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South America » Peru » Cusco » La Convención » Quillabamba
April 5th 2014
Published: April 5th 2014
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We are 7 volunteers and 5 staff here. Two volunteers are from Britain, two from the US, one from Germany and one from Denmark and then me. We are a company of interesting differences, and conversation is good. Everyone speaks English so my Spanish will not improve quickly. The meals are very good, this first morning we had salty cheese fried in batter with the freshest of tomatoes and flat breads. We started the day with sorting pottery shards according to fineness of clay, and colour. I found it fascinating to the point of obsessive to sort the pieces into piles that I was sure went together. The afternoon was much more active. They are broadening the channel of a water way connecting onto the land. We slung buckets of clay out of the channel as the water got higher around us. I was glad to have my rubber boots. We ended up soaking each other with buckets of water, having lots of fun. There is a fair bit of laughter with this group, lots of hard work and the release of fun afterwards. We are surrounded by cloud forest here at the end of rainy season, so the world is an intense green. The range of flowers, trees, plants and fruit is incredible. We've been eating the fruit right off the trees in the yard. My favourite is unpronounceable and everyone only knows what it is called in Quetcal not Spanish. It's a sweet and spicy green fruit that is quite large with a soft white inside. It's so rich, it's more than a dessert. With the staff at the table there are 12 of us around the table for meals, which makes it feel much like a large family.

Our job the second day was to clear part of a nearby Inca trail. Before we were driven in the bus to the site, we learned how to sharpen our machetes. Inca trails are roads built by the Incas connecting major ancient cities. Where we were working, the road was about 6 foot across, the walls on both sides are about 3 foot high and the walls are also about 3 foot thick. These were massive engineering feats. This world grows so quickly that there is a major need is to clear the roads of growth as often as possible, hence the machetes. I learned to let the weight of the blade swing through the trees and plants. We even took out fairly large trees to keep them from uprooting the wall. Our lunch was well deserved. Walking the trail, you come by incredible views of the mountains that we are nestled between, then you are engulfed in green, groves of bamboo 5-6 meters high, flowering trees, banana and coffee plants, all growing so fast you can see it.

The afternoon was spent learning about the Moche people from our resident archeologist. The Moche people are not from this region. They are from the north coast, but this is a civilization that John has studied and has great slides and info to share. Cusco was the centre of the Incan empire and future lessons will be about this area. The Moche people have some of the best ceramics and ideography of the world. Their environment was dry and so their pottery is well preserved and tells so many stories in the pictures on their sides.

The variety of our jobs makes sure that we never get bored and mixes the mental with the physical extremely well. I am loving it here, every moment.

Good Night and Sweet Dreams

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6th April 2014

I love reading your blog.
And I'm so impressed with what you're doing this year. Good for you!
8th April 2014

The work begins
Hi my dear, Your pictures show the surrounding land as stunningly beautiful and lush. Wow talk about a cultural immersion for you. Glad the people you are with are interesting--that always makes a difference. The work too sounds interesting especially since it is to be varied. Keep enjoying every moment. Looking forward to your next installment...what a trip!!! all my love J xoxoxo

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