Monday, July 11, 2011

Final Post from the Lima Airport

It seems like days and days ago when it was raining, as we have been enjoying the gorgeous Andean blue sky throughout the week. However, realizing that this blog serves as a journal for the students (and us) as well as a way of keeping in touch with parents, I wanted to note some of the students' responses during our discussion about what our "work" is during this experience. A few students suggested that our work is to create something tangible--in essence, to help the community build the sports court. And here are some other ways in which the students describe their “work” in Peru: to lead to other changes in the community of Ancco Pacha; to change attitudes; to create enjoyment; to create hope; to help people --us and Peruvians--think about the world in deeper and more expansive ways; to engage in a community building; to engage in a cultural exchange; to recognize that we need to unplug and dig in; to become more mindful of our privilege.

So much of this work was done so well throughout our time here. Yesterday in Ancco Pacha we asked the kids to reflect upon what aspects of their experience here in Peru they would want to bring back to Groton. Below is what they had to say.

A Stronger Sense of Community:

“We should bring back a sense of community and mutual respect as seen in Ancco Pacha, Ollantaytambo, and in our group.”

“I think we should bring back to Groton the sense of community and generosity shown to use by the families in Ollanta.”

“I hope we can bring back the sense of community that I’ve experienced here. Although Groton already has a close-knit community, I think that we can improve and strengthen it by looking out for each other and caring for each other even more.”

“I think we should bring back our sense of community. During this trip, I have grown close to a number of people who I probably never talk to at school. At Groton, it is very easy for us to get comfortable in our separate friend groups, and I don’t think there is enough community among the student body.”

“Here in Peru, I discovered a sense of human openness, which I surely would like to both maintain in myself and bring back to Groton. This openness encompasses all of the aspects of this trip that have struck us: the tight community, the amicability and hospitality of the people, the interdependence, and the happiness.”

Toward common goals:

“We should bring back the sense of ownership toward common goals we saw at Ancco Pacha.”

“We should bring back the teamwork we created when we were working toward difficult and frustrating goals.”

“We should bring back the sense of drive that will allow us to realize goals despite obstacles.”

“We should bring back the attitude of common goals and joint efforts that we have founding in Ancco Pacha. So much of what we do at Groton is for our own personal gain, instead of for the group as a whole, and people often have trouble being able to say that they need help.”

Gratitude and generosity:

“We should bring back thankfulness for the benefits of living in the United States.”

“We should bring back gratitude for all our parents do for us.”

“Watching all our families in Ollantaytambo have done for us, I’m reminded that I don’t thank my folks enough.”

“We should bring back the generosity shown to us by the families here. Each one of us was welcomed with open arms and given food and shelter by complete strangers—something that rarely happens in 1st world countries.”

Students are scattered now through the food court in the airport in Lima, and most have gorged on western delights (one student ate food from McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, and Papa John’s pizza) while we await the red-eye to New York. We will say our good-byes tomorrow and head our separate ways for the balance of the summer. Once again, we are grateful you have shared your children with us and with the communities in which we have worked and lived for the past weeks. They have been a delight and would have made you proud. Please do be in touch should you have any thoughts or questions subsequent to our trip. We will be landing in JFK around 8:30 a.m. on July 12th. Our best to you all!


Nancy and Craig


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