Our grade 10 class from the Fernie Academy was off on the trip of a lifetime after brief challenges with the U.S. Customs in Calgary. It was hard to contain our excitement when we landed in Lima, Peru at midnight.
For the first two weeks of our trip we spent our time at a boys school called CIMA in the valley of Cieneguilla. There we worked hard tripling the size of their existing hydroponic greenhouse – built by our school in 2010. That project took us just over a week. Construction is quite different down there than what we have in Fernie. We were all digging the holes, staining and tarring beams, racking gravel and there was a full day’s worth of hand sewing the material used for our walls and roof.
Because we finished the project earlier then expected, we had the rest of our week to enjoy with the boys in the classrooms, in the fields, and on the soccer pitch.
The boys were all very welcoming and helpful, even after suffering through our developing Spanish skills. Leaving after our two weeks was the hardest moment of the trip, filled with many hugs and tears. We will never forget our new friends.
For our last week we flew into Cuzco and toured the Sacred Valley with our very helpful Mestizo guide.
We handed out hundreds of pounds of donated clothes and supplies to a small village in the mountains. The people were extremely grateful and it was neat to see our old clothes being so happily received.
We explored many ancient Inca sites including Saqsaywaman, Pisac, Ollantaytambo and finally Machu Picchu.
It was a bright and early morning for those of us brave enough to climb Huaynapicchu before exploring Machu Picchu. At 5:30 a.m. we loaded a bus to climb about 360 metres of straight up, but it was well worth it.
It is incredible to see the amazing workmanship of the Incas who lived so long before us, working without power tools or machinery. It’s no wonder they consider it one of the seven wonders of the world.
This trip opened our eyes and let us view such a different culture and lifestyle from our own. We came back feeling very privileged to know that we live the lives we live and will never forget the lessons we have learned from our new friends.
We took back with us the memories of their smiles, kind hearts and amazing soccer skills.
Gracias to the Academy, our parents and teachers and the people and institutions of our amazing community (here’s to 140 loads of laundry, Joan) for your support and donations, helping us make our trip so successful and memorable.