Alexandria D'Antonio

Class of 2017

“This Moment” : Black Gold


JUNE 2017


No more compost needed (for the time being)!!! Today, Ashley and I finished the compost project we started on our first day of helping Casa de Compo (a part of Ninos del Sol). Initially, Avishai wanted three strong boys to help with the compost project but instead he got Ashley and I as volunteers, and we hauled ass.

I’ve never created compost before and this was an amazing experience of finding “black gold”. Ashley and I, along with other help from people who came and went, also had to bag the dirt and wheelbarrow them up to the gate. We did that about thirty times. Although the work was heavy duty and I’ve blown out dirt out of my nose enough times for me to count, I know that it was more than worth it. Helping the family at Ninos del Sol in accomplishing their sustainable and beautiful visions for the hotel and their own home has done more for me than it may have for them.

Overlooking the Urubamba Valley.

Getting to know the kids, or more or less fellow adolescents, has been slightly progressing. Although our last day is tomorrow, making friends with the children from Ninos del Sol has been hard. However, language barrier aside, I understand how tough it might be for them to be welcoming to complete strangers from an almost entirely different culture.

…accomplishing their sustainable and beautiful visions for the hotel and their own home has done more for me than it may have for them.

I have become great friends with Solidad, the youngest girl here at ten, since day one. Our relationship started when she tried to guess my age and later on that evening she hid behind me during the duck killing. I know her favorite ice cream flavors – which are bubble gum and mint, and how great of a baker she is. On the second day though, she left to go visit her village where her dad lives.

I also got to learn a little about Marko, who is 17. He speaks and understands English well and had told me how the country he’d like to travel the most is India. Doris who I met yesterday during our small hike, and is 16, had laughed in amazement that both of our favorite colors were blue. We also both like to sleep a lot.

Photo by Abby VanHaitsma

Today after lunch, we ended up hiking up Las Chullpas. Up in the steep slope of the mountains stood an arrangement of rectangular brick structures that may pre-date the Incas. Nobody knows why they’re there. Viviana is convinced that it was made for meditation and Avishai thinks that it was made to store food.

The hike up was steep and strenuous, but the view was definitely worth it. Seeing the Sacred Valley in Urubamba from such an amazing height and perspective was peaceful. Avishai led us up to the ruins and made us meditate during between stops. On our way down, he told us to only be in the present, “There is no future. There is no past. There is only this moment,” he said. And to be honest, it was hard to keep my mind clear from our incessant and habitual thoughts. I did however, get a chance to hold a few moments to myself in the present and plan to practice more meditation in the future.


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