Laundry Issues

Friday 9th August

Today in preparation for my return home I took 99% of my clothes to the laundry. Figuring that it would only take 24 hours, I would be okay with only one outfit of clothes. Unfortunately due to some construction, he told me that the water is shut off for some of today and some of tomorrow, and since he is not open on Sunday, I won't be able to pick up my clothes until Monday. As a result I have no clothes save the ones I am currently wearing... It could be an interesting (and cold) few days...

Goodbye to my amazing roommate

Friday 26th July

Today I had to say goodbye to my roommate Charlotte. During the 2 months that we have been roommates we have become so close. She has been my best friend in the house, always there to support me, go with me to the shops and to brighten my day. I am so sad to say goodbye but I know that we will always be friends and that I will see her soon. All the best and safe travels to my darling Charlotta! xxx

Cusco And Machu Picchu

Sunday 14th July - Friday 19th July

After a 20 hour bus ride to Cusco from Lima, we arrived to the pouring rain in nothing but thongs (flip flops). We found our hostel and settled in. After a quick catch up with wifi, we headed off to our meeting for our 4 day Trek. It was a bit difficult to find the hostel, not to mention exhausting, since it was up a massive hill. The briefing outlined the itinerary for the 4 day trek, starting with mountain biking.

We woke up nice and early to the freezing cold of Cusco and were taken by bus to the top of a mountain. As we drove we   began to see the snow falling outside. We soon discovered that the temperature outside was below freezing! We all rugged up, hopped on our bikes and braved the weather. Unfortunately because we were going down hill there was no need to peddle so that wasn't helping to keep us warm. 30 minutes and two frozen hands later I started to feel motion sick. I stopped for a moment and all of a sudden was hit with dizziness and nausea. I felt close to fainting and had to wait for the support van to pick me up.

We enjoyed a hot lunch and then proceeded to climb into the back of a small cattle truck to be transported to our hostel. When we hopped out we were told we had a 45 minute hike, uphill to our hostel. Although this didn't seem daunting, it soon proved to be very difficult. We were all huffing and puffing and soaked in sweat by the time we reached the top. All of a sudden the cold showers became very appealing. I have never enjoyed a cold shower so much and the feeling of being clean after being covered in sweat. 

Day 2 had a leisurely beginning, however soon proved to test my fear of heights and falling. Making myself walk down rocky steps with a sheer cliff face only a step to the left was a terrifying experience. Controlling my legs was incredibly tough but luckily I made it! We stopped to have lunch and a siesta in the hammocks and then continued on our journey. After crossing a swinging wire-y bridge and a cable cart (which looked to be more of a metal seat on a wire) we made it to the hot spring. We all happily enjoyed the please 32 degree waters. After a couple hours at the hot springs we headed to our hostel for the night.

The 3rd day started with zip-lining between mountains. I was surprisingly ok with this activity, although when we came to a wire log bridge, where you had to un-clip and re-clip yourself on, I began to freak out a little. Once I was half way through the bridge I lost it even more, since it was twisting and turning. Finally manage to make my way across the whole thing. We then caught a bus to Hydro Electrica, and made our hike to Aguas Calientes. After a long hike and a few chocolate stops, we made it to Aguas Calientes for our last night. 

Our final day was spent at Machu Picchu. After waking up at 4am and lining up for the bus for an hour and a half, we were on our way to the top. At 6am we arrived at the entrance. We toured the site, taking in all the spectacular buildings hidden at the top of the jungle. After our tour we explored a little, and I was split from my friends. While we were waiting we started to take photos of the Llamas. Then the llama started to climb the stairs, so what did we do, follow it!

I will admit, we got a little over excited, and using a banana took any photos of ourselves with the llama. 

Unfortunately for Olivia, who was amusing herself by making the llama bow for the banana, she was spat on by the llama... twice. I can't say that I didn't laugh, because honestly I think I almost wet myself it was so funny.

After that we did our hike of Machu Picchu Mountain. It was so hard. An hour and a half going up gravely, uneven stairs which were definitely not up to the standard of australian building standards. We finally made it to the top after numerous breaks, to behold a breath taking view of the surrounding mountains of Machu Picchu.

It was an amazing hike, which was made amazing by the people I was able to share it with. Whether or not you have an appreciation of the ruins, one must appreciate the amazing surroundings of snow capped mountains, rapid rivers, deep humid jungle and a lot of stairs...! Machu Picchu was a once in a life time experience, something I know I will remember forever.

