Day 17 – One last fling in Peru

September 1, 2013

We woke up, had breakfast and packed our bags then hopped on the bus to the airport. The flight to Lima was an hour long. When we arrived in Lima we took a short bus ride to our hotel. We are staying in the “Hotel Dazzler”, which opened on August 12th, so it is brand new and looks really expensive. All the girls were jumping around excited to have mirrors, hot showers,  and hard wood floors.  We heard that Lorraine, Denise and Tamara were jumping for joy at the site of their room.  After we arrived we walked a couple of blocks to the supermarket to buy lunch and snacks. After that we spent the rest of the afternoon hanging around the hotel in our rooms or at the sauna until we went for dinner. On our way to dinner we enjoyed a nice leisurely walk along the ocean walkway, everyone was so excited to see the ocean, and we were all impressed with how beautiful Lima is-  we had been told that  Lima  was not as safe as Bolivia and could be quite dangerous. However, after about 20 minutes, we soon realized what a beautiful city Lima  is as we walked along the walkway with a superb view of the ocean.  We arrived at a mall and after a couple minutes of deciding and debating, we decided we would eat at TGI Friday’s.  We all enjoyed a nice, quick American style meal. We all packed up the leftovers of our huge portions and headed back to the hotel.   On our way home we took a slightly wrong turn and spent an extra fifty  minutes walking around the neighborhood, which was actually really nice because we got to see more of the city. We saw statues, parks, people playing guitar on the sidewalk and an  outdoor painting display at one of the squares.  Eventually we returned to the hotel, excited but sad to spend our last night in South America before we begin our journey home.

Andrew 

Hanging out  in the hotel

Hanging out in the hotel

 

View from the Mira Flores walkway

View from the Mira Flores walkway

 

View from the Mira Flores walkway

View from the Mira Flores walkway

 

View from our hotel room

View from our hotel room

 

View from our hotel room

View from our hotel room

 

Time for a small group photo before heading down to explore the ocean waterfront

Time for a small group photo before heading down to explore the ocean waterfront

 

Cole having some fun in the brisk water

Cole having some fun in the brisk water

 

A great trio

A great trio

 

Day 15 – Cochabamba to Cusco

August 30, 2013

Today we had a lot of traveling to do. We woke up at six and took a bus to the airport. On the way, a car tried to squeeze between our bus and another bus. After risking getting his car squished he stopped trying to pass us. We arrived at the airport and said our last good byes to Juan Carlos.  

We flew from Cochabamba to La Paz.  From above, La Paz looked like a city of Lego covered in snow. We got off our plane and saw a snowman built just outside the building. After going through security to leave the country we headed outside and got onto the exact same plane we had just arrived in. We then flew from La Paz to Cuzco and on the way we flew over Lake Titicaca, which is huge. We landed in Cusco and took a bus to our hotel.

After settling in, we were all starving so we walked to a pizza place for lunch.  The pizza was delicious! Some of the Interactors tried a pizza with alpaca meat. Afterwards, we had five hours of free time to explore the area around our hotel and go into shops. Many students found lots of stuff in the side markets off the street.  A group of girls had a day at the spa and manicures whereas another group got offered to have their hair dreadlocked. For dinner we bought out all the empanadas in a bakery. The students returned and had hot showers. Actually, so many people were showering at the same time that some of us had cold showers! We knew we would be getting up at 3:30 a.m. so we were all in bed early.

Cathedral in Cusco

Cathedral in Cusco


Snow on the top of an airport vehicle in La Pa

Snow on the top of an airport vehicle in La Pa


Alley way on the way to lunch in Cusco

Alley way on the way to lunch in Cusco


Typical street in Cusco

Typical street in Cusco


Houses on the hillside in Cusco

Houses on the hillside in Cusco


View of La Paz from the plane

View of La Paz from the plane


Cusco here we come

Cusco here we come


Temple of the Sun about 3 blocks from our hotel

Temple of the Sun about 3 blocks from our hotel


Franciscan Monastery

Franciscan Monastery

 

 

Day 14 – A final celebration

August 29, 2013

Today we got to sleep in, but our whole room was strangely up before we were supposed to be.  As usual, we had our breakfast and then headed to Cereco to work for the last time. There wasn’t much work to be done today besides the finishing touches. A few students helped with wheeling loads of concrete while the rest cleaned up around the site. After a couple of hours the monument was completed and everyone gathered excitedly to place their handprints in the cement. The project was officially finished and ready to be revealed to the Cochabamba Rotary Club. We rushed back to the scout hall to wolf down a quick lunch before hurrying back to the worksite. The Rotarians joined us shortly after we returned to take pictures and thank us. They all seemed quite impressed and presented us with a plaque to add to our monument that explained the project and who we are.

