Working Together to Give Thanks: Reflections from Peru

“If you have come here to help me, please go home; but if you have come because your liberation is somehow bound to mine, then we may work together.” –Indigenous woman.

By: Ms.  Elena Aniel

Machu Picchu

It’s 6:40 am and we are riding a rocky train to Machu Picchu. Yesterday was our last day in Piscacucho. A farewell “Pachamanca” was cooked for all of us, and the students had the opportunity to give a thank you speech to the community before saying goodbye. Listening to them expressing themselves in Spanish in such a sincere way was one of the highlights of the trip for me.

But highlights… I would definitely choose the people. Abel who turned a rafting adventure into a history class, Adolfo, who showed us the use of all the plants during our hike around the sacred valley, the host moms who know how to prepare 500 dishes with the same 3 ingredients and Savannah our World Leadership School instructor who has made us work, think, reflect, and above all have a great time in Peru.

And the GFA students? I have truly enjoyed getting to know these three individuals. Watching Luiz, our “Chasqui” (quechuan runner) taking every single opportunity to talk to his family, the teachers at school and putting himself out there. He is always ready for a challenge, it doesn’t matter if it is weaving a basket, playing soccer with the locals or playing cards with his host siblings.  He always has a smile on his face and a question on his mind. 


Jazmin has let her creativity flow in our mural designing, basket weaving and pottery making. Even though she doesn’t often share her personality through words she has made an impact through her art. It was an honor to listen to Radhika’s reflections every time we did curriculum activities during the trip. Her laugh brightened up many long journeys and potato based dinners.  Radhika devised a very interesting strategy to expand the trip into an indefinite partnership involving the whole GFA community that I hope to launch this coming school year.

I’m looking forward to these last days in Peru. Thank you all for the comments they cheer all of us up!

Working Together to Give Thanks: Reflections from Peru

5 thoughts on “Working Together to Give Thanks: Reflections from Peru

  1. David Perez says:

    great views! wow, this is all you talked about Jazmin and now this experience is going to be in your heart forever. i hope you’re having a great time, soak it all in for these last few days and enjoy yourself. i miss you and i’ll see you when you come back.

  2. Julia says:

    I miss you so much and wish you would come back soon. My whole family misses you!
    I hope you learned some new words at Machu Pichu. Are there volcanos there?

    Julia (your little sister)

  3. says:

    Hey guys! It was great to see all the shine faces. We know you guys had the best time ever just by looking at your faces. I was pray for all of you have the best time ever. Luiz we miss you we can not wait to see you on Wednesday. Love, your family.:)

  4. Luz Sanchez says:

    Wow! What great pictures and how nice to see you all! We can’t wait until Wednesday to hug you Jazmin, we missed you so much… We can’t wait to hear your stories and see more pictures. Thank you Elena and Savannah for taking care of our children! *Mami

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