2 Amazing Weeks In Huancayo

 Saturday 29th June - Friday 12th July

Leaving Lima turned into an exciting event with Kathleen falling over and deeply cutting her knee. And of course this happen only minutes after leaving the house. She then had to spend a 7 hour bus ride with her jeans covered in blood and many weird stares.
We arrived in Huancayo and were immediately greeted by the cold. The change in altitude meant we were all very tired, so spent  large amount of the day sleeping. In the afternoon we went to the local market and then to the zoo. As seems to be the custom when I go to the zoo, I had a baby shoved into my hands and many photos taken of the weird white girl and a peruvian baby.

On Monday we started our volunteering at a kinder garden. It's interesting that in a developing country things I would consider appropriate sometimes don't apply. When one child decides they need to go to the bathroom, they all need to go to the bathroom. And of course one adult can't help every child. I awkwardly walked in on one of the 3 year olds to see if she needed help and instead discovered her pooping on the floor...! The things children think are ok can be completely hysterical.Don´t worry there was no chance I was cleaning that up!
After the orphanage we went to the school where our host father, Javier, works. It was interesting since not many of the teachers spoke much english. I think at one stage the principal was talking about economics, but I can´t be sure either due to my lack of interest in the subject of economics or because of my spanish.. On Tuesday at the kinder garden we discussed with the teachers what kind of mural they would like us to paint. The kinder garden, in a somewhat poor area of Huancayo, did not look to be a place of fun and learning for the children, so it was decided that we would paint the front of the kinder garden. This posed us with some problems since none of us deemed ourselves any good at drawing or painting. For once the perfectionist inside me was an advantage. I surprised myself that evening when we were lesson planning, by actually being half decent at drawing. It was a very exciting discovery. The plan was to touch up one side which had previously been painted with some disney characters and to add more. The other side of the wall was to be a jungle scene, using everyone´s special cartoon characters. I decided I would draw and paint Princess Tiana from The Princess and the Frog. The rest of the week saw us working on the Mural after taking classes. On Friday we planned to have a day of painting, as the children didn't have classes but instead were celebrating teachers day. While painting, I would occasionally stick my head in to see all the children dancing. My favourite definitely had to be their attempt at Gangnam style. 
On Friday night Javier took us to Parque del Identidad. It was beautiful. It looked like an enchanted garden. We had a wonderful time strolling around looking at the different gardens, with wooden log bridges. Charlotte also discovered that it was not tall people friendly.

On Saturday Javier arranged for us to do a tour of some of the towns surrounding Huancayo. We were all expecting some kind of public tour, but when we talked out the front a private van was waiting to take us on a tour. We started in Cochas, going to a local artisan and listening to him tell the story that he had carved into a large wooden nut. The precision with which is drew, cut and then painted was amazing, especially for a man who looked to be going into his 80´s, if not older. After we went to a park in Cochas. It was somewhat disappointing after the previous night´s adventure in El Parque De Identidad. The most amusing part was when we were walking through the park to the exit, a newly wed couple having their wedding photo´s taken asked us to have a photo with them. Yep! I made it into a peruvian wedding album!

After Cochas we drove to another town (not going to lie, I don´t actually remember the names of the other towns) where we stopped to look at another artisan shop. After that we went to a town known for the silver jewelry it produces. It was so pretty.
Possibly the most exciting part of the trip was the trout farm we visited next. I have now decided that fish are kind of freaky. Not to mention that when you really have to use the bathroom, a trout farm is not the best place to be.
Our final stop was a church. It was exciting to see some monks, and attempting to take a sneaky photo of him. The monk did eventually come up to us and said "Hello, my name is Jesus". Who ever said monks did´t have a sense of humor.
Sunday was to be our day of rest, but turned into quite the adventure. We had a late morning shop at the local market, where we met a few other volunteers from other organisations. After lunch, two of the teachers from the school where we had been working picked us up and drove us to a small rural town (about 1.5 hours from the center of Huancayo). It was a beautiful town, and lovely for us to sit, rest, think and stroll around. Following Charlotte's leadership, we decided to cross the river by jumping stones. This didn't turn out to well for Ellyn who fell into the river, although made a lot of amusement for myself and Charlotte. 