This afternoon we had our final cold showers and quiet time for two hours. Everyone got a chance to relax and hang out at the Scout Hall for the last time. We had four hours to kill before our events started for the night. Most of us spent this time organizing our things, packing our suitcases, playing soccer with the kids, and getting ready to go. We then walked over to Cereco for our Canada-Bolivia celebration. We watched five cultural dances from the different areas of Bolivia performed by the students, staff and parents of Cereco. Sergio is one of the individuals helped by Cereco.  He specializes as a clown .  During his performance he sat Sophie in a chair and danced around her. Her embarrassed face was hilarious. We were then fed fried dough and a strange drink made of corn and chocolate. We tried to be polite but for most of us it was hard to get down. We then hopped on a bus and were driven to the Rotary Tunari Hall. We had a Rotary meeting that consisted entirely of thank-yous and presents. We received Rotary Tunari pins and Bolivian passport/money holders. We had dinner and then said goodbye to our new friends from the Interact and Rotaractor clubs. Some people were sad but we knew we would be seeing each other in the coming months. We took the bus back home and tiredly cuddled up into our uncomfortable beds for our last night at the Scout Hall.

Lots of love,

Raissa Chernoff and Jessica Trickey

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Day 9 – A Visit to the Market

August 23, 2013

When we got up we were served a selection of Fruit Loops, Cocoa Puffs and Frosted Flakes. As well as bread with either jam or caramel spread. Of course we had coca tea or coffee or hot chocolate to drink. After we finished we did our chores and got ready for the day.

Once everyone was ready we walked to the project.  It had rained over night so everything was wet and cold. When we arrived everyone split into their groups and started working. The jobs being done were; making a cobblestone path for the drain, breaking concrete to remove the flag pole from the soon to be basketball court and shoveling and leveling dirt on the playground. After a few hours some of the Bolivian Interactors came and planted some trees and bushes in front of Cereco Center. It was slightly depressing to do all the work in the rain so we stopped for lunch half an hour early.

For lunch we had potatoes with a yellow peanut sauce, fried balls of vegetables, lettuce, tomatoes and hard boiled eggs. For dessert we were served a pineapple fruit cup flavored with cinnamon. After lunch we had quiet time, it was a nice break.

When quiet time was over we walked down to the market.  What was supposed to be a 20 minute walk turned out to be over one hour, before we found the right market. We saw all sorts of interesting things. including a full butchered horse head with the nose and whiskers still intact, puppies, kitties, bunnies and tons of Bolivian souvenirs and trinkets. Everyone was incredibly happy with their purchases. The market was a very interesting cultural experience. It is a huge market.  It is four blocks long and two full block wide. Everything in it is very tightly packed and all of the booths are super full of merchandise. It was also interesting to see how they sell their fresh produce. Every vendor has a few items that they grow and they sell only those items in heaping piles on the ground. How they sell the meat is also quite different than in Canada. There are loads of little butcher shops and they have all their cuts of meat on a counter in front of them. After everyone was finished shopping we walked back to the hall in a rush because we were running late for dinner with the Interactors and Roteractors of Cochabamba.

On the way to dinner our taxi had to pull over and ask someone who was walking along the road for directions to our restaurant. When we finally arrived at “Restaurant Canata” we went in and sat with other Interactors and Roteractors to encourage conversation. We listened to their meeting where they discussed upcoming fundraisers and events.   Israel made a small speech and announced that we will be donating five hundred dollars to their fundraiser where they build houses for families in need.  At the end of the meeting and speech we made the friendship of our two interact clubs official by both Presidents signing an agreement to continue our partnership. Everyone was happy  because they hope to visit us in Castlegar next summer. Soon after the meeting finished we were served our meal of fried plantain, mashed potatoes, broccoli, carrots, corn and a piece of meat topped with gravy, red peppers and mushrooms. Everything was very delicious and we all enjoyed our conversations.

After dinner we took some group pictures and started dancing! We danced to all sorts of music . From what we are used to dancing to like Electronic music, Taylor Swift, Justin Beiber and lots of other artists to lots of genres, artists and songs from Bolivia that most of us had never heard. It was very fun, and a really great team building event.

Everyone was very impressed with how well they could dance, especially the Bolivian girls with really high heels.   After quite a while we all headed back to the hall, in taxis or in the back of the Interactors parent’s cars. It was past our bed time so we all went to bed fairly quickly.

It was a very fun, long and interesting day. The people I talked to were all very happy because not only did we get lots of cool Bolivian stuff and snacks, but we got to see more of Cochabamba and experience more of the Bolivian culture.

-Wren

 

Victor our cement worker enjoying the new rain jacket we gave him

Victor our cement worker enjoying the new rain jacket we gave him


Flag pole removal

Flag pole removal


Do you know what this is?

Do you know what this is?


Market

Market


Israel signing Friendship document with Cochabamba Interact President`

Israel signing Friendship document with Cochabamba Interact President

 

Day 4 – Traveling by bus

August 19, 2013 

Today was Cole Chernoff’s 15th birthday. We woke up bright and early, loaded all our suitcases back onto the bus, and then went for breakfast. During breakfast we sang Cole Happy Birthday and gave him the card that all the Interactors and leaders signed as well as a beautifully decorated cake.

