This summer I traveled to Peru for two weeks to do service with a group called GLA. Our groups mission was to make Qui (guinea pig) houses for four different families living on the outskirts of a city called Cusco. These houses are very important to have because people without the resources to make them keep the guinea pig in their homes. This is very unsanitary and dangerous because it spreads disease. We would wake up at 6:30 every morning and drive into the small town of Chocco where the families lived. We would walk to the four different work sites with a group of about eight and start. These houses are made of adobe bricks and mud. We would carry all the bricks, around 300 of them at each site, over to where we were building and start assembling them with mud. We pick axes the dirt, sifted it and then added water to make the mud. This project took two weeks and it was a large structure with two stories. In our breaks between work period we would visit the local school and play soccer and volleyball with the kids. We built strong relationships with them even though not all of us spoke Spanish. It was amazing how we could get along and learn about each other without even knowing how to talk to one another. We would sing songs like, Hips don’t lie or sorry by Justin Bieber. Each kid was so kind and welcoming to our whole group. Aside from the Qui houses we also would travel around Peru to do different adventure aspects and one of the days we visited an orphanage. This was a very enlightening experience because we got to meet some older girls. One of the girls was sixteen and talked to us about her school work and how she was planning on getting a job. To see her so determined about her life even though she grew up without her family was so amazing and she was such a mentor to the younger kids. The whole experience was so incredible and I took home new knowledge about privilege and the fact that although some of the people we worked with didn’t have very much they were happy and loved each and were proud of the work that they did and of their families. I can’t wait to return to Peru one day and I hope that my experience on this trip will carry over to my service work at school and in New York.
— By Bianca Howell