We continued painting on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, knowing that we didn't have much time to complete everything. Wednesday was our last day helping Miss Victoria with the English Exhibition. After school we went with her and a couple other teachers for a coffee. It was nice to chat with them, practicing my spanish and their english. 

Thursday was the party at the kinder garden and also the day we completed the mural. All the teachers were so kind and gave us presents. We also gave them some stuff for the children. They also made us lunch (a massive plate of pasta and potatoes). We all left feeling emotional and incredibly full!

On Friday we went to the Central Jungle, which meant waking up at 5:30am. We drove for 2-3 hours along a windy mountainous road, which my motion sickness did not agree with. When we arrived it was humid and sunny. We walked for about 40 minutes to a stunning waterfall, lead by our trusty guide, a dog that was following us.

After we had lunch and then headed to the Papa Michi Tribe. They danced for us, dressed us up in their traditional dress and painted our faces.

After visiting the Tribe, we made our way to the butterfly museum. It was very pretty and I was able to take lots of photos.

After a long day, we returned home and then packed our things to begin our journey to Cusco. It was an amazing two weeks, in a beautiful town filled with beautiful people. I am so grateful to have had such a wonderful experience and I know I will cherish the memories that I made there.

Being a translator & happy endings

Wednesday 26th June

Today at the baby orphanage it was assumed that I spoke fluent spanish. This meant that I would be able to translate for some visitors to the orphanage. I surprised myself and was somewhat able to translate (what I wasn't I just guessed and made up). Rarely do I see visitors to the orphanage and so was interested in the older white couple and the two South American young people. I found out that the young girl was adopted by a Norwegian couple from the orphanage, and the boy was also adopted from an orphanage in Ecuador. Her adoptive parents and adoptive brother were touring the orphanage where she spent the first few years of her life. It was so amazing to see such a happy family. As a volunteer, I have welcomed new children and said goodbye to some, but we never know about what happens before or what happens after. All we can do is try and make the children feel loved and be happy. I felt so honoured to be able to meet this family and learn about their story. It takes some truly amazing people to welcome children into their family and treat them as their own, with little to no knowledge of their past. I wish that everyone could see the beauty of these children. It saddens me that already in their short lives, these children have dealt for more than many ever will in their lives. During my time volunteering in Peru I have fallen in love with my babies at the orphanage. I wish that every one of them could have a life full of opportunities, happiness and love.

Paloma And My Babies

Friday 21st June

The day started off completely normally, taking a short 30 minute bus ride to the hospital where the orphanage is. I went to my room and said hello to all 6 of my darling babies, who are 1-2 years old. I give them kisses and hugs and share as much love with them as I can. In 6 short weeks these angels have found a strong place in my heart. But today was different. Today I had to say goodbye to one of my babies from the orphanage. Paloma was lucky enough to be adopted into a wonderful new family. As the mama bathed her, dresses her in her nicest clothes and brushed her small amount of fine hair, I reflected on how much she has grown over the 6 weeks that I have known her. Paloma was moved into my room in the first week I was here. In that time she has learnt to walk, can almost jump and loves to dance. She is such a happy child, rarely crying and always having the biggest smile on her face. I hope that this beautiful child has the opportunity to become an amazing person, full of love, kindness and a sense of belonging. As much as I will miss her beautiful happy face I know that she now has the opportunity to have a better life. Although she does not know it, she and all my other babies have had a massive affect on my life, giving me so much love. They are special children who will bless any family willing to have them.


Tuesday 18th May

What others may consider a dangerous part of life, us foreigners think is fantastic. My first Peruvian earthquake was more of an excitement than anything else. I was a bit taken back by the children running out of my english class as I didn't think my lesson was that boring! It was interesting that many of the other volunteers didn't even feel the quake. 

Although it was exciting for me, I did notice some of the children were very shaken up. It made me realise that although that one was a small tremor, bigger ones do occur here and have potentially devastating affects. I guess that growing up in Australia, where close to no earth quakes occur, I can't fully understand what the affects that a big earth quake can have. Australian's grow up learning about bushfires and more recently floods, but rarely does a earth quake have any affect on us. Part of living in another country and continent is learning the different ways of life, and that includes the different types of natural disasters. I guess the best attitude to have to the prospect of a disaster is to be prepared, aware and stay calm.