Dear folks back home,

A big “hola” from Cuzco, Peru! All is well here in the ancient Incan capital nestled high in the Andes. Much has changed here in the past 600 years — today this city has become an international destination, offering a wealth of activities to its visitors. Between exploring the tunnels of the mysterious temple ruins of Sacsayhuamán, sifting through piles of hand-woven alpaca wool in sidewalk markets, and sipping local “cafe con leche” in our new hangout, the European-styled Café Perla, the stack of heavy adobe bricks at our village community service project now seems far away.

Cuzco, though, can be a bit overwhelming at times; we often wind down the evenings playing games and tuning into televised Jenga competitions (yes, Jenga, the block-stacking game) in our hotel, Teatro Inca. We are, nonetheless, looking forward to returning tomorrow morning to our new home in Ollantaytambo, beneath the dramatic peaks of the Sacred Valley, where we have now all settled in with our host families. They have made the adjustment easy for us, opening up their homes and giving us a taste of the famous “Ollanta” hospitality. No doubt our younger siblings eagerly await our return, especially to the soccer field the and basketball court!

The new arts-and-crafts house at the local center for the disabled and retired is progressing by leaps and bounds. In the past week, we have laid a cement foundation and built seven feet of adobe walls. In the week to come we hope to complete work on the walls and prepare the beams upon which the roof will eventually sit. Please take a look at the attached pictures to get a better idea of what we’ve been up to. Check back next week for our next blog update too!

Hasta luego,

Jonathan

More about Jonathan ’s trip can be found here: http://www.walkingtree.org/a-big-hola-from-cuzco-peru/