As much as I would love to write about the amazing culture, place and people of Peru, especially as I sit here on a stunning cloudless blue bird morning looking out over 4000m mountains, I have to write about the amazing 17 young adults I have been sharing time, experiences and pure joy with for the past week here in Cusco, Peru.
So in case I haven’t put in detail what I am doing, not I know much what I’m doing, I am currently in Cusco, Peru, heart of the Incan culture and the launching pad for possibly the most famous place in South America, Machu Picchu. But I am certainly not here for the over-catered, manicured and prescribed trips to the Incan ‘ruins’. I am here ‘leading a group of 17 students from Macquarie University in north Sydney on a volunteer development program with MQ and Australian Volunteers International. We are working with a local NGO –Peru’s Challenge who will soon have a blog spot from me in the very near future!
Our daily routine is to travel to a rural community 20 minutes by bus and 20 minutes walking from our accommodation in Cuscocalled Quilla Huata. There we are working on construction – to help build a building for Talleres which will be a space for females in the community to work, produce goods and earn money for sustainable livelihoods on top of the hard work they currently do, not always with food security. We are also helping in the local school giving English, health, sport and art lessons. I will also have to explain more about specifically what we are doing and the context of this amazing development project.
So back to the original thought of this blog which is the 17 19-24 year olds I have joined for this 4 week program. Being back with young people daily and in a teacher / leader type role is my bread and butter. I get to see the best of these people and absorb their passion, insights, enthusiasm, freshness, dedication and lust-for-life. It’s almost like Global Poverty Project presentations 24 hours a day with one select group.
This amazing Peru Crew have come to this developing country from all sorts of backgrounds and experiences, most who have travelled before. Here in a poverty stricken country and in particular the rural community we are working in they have their eyes wide open and already see the beauty and learning we can have from the culture, community and lifestyle of the people we are working with.
They attack their surroundings with such energy and innocence that they leave an amazing wake of laughter, joy and amazement everywhere they sweep through. Everything is fun, exciting, intriguing, engaging and a rich experience results for every interaction. I hate to be patronising but they are like a pack of little puppies with boundless energy and sniffing out everything possible and learning from it all. However this fantastic group also has so much to give in return with their amazing social consciousness, profession skills, hard work, dedication, organisation and cohesiveness to be as productive as they can be for the 4 week period.
It is an absolute privilege and joy to be interacting, learning, laughing and experiencing life with these guys and once again if the world doesn’t look like the best place in the world then I don’t know where does…