After our time in Quenco, we traveled to the city of Urubamba, which resembled a small town in how compact it was but a city in its bustling atmosphere. After arriving, we were given some downtime, during which one group decided to explore the city and buy ice cream. The photo groups met for some time before dinner to review and edit photos and prepare for the “photo expedition” the following day. Meanwhile the “Spaniards” practiced their conversational Spanish in a game of Heads Up. The day itself was very relaxed. After dinner, we had our first round of cultural autobiographies, where fours members of our group shared their stories and experiences related to their culture and background. This was followed by a discussion set around the quotation “If you pity my struggle, please move on. If your struggle is tied up in mine, let’s sit down and talk.” We ended the day with two entertaining and humor-filled games of mafia – complete with betrayals and lying expertise. The following morning we took a bus to Munaychay, a Peruvian home not only for orphans, but also for those coming from unstable homes. We were greeted by Lucas, a 19-year-old German volunteer living and working at the orphanage as part of his gap year. While we waited for the children to arrive from school, we were shown around the orphanage and we had some time to meet in groups – Spanish worked on vocabulary and grammar, while the “Photogs” met to learn about filming and video in preparation for out interviews with Lucas, Freddy and Angelo (two kids living at the orphanage), and other volunteers.
After our interviews, as kids slowly trickled in from school, we split up into different houses where the kids lived. Soon, everyone was playing and getting to know the kids through fútbol and playing on the playground. We closed our day at Munaychay with a couple songs and a bumpy bus ride home. Once back at the Ecolodge, we had our second round of cultural autobiographies followed by a discussion around the word “Ubuntu”, meaning “I am because you are.”
Brock, our Spanish workshop leader, gets the group laughing with a rousing version of Heads Up in Spanish. (Photo: J.Lambert)
The Munaychay orphanage is located in a beautiful valley above Urubamba. (Photo: J.Lambert)
Lucas, a German volunteer at Munaychay, gives us an an introduction to the orphanage. (Photo: J.Lambert)
Photo instructor Erika shares a laugh with Barakah and Andrea. (Photo: J.Lambert)
Members of the group take a break after long afternoon playing with the children of Munaychay. (Photo: J.Lambert)
Sophie makes a new friend! (Photo: J.Lambert)
Brock leads a language game with Winsor students and children from Munaychay. (Photo: J.Lambert)
The leaders! Ms. Kashyap, Brock, Erika, and Mr. Lambert (taking the picture!)
Eve is ready to shoot the interviews! (Photo: J.Lambert)
Erika shares pro video tips with students prior to recording interviews at the Munaychay orphanage. (Photo: J.Lambert)
A winding bus ride up into the Andes brought us to the secluded Peruvian village of Qenqo. While travellers pass through from time to time, our group was the first to spend the night there. We were welcomed with an incredible show of local culture, complete with traditional songs, dance, and poetry. After integrating us into a dance that mimicked a local high-altitude bird, the villagers escorted us to a plot of land above their fútbol (soccer) field where they worked together as a community to till the soil. Before preparing the land, it is customary for the villagers to pour a glass of a yellow corn drink Chícha onto the soil after first consuming sone themselves; this tradition signifies the nourishment of both the earth and the villagers of Qenqo. The community comes together to help a different family every day by cultivating their land. With the hands of the Qenqo community and the Winsor girls working together, a significant portion of a mountainside was tilled and prepared for planting.
After working with the community, we used our free time to both rest, and interact with the locals. In the mid-afternoon, a bumpy and terrifying (but altogether fun) bus ride up the side of a cliff took us to a nearby lake and a pasture for llamas, alpacas, and sheep to graze. Every day, Quechua women lead the livestock up the winding road to let them graze in the grassy field, and that same day the women bring the animals back into the town to protect them from foxes and other predators. We helped the women herd the livestock back into town as the sun set. Although we were exhausted from a long and exciting day with the villagers of Qenqo, we worked together to prepare the song “Hey-Ho” by the Lumineers to sing to the village. Our performance was a big success, and a chorus of encores led us to play another song, “Riptide” by Vance Joy. A number of Winsor girls and the teachers then played a game of fútbol with some of the Quechua women. Despite the altitude, the Winsor girls pulled through and scored quite a few goals in the scrimmage (with only minimal falling). The next morning, the community invited us to a llama fertility ceremony. They pierced the ears of the llamas with a pink tassel and poured a magenta dye on their backs. Although we had spent only 24 hours in the village of Qenqo, saying goodbye to the welcoming and kindhearted community was heartbreaking for everyone.
