Thursday, 16 July 2015
Exploring the Secret Valley & Peruvian home visits
WRITTEN BY: Luke Sheepway
Our first home visit.
Throughout our time here in Cusco we will be visiting the houses of the children that go to the school to get a greater understanding on how they are being brought up and also show us how important the school is for them.
Our house visits consist of 4 of us walking to the child’s house and presenting the family with a box of food and household supplies (toothpaste, soap, detergent…).
The four of us that went were Sebastian, Liv, Ruby and myself, after around 1km of walking the same way the children take to school each morning and afternoon, we arrived at their home. However, upon arrival we were all in quite a shock to find these kids are basically living in a garbage tip.
There were rubbish piles everywhere, no concrete floors, stray dogs rummaging through whatever they could find and there weren’t any secure doors.
Nico began to give us some general information about this specific family; three children (6, 8 and 12 years old), the mother and father work on different farms trying to gather as much money or food as they possibly can and also I think was one of the sadder moments was when Nico told us how their father was an alcoholic.
We were escorted into the kitchen ‘shed’, now I call it a shed because it was basically four walls and most of a roof. No floor, no electricity, no windows.
The only furniture in this room was a small stand where a wood fire stove in placed and a tiny concrete bench made from cinder blocks. What happened next truly opened our eyes to the importance of the work Peru’s Challenge and Antipodeans do for these communities.
The mother arrived home and we presented her with the box of food and household supplies, she immediately broke down into tears and continued to mumble words in spanish we couldn't quite understand.
All I could make out was the constant repetition of “gracias” (Thank you). As her tears fell down her cheeks, I couldn't help but notice the eldest boy, 12 years old was already man of the house. From what I’ve witnessed he takes care of his younger brothers and I believe the sentimental value of the food and supplies also brought this young man to tears. I could see the fight in him to stay strong and give off that vibe of being brave.
After numerous hugs and thank you’s from the kids and mother we eventually headed back home, a little more wiser about the effort it must take these kids to get to school each day, and a little more wiser to the fact that they need the school to provide for them so they too can have a better lifestyle sometime in the future.
Sacred Valley Tour.
After last weekend’s quad biking and not actually seeing the parts of the sacred valley we were meant to, we all went on an all day bus tour. Waking up at 7am on a cold Peruvian day was not an ideal start but by the end of the tour we knew it was worth it.
After a two-hour bus ride we arrived in a small village by the name of “Pisac”, this little market village sat in the bottom of the valley completely surrounded by these towering mountains. At the top of one of these mountains was a structure reminiscent of an old Incan watch tour.
This area was used largely for agricultural purposes and it was quite astonishing to witness the way the Incan’s carved into the mountain to create these layers and levels of different agricultural farmlands. The watch tour ruins had a great view of the valley and Pisac below, however the climb to the top was strenuous and hard to say the least.
After photos were taken and we caught our breath we made our way back down the ruins to the bus and onwards back into Pisac for shopping.
We were treated with an educational lesson on silver, they explained how to tell real from fake. Afterwards, we all ventured into the long tunnels of markets in search of anything interesting from musical instruments to an array of knifes and deadly weapons (we kept our distance from them) to probably the softest rug I have ever had the pleasure of rubbing my cheek up against. These markets had everything. However with a long tour a head of us and also a buffet lunch on its way, we opted to continue on before we spent all our money.
The drive through the valley was mesmerising with these vast mountains on either side of us that over time have just amounted to sheer cliffs and jagged rocks. Lunch too, was something spectacular.
Nothing can make a hungry teenager happier than the words “Buffet Lunch”; this small eatery had this beautiful garden entrance with a water feature and even a church out the back.
We were gifted with a wedding happening inside the church but as we sat down to eat our food everyone started to clear our the church in their fancy dresses and mostly well-made suits.
After thirds and possibly fourths (we lost count) for lunch, we continued on for another hour or so to another Incan ruin, this too sat on the side of a mountain. This fortress was forged thousands of years ago when the Spanish were invading.
Some of these rocks were enormous and we’re still having a hard time trying to figure out how they moved them.
The view from the top of this ruin stretched down the valley where we could see the mountains, rivers and gullies that make up the Sacred Valley. The 2-hour bus ride back after the long day was exhausting and most of us tried to have quick nap at some point or another. It was truly a great experience seeing the Sacred Valley.