Written by student travelers Chiara and Franco
After traveling 2,000 meters upwards, we arrived at our host community of Qenqo, our home for the next week. Here we’ll be participating in a variety of service projects that will benefit this remote mountain town.
A welcoming party of community members greeted us in spectacular fashion with flowers and music. Together, we walked down to the town’s soccer field, where the locals taught us traditional dances and put on a performance. It was here that we began to get to know each other and immediately became immersed in the town’s way of life.
We launched right into our project—building a community center so that the locals have a central meeting place—which was kicked off with an opening ceremony. The leaders of the community and our trip leaders, Junior and Rebecca, spoke a few meaningful words about the importance of our project. We were lucky to be included in the first placing of the rocks, a cultural tradition often practiced to mark the beginning of a construction project.
A community member named Aurelio took our group on a hike through the mountains surrounding the village. He taught us about the purpose of each crop and how the crops are affected by the cold throughout all seasons. Specifically, Aurelio discussed the versatile uses of different plants, such as Eucalyptus trees, whose leaves are used for tea and trunks are used for building. We enjoyed a wonderful view from the peak, and we even spotted the ancient ruins of Pisaq, which is a 40 minute drive away.
We finished off the day with a soccer match against community members. Although the altitude proved to be a tough obstacle, our team managed to win with goals from Franco and Bradley.
Qenqo; muy bella