Charlie Meissner

Class of 2017

Wanderings – The Variety of Peru


JUNE 2017


Crystal and I finally finished putting fresh plaster on the walls of Casa de Compo yesterday with guidance from Jovenal, the handy man.

Originally, the plan was to throw the plaster onto the walls with our hands, but unfortunately the plaster was always too thin, so we had to use brooms and brushes to ‘paint’ the plaster on, yet much of it somehow managed to cover us instead–haha! Even though there was a language barrier between the Jovenal and myself, Crystal, a middle school Spanish teacher, was very helpful in translating instructions. I was very happy for this, and I also learned new vocabulary that became useful when talking to the children of Ninos del Sol,

The group at the waterfall in Urubamba Valley.

This work became difficult as we became increasingly hungry for lunch, but we conquered it. When lunch time did come, we enjoyed a bowl of duck soup, the duck of which I helped harvest the previous day. I have never done something like this before and it was an amazing experience for me. I was embracing a culture that I was not used to and I loved it. When I think back to that day, I remember what Avishai told us, that this experience should help us respect the animals that provide food for us. I never truly thought of this when buying a hamburger from a fast food place.

The children of Ninos del Sol are what make this trip even more meaningful. Knowing that what I am doing to help around directly and indirectly affects the children is very pleasing. Not only am I helping them, they are also helping me. Marko, a 17 year old, had conversations with me of various topics including my schooling, freetime activities, sports, and more. I learned that he had already graduated at 16, and only has 11 grade levels he has to complete.

“I drank from the freshwater that ran down the stream and it was coldly refreshing. I did not want to leave.”

I got to experience a peaceful and personal time when hiking through the mountains. The waterfalls and streams were very beautiful. I did not want to leave! I drank from the freshwater that ran down the stream and it was coldly refreshing. My favorite part was the solo walk back down the mountain, which then turned into a group of three wandering semi-lost people looking for the exit. I was glad that I took many pictures to document my travels.

At dinner that night we got to experience a variety of Peruvian activities and food. I tried guinea pig for the first time! Although it was essentially the smallest portion of meat I have ever eaten, it was decent. I was nervous to try it, but it wasn’t that bad! I wanted to have one of everything so bad, but my stomach wouldn’t let me. While eating I watched very entertaining dances involving dragons, monsters, and people trying to set other people on fire. Well, not actually, but setting a piece of paper attached to their body on fire. Also the music that the live band played was so amazing, I just had to buy one of their CD’s. I am loving this trip so much, and I am looking forward to the hike to Machu Picchu!


Our Blog

The next two weeks will offer an intermittent set of reflections from our students and chaperones as we encounter Peru.  Find and follow us here and at #InteractinPeru.

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