After breakfast we all rushed out to the buses and began our journey to Cochabamba. After about 20 minutes of driving, we stopped to switch onto our new bus. We took all of our stuff off the old bus and loaded it onto our new double decker bus. We then started our 10 hour bus ride. After driving for about 2 and half hours we stopped to eat lunch at Yapacana. For lunch we were served three courses, a peanut or noodle soup, chicken, rice and yucca, and a Bolivian desert. After lunch we continued our drive, and the scenes that we saw while driving were quite beautiful. We drove through country side that looked very tropical and saw many small towns.

While in one of the small towns most of the Interactors went and bought themselves some big bags of Coca leaves to help them with the change in altitude. We were all surprised at the amount of stray dogs there were along the road, either sleeping or wandering around. The most famous pass time for us on the bus was definitely playing cards and having random outbreaks of singing. Everywhere you looked on the bus there were groups playing games of Egyptian War, Crazy 8’s, speed, and many, many more. Some of us sat as a group at the top front of the bus and watched the road and the scenery. We came to the conclusion that driving in Bolivia is basically like a huge game of chicken as we almost hit multiple vehicles, a chicken, and a pig. For fear of getting altitude sickness Wren drank more than 6 big bottles of Coca Tea and water so she was probably in the bathroom more than 12 times and ate many coca leaves. When we finally saw Cochabamba in the distance, excitement came upon all of us…we had finally arrived.

Once we made it to the scout hall where we would be staying for the duration of the project, we had to get the luggage off the bus and drag them all up 3 flights of stairs. By this time everyone was beyond starving. After getting ourselves settled and our room assignments, we ate some chicken, rice, noodles and sandwiches. We then sang Cole Happy Birthday again, and ate the cake we had gotten for him. Joining us at dinner were various representatives from the Rotary clubs that included the Presidents of the Interact and Rotaract clubs from Cochabamba. We all helped with the cleanup and then went and cleaned ourselves up before going to bed. What we all had expected to be a long boring bus ride actually turned out to be a very eventful and fun day. Everyone is now VERY excited to begin working on our project tomorrow morning.

– Ashlee and Anna

Coca leaves

Buying coca leaves from a street vendor for 50 cents a bag

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Day 2 – Traveling by plane round 2

August 17, 2013

We arrived bright and early in Miami after our red-eye flight from Seattle. We had 8 hours to kill in Miami airport before our next flight later that day. It seemed as though everyone dispersed very quickly to find some breakfast! After people had filled up we all chose different activities to help the layover pass more quickly. Some people decided to go do a little bit of shopping while others just wanted to explore the airport and be able to move around. However a large group of us decided that sleep would be the best thing for us, so we set up camp on the airport floor, literally. Derek used quilts, blankets and suitcases to build a little tent! But it was short lived as people needed to get into their suitcases. The layover passed relatively quickly between sleeping, exploring and trying to complete Geoff’s Scavenger Hunt through the Miami airport. The Scavenger Hunt included a list of several random things that we had to find and take pictures of. Each group did a great job and enjoyed the prize at the end…Chocolate for everyone!

We finally departed from Miami at about 2:30pm on our last flight for the day. We flew from Miami to La Paz, Bolivia where we stopped for about an hour to let passengers off, let others on, and refuel the plane. After our short pit-stop we flew to Santa Cruz.
Then came the difficult part, getting 46 suitcases, 23 carry-on’s, 23 quilts, and 23 very tired people through customs and loaded onto two tiny buses. But with some cooperation we successfully made it to our hotel by 1:30am.

– Israel Millar

(No photos from today! I guess they were too busy travelling)

Day 1 – Travelling by plane

August 16, 2013

It was bittersweet leaving home today. There was excitement for Bolivia but we didn’t want to say goodbye to our beds, houses, showers, fridges, pets, friends and family. We arrived at the Spokane airport with our quilts, two suitcases filled with donated clothing (thank-you to all those that donated) for the people of Bolivia.  We also had our carry-on luggage which was packed so full we had to get our siblings to sit on them so that they would close. We got our tickets, took a group picture with all forty-something suitcases and said our last goodbye to our loved ones. There were some tears but we all knew that we would have no time to miss them with all the fun we would be having. We breezed through security and started our adventure of a lifetime.

The plane ride to Seattle was short and sweet. We mostly chatted and played cards for the hour that we were on the flight. Before we knew it we were in Seattle! We had a two hour layover which gave us time to eat and make sure we were prepared for the next six hour flight to Miami. Unfortunately it was already dark, but looking out across the changing landscape of America was still cool. You could see little glowing patches across the horizon, and you would wonder which city it was below and who was living in it. Some of us succeeded in sleeping but most people were awake the majority of the flight. Excitement built when we peeked out the window and saw on one side of the plane, the rising sunset, and on the other, the lights of Miami. It was finally hitting us that we weren’t in Canada anymore. Our blue t-shirt prompted lots of questions from travelers and we were happy to share information about our project. All in all it has been a wonderful start to the trip and we are very excited to start our project and begin helping people in need!

Lots of love, 

Raissa Chernoff and Jessica Trickey

Day 1 - Traveling by plane

Day 1 – Traveling by plane

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