We have had this blog sent over from Peru! Enjoy reading about Team Wayra!
After 3 seamless flights, we find ourselves in Cusco in preparation for our first Camp, Maras. Sat high in the sacred valley, this is the newest camp in Peru. Looking over a small community and school, the location is unbelievable. Surrounded by ice capped peaks, the clear azure sky and the blazing sun making days lovely and warm and nights frosty.
The projects we are working on are based in the school and just outside in the new community currently under construction.
We arrived at the school to start and were welcomed by the entire school who performed their national anthem and donned traditional dress and took the hands of our team and danced to Peruvian music. They were so grateful for the help we were giving to improve the facilities in the school to benefit all the children.
We are digging foundations for a new dining hall for the school. They are currently using rooms designed as classrooms which leads to some lessons taking place outside in the searing sun. Ok occasionally but not everyday.
The soil is hard-baked in the day and frozen at night meaning progress is slow but steady with the energy of our team of 24 strong and eager volunteers.
The air is also thin. We are living at over 3700m (3x higher than Ben Nevis!) this makes every step and swing of the pick axe twice as hard. Each day we walk to and from project site which includes a 200m climb which is great training for our upcoming trek to Machu Picchu.
The trench needs to be 120cm at its lowest point and we are nearly there with the help of the local Maestros (tradesmen) and the next team are going to be able to fill the ditches with rocks to form the foundations. We are so lucky to be at the beginning of such a big project.
We are also building new toilets with septic tanks installed to replace the current unsanitary toilets. This has been started by our Gap year students and we are close to finishing them.
One other project involves more digging. The reason the community is moving to this location from higher up the mountain is because of a water shortage. The municipal council are building a reservoir but to benefit from it, 20 families need to move lower down the mountain into new mud-brick homes. We are providing the ditch and pipe to supply the water to this new settlement.
The local people are so friendly and warm. Young children have taught us to make traditional bracelets and immaculately dressed ladies have traded hand made goods for the team to buy as souvenirs. We are all decked out in alpaca goods now.
After a few days work, we took a short trek to see the Moray ruins to give us a taste of the Salkantay trail we will use to reach Machu Picchu later in the trip. The gigantic terraced amphitheatres dug into the valley floor viewed from high above showed the incredible work capable of the ancient folk who settled here hundreds of years ago and that they were far from primitive.
Time in camp has been very relaxing and a chance to get clean in hot bucket showers, playing cards in the dining room, singing around the camp fire and gazing up at the clearest skies to watch shooting stars fall to earth, further reminding ourselves how precious each moment of our lives are.
The food has been something rather special. Each mealtime bringing a mix of local and traditional food and more familiar dishes like spaghetti, chicken fajitas and even PANCAKES for breakfast on occasion.
The end of our first camp has come far too quick but we have become a very close team. Students are taking turns to lead the team each day in their own style and even called a emergency meeting to sort out the sub standard dishwashing to find a solution!
In our last daily briefing we called in the Camp Maras staff members to thank and applaud them for their incredible efforts to make our first week unforgettable. Anna, the camp manager and Jannet the head cook took the biggest cheers and that’s maybe why we got a treat for out last breakfast before we head out.. PANCAKES!
We are now off to Cusco to prepare for our trek but we are stopping at a Condor sanctuary on the way through and we can grab some last minute trek essentials (sweets in my case) before trekking the Andes.
If each week lives up to our first here in Peru, then this trip will leave an indelible mark on all of us.
Enjoy the pictures and I’ll try and update you after our trek.
Team Wayra Leader