Thursday, July 22, 2010

Final Blog

To everyone,

I hope you have enjoyed our journey. We will be leaving tomorrow but I believe that this journey will be a blessing to us all for years to come. We are honored that we could be apart of the global community and express through our work on this trip our kinship with our Peruvian family. I think that we will leave this country with more than we were able to give and I believe that not only have the lives of the Peruvian people we were able to work with changed for the better but our lives have been enriched even more.

I would like to give special thanks to Mrs. Ann Smithwick who has been an absolute blessing to the children on this trip as well as to me. She has been supportive and thoughtful and I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Also, I would like to thank Jorge, Chris, and Adele for everything that they have done. We could not have had any better knowledgeable, thoughtful, and good people guiding us on this trip. Finally, I would like to thank the students who have endured great challenges but have risen to the task at hand. I am truly proud of you and I hope this trip will help be an inspiration to you on your path in life.

We look forward to seeing you all when we return. Until then be blessed.


Day 11 ( Anne Smithwick )

I am an idealist. That's what the Kiersey model says. Basically, that means I am a cry baby. Fortunatley for me, there are many of us idealists on this journey. From the moment our auto car began it's decent into the Sacred Valley nearly two weeks ago, I had tears streaming down my face. Not tears of sadness, but tears of joy. The simplicity that was evident in this special place was apparent from the start. The woman down the dusty road selling flowers from five buckets in the midst of nowhere was my first impression. Why was she so far from real commerce? Was she really considering a sale or did it matter to her? It did to the woman high in the Andes mountains who scaled the mountainside slinging handmade wares in front of a few travelers on a foot path at 9000 feet. She made one sale but was content. These are just two large impressions amongst hundreds that I have experienced alongside your children. Even if they are not Kiersey modeled idealists, they have all been moved by such impressions. Some have come from scenery. Some have come from children's faces. Some have come from way too out of the ordinary dishes served. But, I have seen them all embrace the newness that has been their recent home. And, I mean, a wholehearted embrace. They should be so proud of themselves. And, you as parents, will be too.

So, here we are, on the last leg of our togetherness. We are in Cusco surrounded by ancient Incan energy. We are awaiting our dinner in this twinkling city. I cannot express to you all the bond that we have forged with our WLS leaders. They have lovingly guided us at every turn of this memorable experience. We are leaving with three amazing new friends. Chris, Jorge, and Adela, we thank you. We are returning with alpaca hats, dirty toes, and a greater appreciation for all that we have back home. We have been stretched to great limits and have grown. Mr. Mercer has, despite bumpy Peruvian road commuting, been sensitive to recording every day's activities. Peru and it's gracious, simple people will always be a part of the fabric of your children's lives. I am grateful to have been a part of this experience with them. As we prepare to leave, of course, I am crying.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Machu Picchu Pictures

Piscacucho School Farwell

Another birthday in another continent; fifteen in North America (Memphis, Tennessee), sixteen in Asia (Beijing/Long Fong, China), and this year, my seventeenth in South America (Ollantaytambo, Peru). This years birthday, although, is the most special so far because it was spent on the top of Machu Picchu looking over the Peruvian rainforest and mountains. The day started at about five in the morning when Chris told us to be outside the hotel at five till six because our train left at six thirty. The train ride was cold, long, and awesome. The ride was about two hours long. When we got to the train station in Machu Picchu we went to the bathroom, boarded a bus and drove twenty-five minutes to the top. Some of us were not feeling so well but we all overcame our headaches and our tiredness and enjoyed the beauty of our surroundings. We spent many hours there, a few receiving a tour and then we made our way back down the mountain by bus again. We shopped around a little and I bought an awesome alpaca sweater. After the shopping I came into contact with technology for the first time in over a week because Mrs. Smithwick was talking to Brannon who wanted to say happy birthday to me. It felt weird but it was great to finally have communication from the other Americans. Once that short call was over we boarded the train and headed back to Ollanta and shopped some more. Dinner was at six thirty tonight and we ate at a great pizza place for the second time. The rest of the night will be filled with playing cards and doing ANCHOR and hopefully sleeping well. We only have two more night of sleeping left and hope to enjoy every bit of the rest of the trip and cannot wait to get home and see everyone!!


P.S. Happy Birthday Clay!!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Community Send-Off and Shaman Despacho Ceremonies

Earth Oven Ceremony (Pachamanca)

The process is to build an oven, stick the food inside and on top of the oven and bury the oven in the earth. Let the food cook for a few hours, dig up the oven, and eat hearty.