Ciro Alegria Bazan school Huertahuayco village
Cultural Sundays by Alpaca Expeditions
“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”
We left at 6AM to head for the tiny village of Huertahuayco, near the town of Anta, where our group of small children was waiting for their adventure. As is typical in the remote Andean villages, introductions took on a formal air, though all very cheerful. Their much loved and respected school teacher, Albertina Cusihuaman Huallpa joined us, full of enthusiasm in supporting her students. They were all so excited to have this opportunity that Alpaca Expeditions offers each week through our Social Projects initiative, called “Cultural Sundays”, to different groups of locals who otherwise may never have the opportunity to visit the archaeological sites that have made their home country of Peru so famous. Our guide, William Farfan, took on a very important role that day, since it was he who introduced us to the amazing history of Cusco.
After a light breakfast to give us lots of energy, we went to the enigmatic Saqsaywaman complex, which not only impressed the children with its magnificent esplanade and massive stonework, but also due to the history that it kept within. Then we went to Q`enqo, where the children were filled with wonder as they took in every detail that was given to them by their guide, who told them fascinating stories and it was there that they felt that they relived some pretty interesting historical moments. The children had many good questions for their guide, who, of course, had all the answers! Then they spent a little time relaxing there – it is such a beautiful place!.
Next we all boarded the bus for the short ride to Puka Pukara, which means “Red Fort”, due to the color of the stone in which it was constructed. Our guide was very creative in enlisting the children’s interest and understanding of this archaeological center. Beautiful memories were made here for the children, who were brimming with enthusiasm for more, as we walked to our next site – Tambomachay. Here our group learned the value and history of this fascinating site, which is believed to have served as a Ceremonial Baths for the Inca. Our children were transported back in time and wanted to know every detail – they were so full of questions! One of the children, Diana Condori commented: “It is impossible to believe how the Incas made such great construction without architects or engineers! Nowadays we need them just to build a small house!” The children were left with no doubt that we have so many beautiful places to see and visit here in Cusco.
After a fun-filled, sunny morning, it was nearing lunchtime and everyone was hungry after so much exploring and learning! Lunch offered the opportunity to get to know the children a bit more, to listen to their jokes, and to see that they were really enjoying their CULTURAL SUNDAY! After lunch we boarded the bus once again for the beautiful one-hour drive through the winding roads into the Sacred Valley and to the ruins up at Pisaq. The children ran into the site to witness the majesty of this fascinating site. Then we climbed to the highest part of the complex where we sat down for a brief rest and the rain of questions was so magical – they were such a dynamic group and so full of curiosity! Finishing up our guided tour and talk within the site, we decided to give the kids some free time to explore in smaller groups of 5. These children are the descendants of the Inca and their enthusiasm at diving into their own heritage was such a joy to witness!.
We had completed all of our tours and the children were ready to return to the bus. This is where our little tourists started playing a game on the way home – with questions and sharing of all that they had learned during the day, to the point of exhaustion. We soon noticed that there was an absolute silence on the bus, and we weren’t surprised when we turned around to see that everyone was sound asleep! When we reached their beloved village of Huertahuayco, it was time to say “Goodbye”. It was such a joy for us to be a part of this wonderful project!
Grateful for sharing the day, we bid farewell to our 18 beautiful children.