Every morning between 7-9:00 am is when the excitement starts – pedestrians, packs of dogs, buses, taxis, and private cars all make their way down the narrow cobblestone streets of downtown Cusco as police try to direct traffic in the early hours of the morning. As our family gathered for breakfast, we admired the chaos from our hotel restaurant, while reviewing announcements for the day.
After our family ate breakfast we set off to Helping Hands to test out our green thumbs on landscape gardening! San Gabriel has an unbelievable amount of green space in front of their school that needed some love. Our job of the day was to remove all of the overgrown weeds from the landscape, prune existing bushes, and transplant flowers into a new open space. It took a lot of hard work from our whole team (including Linda, the school dog) to complete this job in one afternoon. But, by the time we were finished, the landscape was completely transformed!
After our yard work, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch provided by the school that included chicken sandwiches, guacamole, fresh juices and granadilla (also known as the sweet Andean passion fruit).
In the afternoon we had the pleasure of creating ‘Christmas Dolls’ from scratch in preparation for the school’s Christmas celebrations. When I say ‘scratch,’ I mean scratch. We cut, sewed, stuffed and glued for 4 hours until our supplies started to resemble beautiful dolls. The amount of time, talent and patience it took to assemble these dolls was unbelievable and really made us appreciate how hard the school’s seamstress has to work in order to create all of these on her own. As mentioned in a previous post, Christmas is a very significant holiday in Cusco – and the majority of the year leading up to December 25th is spent preparing. Therefore, all of our dolls will be given to students at the school to ensure they all have presents to open up during the holidays.
For dinner on Thursday we returned to the Andean Grill Restaurant for a classic Peruvian dinner with a side of live music. Some student and staff favourites included the Lomo Salatado (marinated strips of sirloin with onions, tomatoes, french fries) and Ceviche cusqueña e Pisco (fish cured in lemon and spiced with ají and chilli peppers).
After dinner our students explored the lively nightlife of Cusco in the city square. While some students hung out at cafes, others wondered the square with gelato as they admired the diversity of those around them – local teenagers hanging out on benches, friends posing for photos, tourists scrutinizing maps, and street vendors selling everything from massages to Machu Picchu tours.
Tomorrow our staff and students are looking forward to our Big Brother Park Day with Helping Hands, and an afternoon of zip lining as we sail across the Sacred Valley.Until tomorrow … Buenas Noches!