In all honesty, out of all the places and countries in the world, Peru wasn’t really on the top of my list.
I never really learned much about it and it still remains a sort of mystery in my mind. However, last semester I took a class at the University of Central Florida called “Geography of Latin America” and I learned a few things. The class was online but one of the funnest classes I’ve taken so far, and I’m in my senior year.
I had just come back from backpacking Spain where I had to plan, make itineraries, research places and prices, bus schedules and buy plane tickets and the big project for this class, which was worth most of our grade, was to plan every aspect of a trip that would include four countries: two in South America, one in Central America and one in the Caribbean. I chose Peru, Brazil, Panama and Cuba. I’m still not really sure why I chose Peru, but I did and I learned about important places and popular cities. I learned about traditional dancing and typical foods. Machu Picchu seemed so beautiful in pictures and the indigenous population as well as the Quechua language intrigued me.
I’ve been meaning to go volunteer abroad for a while now, but it never was the right time. It was either lack of time, or money or whatever other unexpected event. I started saving up and paying little by little and even though for most of the time I thought I was going to South Africa, I randomly decided to go to Peru.
I think this class really made an impact. I’m so curious about indigenous populations in Latin America and especially intrigued by their languages, that this seemed like the perfect program. I’m going to Peru this summer with Reach Out Volunteers. I bought my plane ticket, I made the final payment, I have a backpack and I’m waiting for the semester to end so I can start getting ready for the trip.
The volunteers will be teaching and working to build green houses in an indigenous community in Urubamba. We’re going to learn some Quechua. We’ll visit indigenous families and learn about Inca textiles. We have the opportunity to stay with one of the families for a night, and we’re even going to have a cooking class.
The second week “is going to be full of adventure as you take on zip lining and mountain biking through the Sacred Valley! You will also have the opportunity to visit one of the most famous destinations in the world: Machu Picchu, the mysterious Lost City of the Incas, now a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. On the first visit to Machu Picchu, you will be able to hike up to Intipunku (Sun Gate) to observe the panoramic view over Machu Picchu at sunset. After observing this breath taking view you will begin a hike back down to the main city of Machu Picchu Inca City, before continuing down the hill to Machu Picchu town” (ROV Peru Program Book).
This is what the adventure is going to look like: