To be honest, I don’t think any of us knew what to expect when we stepped off the plane in Lima on day 1 of our adventure, not even the returning students. No two trips are ever alike, and the Duke of Ed Gold Trip to Peru was probably the most eye opening experience any of us ever had.
What started off as a 4-day community service project in the shantytown of Las Palmas, ended up being the most fulfilling and selfless event any of us ever did. From making cement from scratch to adding it to the first floor of a roof on a small building and everything in between, the 30 hours of service we did created lasting memories and unimaginable experiences.
From there we traveled to the city of Cuzco, the ancient capital of the Incan empire. Guided by Trans Andes co-workers—Alex, Olivier and Greco—our 4 day, 3 night hike proved to be a lot more then just 30 hours of walking over 75 km. The surreal scenery in the midst of a magical mountain range known as the Andes tired us all out, but made real trekkers out of us.
Needless to say only three people didn’t get sick at least once throughout the entire trip, the problem was never missing a bed to get better in, but rather always missing the day’s activities.
If there’s one thing I learned from this trip, poverty does indeed exist and is very real. But even in the saddest of conditions, Peruvians find a way to always smile and work from dawn to dusk to make their lives more accommodating to their community and to ours.
Nighttime was never without lack of activity. From long walks in the cool air through Lima, to dancing Salsa and swimming at Markham College, to playing soccer with locals before bed in a small village during our trek, the diesiocho LCC students and four teachers on this trip were really shown the true bright colours that Peru has to offer.
Folkloric dancing, insane water parks, high altitudes and positive attitudes kept us busy for 14 days, but what kept us going was the encouragement and willingness to aid others. This trip will no doubt stay in the minds of everyone on that trip forever, the only question remains, when will we be back? — Jacob-Ray Falutz ’12