The days are passing far too quickly right now for all of us. Students are forming relationships with each other, their host families, and with the people of Ancco Pacha. We are gaining experience and talent as plasterers, painters, sweepers, and sanders at the worksite, and we are growing increasingly comfortable in our homes in the Andes.
Our goals for this trip are quite ambitious: we want students to come to understand better themselves, others, the world, and the nature of service through the many forms our “work” takes in the course of our days in Peru. In the midst of dripping paint, drying plaster, and barking dogs at the worksite today, we asked students to pair up with another student they had not known well prior to coming on this trip and ask some questions of each other. Below, we offer some of the highlights taken from their responses.
Our host family is so amazing and so funny. They take such good care of us. I really like being in Peru. It is different, of course, but I like- no I love it. I love the contrasts.
I have learned discipline with the work, and my Spanish is a lot better now, and I am pretty proud of that. I have become more relaxed, more chill with things I guess.
Being here is different from being at home, which is nice because it puts things in perspective, and it makes you appreciate your life.
I have realized that I am more adaptive than I initially realized. I am open to trying different things, such as the food, and have opened myself to new experiences. I am also making more of an effort to get to know those around me.
Last year I just thought that if you went on a service trip you were a “better person.” Now I understand how important the work is. It bothers me now if people are just here and not working hard and thinking they are doing stuff.
The food has yet to disappoint me.
The food, well, it is hit it miss with our family, either really good or bad, but we eat it anyway because we are hungry.
I am learning that poverty does not define how happy a person is. And I have learned that getting to know the community members makes the work more meaningful.
What I am valuing the most about this experience is learning about human communication. It goes beyond just knowing a language. I was anxious at first about being with my host family because I do not speak Spanish, but we have been able to communicate regardless. We have also found shared interests, despite the cultural differences, such as soccer and boxing.
Peru is gorgeous, the mountains so beautiful. It has an ancient feel to it, with the ruins as well as all of the traditions. I find it interesting that the people here have been able to maintain a connection to Inca beliefs and at the same time commit to Catholic beliefs.
I appreciate all of the hard work that you put into the work here. Some people talk about how much more efficient the work would be if we had some of the tools we have in America, but we are able to make do with what we have. It is almost as if we are following tradition. Look at what the Incas were able to accomplish without the wheel!
I appreciate this group because you get to know people that you pass in the hall without really knowing well and with good friends I have been able to develop a deeper bond. And beyond that I really appreciate the relationships with teachers here and deepening those relationships.
I am realizing that I really like tea — and also, if I put my mind to something, no matter the challenge, I can perform and do my best.
I have been inspired by numerous people and their actions, and I want to listen more.
I have learned that I am more sympathetic to people who are in tougher situations than I am in.
So far, what has been most rewarding was reaching the top on our hike to the quarries. Eating lunch then was great; I have never been so hungry.
My favorite part of this experience so far has been working because you get to interact with the other kids from Groton, as well as the people from Ancco Pacha.
My favorite part has been connecting with the daughters in my family because we can connect despite language and cultural barriers.
The work is hard, but I am excited to see the community center when we are finished.
My favorite food here is chicha morado.
At Groton I have been learning Spanish, but I never practiced it. Here I practice and I know I am getting better.
My favorite part of being in Peru has been getting to know my host family and assimilating to Peruvian culture. I like being in Ancco Pacha also because the children there are so sweet. It is amazing to see how they get so excited about things we take for granted.
I really like the work. I think I would be content if I were painting or plastering for a job. It is really satisfying. I also like the routine we have. You get really, really dirty and it is tiring, but it is worth it. And my Groton roommate and I have become really close. I love her.