Peru 2017

An International Service Trip

An International Service Trip

Interact’s third international service trip was to Cuzco, Peru, June 22 – July 9, 2017. We worked for a solid week in a local orphanage followed by trekking in the Andes and a visit to Machu Picchu. Along the way we explored ruins; visited museums and galleries and cooking classes; rode horses, mountain bikes, planes and trains, and our own blistered books; and we made many friends.



Machu Picchu

Horses & Ruins


Cusco & Other Towns

Ninos del Sol


Grab Bag of Pics

Our Blog:

Missing Where I Used to Be

TESS YOUMANS – I have always been comfortable with the discomforts that come along with travel; cold showers, unexpected weather, language barriers, running out of currency, the list goes on.

A Simpler Life

EMILY VANHAITSMA – We adjusted to the altitude together, bargained in the markets together, and hiked up mountains we thought were impossible to climb.

Fanny Packs and Bucket Hats

KEIRA GROBBEL – While some visited the Temple of Sun, and others toured the coffee museum, I, along with Tess, Alex, Charlie, and Emily, wandered the streets of the city.

Machu Picchu

TIMKO BLYSNIUK – I understood that the early wake-up was to avoid the hordes of tourists that would overtake the archaeological site in the more reasonable hours in the morning, but even then my brain wasn’t convinced that it was the correct move.

Trek Day Two: A Different Kind of Freedom

RACHEL WICKEY – I slowly, but surely, packed up all my things, trying my hardest to have my pack as weight free as possible because I was going to endure a 8 hour hike through the Inca Jungle.

Trek Day Two: Urubamba Views

SAFFRON JAMES -The terrain for the first half of the day was a lot of steep ups and downs. Even though the hiking was tiring the view was more than worth it.

Trek Day One: Biking Down the Malaga

JACQUES FINCH – As we were driving up the mountain, we started to drive into a cloud, which I assumed we would probably drive out of soon. But when we kept driving and stayed inside of the cloud, . . .

Goodbyes for Ninos del Sol

ALICIA ANDERSON -Today is the last day working with the ninos and I don’t think I have ever cried this much. I have gone through a lot of hard times and it surprises me that leaving a group of people I have only known for a week could hurt me more than ever.

This Moment – Black Gold

ALEXANDRIA D’ANTONIO – 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.


CHARLIE MEISSNER -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!

Reaching Across Some Divides

MACKENZIE BLACKWELL – Turns out being at 10,000 feet above sea level makes soccer a lot harder. The whole thing felt like something out of a movie.

Facing It

BROOKE BLACKWELL – We gathered around a small pen-like area while a duck was brought out, and Avishai explained to us that the ducks and all animals here live a happy, healthy, and comfortable life. . . .

First Impressions

ABBY VANHAITSMA – This experience cannot be compared to anything else I have ever seen or done, and it is not something you can envision or imagine without actually seeing it. There were a few points where I almost shed a tear because of how emotional this was.

A Step Into the Past – Ripples Into the Present

HENRY SMITH – I can only imagine the world the Spanish found in the 16th century. The ruins we saw today were magnificent, even after four centuries. Sacsaywaman in particular stood out for its megalithic architecture, but it was almost sad to see.

Travel Ahead: Why the Need is Greater Than Ever

We have received our itineraries, prepared for our service experience at Ninos del Sol orphanage, and broken in our hiking boots across Michigan park trails; but whatever we plan, Peru has its own agenda–if only we are open to hearing it.