Por los niños

On Wednesday morning, after five days trekking through the Andes under the glacial peaks of Salkantay, the crew reached Machu Picchu. Conquering 70+km and reaching a pass at 4750m, we finally made it to the city in the clouds.

The journey as important as the destination, there were many lessons along the way. Very quickly we learned from our guide, Silvio, that the Peruvian sense of mostly flat and about 20 minutes away is very different from our own! We learned that mules are our friends and the value of a good walking sticking. That coca tea, as well as a treatment for altitude sickness, can actually make waking up at 5:30am kind of wonderful. Moleskin is absolutely indespensible. That thunder you hear might just be an avalanche. Never underestimate people, especially those you think you know. Glacier water is very cold. Rum is warm. Everything is better if you have to work for it. Food, in any country, tastes better when you’re camping. And finally, though there were many more lessons learned:

Apparently, there IS only one way to skin a guinea pig. ‘Nuff said.

Jesse’ birthday celebration and the OG Awards crowned our last night together in Cusco and we parted ways the next day over a bottle of champagne.

Now it’s day four of ITT and our tight group is spread far across the country, even over the border. Jonah, Tamar, Calum, Chris and Leigh are headed through Bolivia towards Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flats in the world. Michelle, Sarah and I are fleeing the cold nights in Cusco to the northern beaches of Mancora and Huanchaco. Jesse is back in Lima, the capital, unsure if he’s heading north or south (come to to the north Jesse!). Antonia and Megan have already returned to Pisco to continue working with our partner there, Pisco Sin Fronteras.  Mike booked it to Arequiepa, “The White City”, with the El Misti volcano towering overhead. Mirae and Rebecca took a market tour to Puno and will be joining Mike today. The three of them all plan to join the ladies Pisco. Five OGers returning to work on the group’s volunteer projects is definitely an Operation Groundswell record. Felicidades chicos! Keep up the good work!

Having had lots of experience with the Peruvian sense of time, bargaining for public transportation, never really getting what you expect and countless other (hilarious) trials and tribulations, everyone was more than ready to go it alone. We can’t wait to hear what everyone’s gotten themselves into when we reunite back in the desert oasis, Huacachina, on the 18th.

Time flies. Have fun. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t drink the water.

Laura on behalf of the OG Peru DR Crew

Over and out.