PLAY it Forward’s largest group just returned from Peru on an amazing 10-day adventure. This was our first trip to the Sacred Valley region of Peru and it couldn’t have gone better! We started off in the village of Taray to work at an elementary school. Taray had been badly hit by the mudslides in January. Many people lost their homes and had to relocate to tents in the neighboring town of Pisaq. Our wonderful group of sixteen sojourners worked hard to build school furniture for the children and clear brush to plant new trees for a fresh beginning. We played harder though, swinging kids around, getting chased, and shared laughs even though we didn’t share a language.
Saying goodbye was hard to do, but after many thanks and hugs of gratitude we parted from our new friends and headed to the town of Lares to continue our adventure. We spent three days and two nights trekking in the Andes Mountains. Though we were exhausted and sore, everyone made it to the top at 15,000 feet! Huffing and puffing seemed to immediately cease as you took your first glance at the other side; looking down on a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains made the struggle all worthwhile. Nothing makes a group bond faster than sharing this major accomplishment together, and not to mention the enjoyable nights huddled together in the dining tent.
Our adventure did not end there! We all checked off our bucket lists as we spent the final day together at Machu Picchu. This world wonder left us all in awe as we stood on the grounds of a hidden Incan community surrounded by lush jungles and vast mountain ranges on all sides. We explored the mysterious complex and a few of us even ventured to the top of Machu Picchu Mountain to overlook the grandeur from almost 2,000 feet higher than the Incan city.
A very spiritual place, it was a great ending to an extremely meaningful and all-encompassing trip. Despite the size of our group, we all came together as strangers and made 15 new friends who shared a unique experience together. The group is already in the stages of planning a reunion.
Thanks everyone for an amazing trip!