Qenqo, Perú. A local man stands near a row of traditional gardening tools. Photographer: Nuala
A detail from a llama fertility ceremony in Qenqo, Perú. Photographer: Kiara
Locals in Qenqo pierce the ears of a llama during a fertility ceremony. Photographer: Kiara
Close-up of a local child. Qenqo, Perú. Photographer: Kiara
Students learn how to create a manta wrap used for carrying many things including babies! Photo: E.Skogg
A boy works on his daily chores. Qenqo, Perú. Photographer: Eve
A local girl in Qenqo takes a break from work to play in the grass. Qenqo, Perú. Photographer: Azanah
A girl peers through a broken window. Qenqo, Perú. Photographer: Eve
Portrait of a boy in Qenqo, Perú. Photographer: Genna
It is difficult to imagine a warmer welcome than we received upon arrival in Cusco. As we exited the airport a group of fifteen girls from Peruvian Promise awaited us with a hand made welcome sign. They screamed “¡Bienvenidos!”, tossed confetti in the air, and greeted the group with big hugs and kisses on the cheek. After a group photo and introductions we said farewell for now to our Peruvian friends and jumped on the bus for a short ride to the hostel in Cusco.
Exploring Cusco and Saqsaywaman
Erika and Lucie take aim at Saqsaywaman. (Photo: J.Lambert)
Andrea explores Saqsaywaman with her camera. (Photo: J.Lambert)
Photography instructor Mr. Lambert, works with Eve at Saqsaywaman.
The group at Saqsaywaman.
Saqsaywaman, Cusco Perú (Photo: J.Lambert)
Nuala sets up a shot at Saqsaywaman ruins in Cusco. (Photo: J.Lambert)
The group pauses for a photo among some of the largest rocks used in Inca construction.
A stone doorway at Saqsaywaman.
Genna and Sophie take aim at Saqsaywaman. (Photo: J.Lambert)
A moment of rest at Saqsaywaman. (Photo: J.Lambert)
Dancers in Plaza de Armas celebrate harvest festival. (Photo: J.Lambert)
Brightly colored costumes and elaborate dances bring a local celebration of harvest fest to life. (Photo: J.Lambert)
Musicians play during a harvest fest celebration in Plaza de Armas. (Photo: J.Lambert)
Our first group meeting! We held our program orientation in the heart of Cusco, Plaza de Armas. We developed goals and expectations for the program and the group was introduced to their new teachers Brock and Erika. (Photo: J.Lambert)
Barakah at a local all girls school in Cusco. The school provides education opportunities for young woman from rural areas. (Photo: J.Lambert)
Dinner With Our New Friends From Peruvian Promise
While in Cusco we visited a local all girls school dedicated to providing education opportunities to girls from rural areas where access to education is limited. We toured the school and learned about the organizations history and ongoing goals. In the evening we went out for pizza with our new friends from the school and had a great night getting to know them and learning about their culture. For students in the Spanish workshop it was a great opportunity to practice their language skills and connect with local girls their age!
Our friends from Peruvian promise join us for dinner! (Photo: J.Lambert)
We are at our gate in Boston excited and ready to head to Peru! The girls are in high spirits and looking forward to the adventure ahead. The weather here in Boston weather has cause a flight delay; our departure is now 630pm. If the delay increases or causes a connection issue in Miami we will let you know, otherwise we will contact you again when we arrive in Cuzco! ¡Gracias!
The Winsor Peru program was organized and supported by Putney Student Travel in collaboration with The Winsor School. Shaped by Putney Student Travel’s vast network in Peru and their extensive experience delivering challenging, innovative, fun, and safe student travel programs, the Winsor Peru trip combined the best of cultural immersion, outdoor adventure, collaborative development, photography, and language learning. A warm thank you to our friends at Putney for all their hard work and professionalism throughout the process.