Thursday, 6 August 2015

UniBreak conquers Machu Picchu

PROJECT: Teaching
WRITTEN BY: Laura Manzi

Someone once said that waking up at 4am was hard; well, waking up at 4am, walking to the gate of Machu Picchu, waiting in a ginormous line and then trekking up the side of a 4km mountain is hard! Never under estimate the real fulfilment that you get from a day in the ruins of the city of Machu Picchu -- the serene hills, the fresh air, the excitement from other tourists, and the chance to get a “money-shot,” is what makes the morning struggle feel worthwhile.

We decided to buy a bus ticket for the return back down the mountain because, for most of us, the trek took just over an hour to complete. We explored the hills after watching the sun rise over the mountain; we had the best weather because usually the area is very foggy before 6am and it’s quite rare to have no fog, but we were very fortunate and managed to get the best photos.

We tagged along on one of the circling tours, baked in the warmth of the sun near the edge of the Condor Temple and made friends with a variety of people from America, Europe and Mexico – this experience has made our trip to Cusco one that will always be remembered.

We met Jerry, one of the in-country-partners, this week when he tagged along with us to school on Monday. Jerry’s story made everyone smile because, after living in a suburban life in Australia, Jerry decided that he was going to use his good fortune to make a difference in the world and that’s when he joined the Peru’s Challenge team.

Jerry’s smile brightens a room and his optimism is extremely contagious and we all feel grateful for his support at Pumamarca primary.
I actually started painting a mural with the kids this week after noticing that my group had most of the art classes, which was convenient.

I painted a tree and then we had students put their hand-prints around the tree like leaves. It’s coming along very nicely and I feel that it captures the school’s mission to bring the community together and create a sense of belongingness.

Funnily enough, we had accidentally bought plaster instead of paint but this was easily sorted with the ICPs. While Alex and Hannah were assisting kids to print their hands on the mural, I had the year 4’s and 3’s making animals out of rocks and blowing bubbles into paint-water in order to participate bubble-printing.

The ICP’s are great when we need to organise resources and bring our lessons to life. My roommate, Jade, has been very successful with the older years in computer classes – she had the kids make acrostic poems out of their names by using English words and Australian animals.
Today Jade has gone to laminate the end results which look absolutely fantastic. The other girls, Jemma and Elle, made butterflies with the little kids and the boys, Zac and Josh, did AFL skills in sport this week.

I unfortunately rolled my ankle on the way back from Machu Picchu which meant that I had to miss out on school today – this was so hard because school is the most exciting part of the day and really makes our efforts and contributions feel appreciated, and seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces every day makes every cell in our bodies feel alive!

Nicco took us down to an Incan Palace near the school which was really interesting, however we were distracted by a puppy that kept following us down the mountain. It was adorable and none of us could let the poor thing go. It’s cool to see how casual people are with the dogs here and it almost feels as if the dogs roam run the streets.

In the community Jerry also took us to see a jewellery maker who sits in his little workshop handcrafting some of the finest jewellery that we have ever seen. Yet again, this week in Cusco and Pumamarca has proven to change our lives and help to grow the students and our perspective of living and life outside of Peru and beyond, as well.

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