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Peru 2015: Students Explore, Learn and Serve
Over Spring break, 29 students traveled with faculty and staff members to Peru for an immersion week. So what did they do? From salt flats to mountain tops, SJND students truly immersed themselves in the natural and cultural landscape of Peru. View photo highlights
Lima (March 31) In Lima, students toured the Miraflores region of capital city, ate lunch overlooking the Pacific Ocean, toured the San Francisco Monastery and Catacombs and toured a museum to learn about the history of Peru. Students also had the opportunity to sample traditional Peruvian fare and participate in Peruvian cultural dances.
Cuzco (April 1) Students visited the Korikancha Temple, a famous Incan temple in the heart of Cuzco and learned about the ancient civilization. Students learned about silver mining and purification in Peru.
Sacred Valley (April 2, 3) En route to the Sacred Valley, the group visited a nonprofit that educates Peruvian people on traditional weaving using the fur of the alpaca and llama and dyes made from natural local leaves, bark, flowers, and even beetles! The students were amazed by the vibrant colors and the beautiful items the locals made. The next day, the group took a bus to Ollantaytambo, a World Heritage Site, where they climbed to the top of an Incan temple with a local guide who taught them about the significance of the temple and more about the Incan people. The views were breathtaking. Later, they visited the Maras Salt Ponds where locals harvest salt from the natural springs of the mountain. Students had the opportunity to hike around the ponds, taste the salt, and purchase some if they wished. At the hotel, between excursions, many of the students, the tour leader and bus driver, and some of the adults played soccer.
Agua Caliente/Machu Picchu (April 4, 5) Students traveled by train to Agua Caliente, the town that sits at the base of Machu Picchu. They then took a windy bus ride to the entrance and hiked to the top of Machu Picchu with a guide, then split into groups to explore the whole site for the day. After a long day of exploring and hiking, the group returned to the hotel in Agua Caliente, at the base of Machu Picchu, and students visited the hot springs to relax and soak their tired muscles.
Easter in Cuzco (April 6) The group had a wonderful start to Easter working with a group from the local community. Students and teachers helped clean the playground and field, purchase building and other supplies for the community center and child center, participate in the construction of the center, and play with the children. Our students also purchased toothbrushes, socks, underwear, and toilet paper from the money we raised for the children. The day ended with an evening Easter service and dinner at a local restaurant.
The Amazon (April 7, 8) In the Amazon, students traveled by river boat 3 hours to get to the eco lodge they stayed for their last few days in Peru. The lodge had huts with mosquito nets over the beds and no electricity except for a solar light. By the time they arrived it was dark and it was time for a night hike with local guides by flashlight. Students saw huge spiders, snakes, and other Amazon wildlife. The next morning students got up at 4am to take an hour-long river boat journey during which they saw the sun rise. Once the group reached their destination, students hiked to observe hundreds of scarlet macaws and parrots arrive at the clay cliffs as well as a group of howler monkeys. Later, students returned to the lodge and took a day hike in the Amazon, observing plants and animals. The final day ended on the river with a full moon looking for caymans, one of which the students got to see up close and personal.