Groton Peru June 24th, 2012: Words From Charlotte and Katherine

It is now our seventh day in Ollantaytombo, Peru, and we have seen a lot of progress with our work. The building that we are transforming into a library/community center is coming along nicely-despite the excited local children who “know” what they’re doing.  What was once a drab, abandoned structure, is now a happy red brick color on the outside and is full of devoted Groton students eagerly working away. As we work not only are we helping the community, but also we are learning a lot about each other and ourselves. For example, Anna struggles with painting, and Daraja is a pro at plastering. We also have pushed ourselves to our stretch zone 9,000 feet in the air, holding hands while trekking down the mountainside.

The day after the treacherous hike, we had a more relaxed day of working and later some discussion and an exciting exercise. In the exercise, we were organized into groups based on our personality types as determined by the Kiersey Temperment Sorter Test we all took prior to meeting. For example there were the harmonizing and extroverted people: Annie, Deki, Ms. Hughes, Mr. Das, and Gen; the introverted leaders: Charlotte, Chichi, Henry, Katherine, Anna, and Aron; the perceivers: Bobby, Ms.Palomo, Sofi, Morgan, Daraja, and Jason; and the inspired: Jared, Analia, Yowanna, and Will. In these groups we competed in building structures out of spaghetti, string, and a marshmallow seeing who could build the tallest one. The perceivers won. Through this exercise we worked to gain a greater sense of our strengths, weaknesses, and inclination, and we hope to use these insights to engage as productively as possible in our work here and in the future.

Though we are having an amazing time some people haven’t yet assimilated to certain aspects of Peruvian Life. For example, Bobby and Morgan are coping with the lack of nightlife (because the sun goes down at 6:00). Sofi is trying to regain Katherine’s trust after she tricked her into eating guinea pig, claiming it was badly cooked chicken. Gen, Chichi, and Anna are facing digestive problems after eating “American” pizza. Will and Daraja are coming to terms with the fact that they might not be able to keep up with Jose as he sprints across the soccer fields. The boys who got winded after ten minutes claimed that it was only because soccer isn’t their sport. Today Analia went to church with her host family-Charlotte stayed at home and rested up for a hard day of work. Although they appear to be hygienic (disregarding Henry’s scruff), Bator and Yowana are having slight shower issues-their host family is definitely warm and inviting, but they can’t say the same about their shower.  Nevertheless, we all persevere and are grateful for the opportunity to be here together.

Charlotte and Katherine

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