The first few days that I was in Peru, I was freezing and I thought there was no way I would survive a month here. However, I have since acclimated to the cold and am loving it here. My host family is very nice and there is always someone around to talk to and practice my Spanish with.
Our first full day in Cusco was spent visiting Sacsaywaman, which is a religious Incan temple. It is a beautiful place and I really enjoyed seeing and learning about the location. The only problem is that this location is at an even higher altitude than Cusco, and I thought I would for sure have altitude sickness. However, I have not had any problems with altitude while being here except for an occasional headache that I cannot necessarily say is due to the altitude.
The first week of classes and service projects was good. My morning class is definitely harder than the afternoon and is not as interesting, but still not terrible. The afternoon class is simply a conversation class where all the students talk about different topics and I feel as if I will get more out of it than listening to my teacher lecture in the morning. I love the service projects, but service has always been a passion of mine. In the first community we helped build mud ovens that are cleaner and safer to use than the ones the government had built. In the second community we went to, we helped build a portion of a wall that would add a cafeteria/kitchen to the local school.
This past weekend we all traveled to Machu Picchu to see the lost city of the Incans! This is probably one of the best days in my short life so far. The city was incredible and I barely have words to describe the experience. To begin, we arrived very early so as to see the sun rise above the city, which was gorgeous. We had a tour for about two and a half hours and then had the rest of the morning to explore the ruins. I enjoyed the free time because I was able to slow down and take in everything around me. At one point, some other students and I simply sat down and looked at the mountains around us. We could not believe that a human population had built such a place by hand.
I will post a picture journal/timeline to go along with this post when I have better Internet access — it is hard to find here!