Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Day One - First visit to the school

We all awoke early this morning from a mixture of jet lag and dehydration, but feeling refreshed from travelling. This morning started with breakfast and hydration testing and we all had lower O2 saturation than in England. Some of us feeling better than others, Harry and Jacob started the day with a run around the nearby mountains, which although they new it would be different to back home, they were shocked to discover how tough it was.

We then drove to the school passing through other local towns with our trip organizer Aaron telling us lots about the sites and cultures. When we arrived we met all the children for the first time, we were greeted with a hug and they all seemed happy to see us. A welcome ceremony took place, where we were paired with the children and tried some of the beans they had been harvesting. This was followed by a sacred tradition where we each made a wish on 3 cocoa leaves, which were then burnt to give thanks to the mother mountains. All of the children we keen to show us around, which ended in a big football match, and pushing them on the swings. After exploring the school grounds, we realized we had quite a lot of work to do over the next week, but we all had lots of ideas and enthusiasm about how we could help. Once we had paused for lunch we got to work clearing the weeds, and became familiar with the equipment we will be working with for the rest of the week, such as pick axes and sickles. 

After only an hour of work we seemed to have accomplished a lot and the grounds visually looked much better! It wasn’t all hard work though as we were kept entertained with Dom managing to catch an escaped chicken after us chasing it around the playground! At around 3pm we got on the bus to come back to the hostel with everyone feeling a little tired again but most have us seem to have coped with the altitude so far.  On the journey back Aaron arranged for us to eat at a local restaurant this evening, we aren’t too sure what to expect but we’ve heard the local delicacy is guinea pig and alpaca steaks!

Alice, Alice and Sophie

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