Our First Day of Volunteering

Hello friends and family,

Here we are on Day 2, living like the locals that we have quickly become!

We woke up after a very well-deserved deep sleep, to a lovely breakfast buffet prepared by Siete Ventanas Hotel. Fresh juices, fruit salads, meats and cheese, eggs, coffee, and pastries. Enough to keep us going for a full day of volunteering at Helping Hands Cusco.

Upon arriving at our volunteer site, we were greeted by the warmth of Mario, the school’s owner and leader. He is more than just the owner of the school; he and his wife Rosita are like a second set of parents to the 50+ elementary school children they look after each day. He puts so much effort into his school and into the community. It is lovely to be a part of it with him!

We spent half of the day with 4-6-year-old Peruvian students doing everything from taking photos with them, teaching them English words, and helping them with their art projects. All of our Blyth students were complete naturals and were immersed in the classrooms immediately. The children flocked to our teens right off the bat. The cultural exchange and sharing of new Spanish/English language was beautiful to see.

student reading with child
student and child fist bumping

The other part of the day was helping Mario and his workers make Christmas cards from scratch, as well as frames for the children which they will receive as presents. Mario and his team make hundreds and hundreds of cards throughout the year and ship them off to their friends and colleagues in North America and Australia, for them to sell in their local communities. All proceeds go back to Helping Hands Cusco, in order to assist with purchasing school supplies for the children and food for their lunches. It’s so important that we are a part of this process. I feel that we are very lucky to be helping with these tasks.

students making christmas cards

After our full day of volunteering, we came back to the hotel, had a half hour break, and then hiked 1.5km up to see the famous Cristo Blanco statue! The students toughed it out and walked the steep hill. They said that the hill was challenging, but reaching the best viewpoint of the city was more than worth it.

students at the best viewpoint of the city

Post hike, we had a well-deserved dinner in town, and the students explored the city in groups before coming back for curfew and room checks.

Ryan and I are so pleased with the friendships made, the positivity from all students, and the laid back nature of these teens. We have a really great bunch with us. Thanks for sending your kids to Peru with Blyth Academy.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s update: Helping Hands, Mountain Biking, and new unique food-tastings for lunch!

Until tomorrow,
Alex Zourntos
Program Manager