South American Adventure
Two groups consisting of 22 students and three teachers set out to expand their horizons, give back to local communities and explore the sites of Peru
Two groups consisting of 22 students and three teachers set out to expand their horizons, give back to local communities and explore the sites of Peru.
Here are two students’ reviews of the trip.
Our excitement brewed as we made our way to the airport, ready to tackle the challenges ahead. The ethos of a World Challenge trip is that, we the participants, take control of our itinerary, and take responsibility for the decisions we make along the way. In saying this, we were booking our accommodation and transport, as well as researching landmarks and restaurants to visit. We had a budget sheet in which we used to guide the Sols we were spending. We were rather satisfied with how quickly we mastered the multiple challenges of planning a budget, organising meals and navigating the different challenges of the Peruvian transport network. All achieved with the customary St Catherine’s upbeat cheer and team work mentality.
Upon arrival in Lima we were excited to test out our navigation skills and, of course, the local cuisine. We did not venture to try the local delicacy of guinea pig the first night, although it did make an appearance on our plates later in the trip. After what seemed a rather short sleep, given our jet lag, we made off to Cusco almost immediately. Arriving in Cusco was a real highlight. While Lima seemed like any other worldcity, when we arrived in Cusco we really felt like we were in a new culture. Greeted by friendly locals with a rather cute Llama key chain we made our way slowly (due to the altitude) to the first of many friendly local accommodations.
At this point, we engaged in a wonderful opportunity where we volunteered at a local project, developed for indigenous Peruvian girls to access high school education. Each day we helped out with painting the building, and in the afternoons spent time with the girls engaging in conversation. When we finished our project we set off for our real challenge. A five day hike, reaching an altitude of 4,600m near Mount Salkantay. The memory of many School camps kicked in and we persevered without complaint, though Freddy, the cook, may have put together a few better meals than we might have done, given the conditions. The sight that rewarded us at the end of our strenuous five day hike can never truly be put in to words. It is easy to see why Machu Picchu makes it on to every list compiled of ‘great world wonders’.
The final phase of our journey was a couple of stops at Puno, to see Lake Titicaca and Arequipa, the beautiful white city. Lake Titicaca was simply stunning, and it was easy to forget we were still at an elevation of 3,800m. Arequipa was a beautiful relaxed city, with spectacular examples of Spanish colonial architecture. At the end of our camino we returned to Melbourne, exhausted but satisfied; we had risen to the World Challenge.
Elsa Robertson Year 10
On 19 June we set off on our long awaited journey to Peru. After 36 hours of travelling we finally arrived in Lima. Although tired, we were all extremely excited to begin our adventure. Whilst in Peru, we ventured to many places including Paracas, Arequipa, Puno, Cusco and Goyeneche. One of the many highlights was exploring Machu Picchu and discovering the historical Inca ruins. All of these places offered us a different experience and a new culture we could immerse ourselves in.
As part of our trip we completed four different phases: acclimatisation, the hike, the project and rest and relaxation. As a part of the project phase we travelled three hours out of Arequipa to a small village called Goyeneche. Here, we stayed and worked to improve a local primary school which consisted of 17 students. Our funding, which we had previously raised, went towards fixing a roof on one of their classrooms and renovating dangerously worn outdoor stairs. In addition, we restored and painted their outdoor walls as well as getting to know the locals.
Another phase, the Huarcondo hike which elevated to 4,800 metres, enabled us to push ourselves – both physically and mentally, and discover another side of Peru. This hike enabled everyone to become closer as we ecouarged and supported each individual; we became a Peruvian family.
World Challenge offered us an experience we will never forget and carry with us throughout our lives.