Welcome to the end of week 4! On Thursday the interns went for an early run and then hopped in Hector’s van to go to Cusco. In Cusco we met Dr. Daniel, a 72 year old Peruvian who has invested in restoring a massive area of Incan ruins above Cusco. Dr. Daniel took us on a 2.5 hour tour of the site which ended at Inkillatambo (the ‘garden’ where Incans would take mummified royalty on funeral processions). It was really cool to see their advanced irrigation and aqueduct systems and peek inside the temple where they worshipped Pachamama (Mother Earth). Dr. Daniel also showed us a breathing exercise called The Breath of a Condor which involved screaming loudly (and left us all lightheaded at 12,000 feet!) We are all very excited to return next Wednesday and do service at this site. That afternoon, we hiked up to Mirabels town (Ccaccaccollo) where a group of women showed us the entire process of weaving, using all natural herbs and flowers to dye the yarn different colors. It was a very exciting process to watch, and in the future we plan to teach the women of Ccaccaccollo various phrases and words to enable better communication between them and tourists. 

On Friday we woke up to a heavy rainstorm, which is unusual during the dry season. After an easy run, all the interns went to Tambo and harnessed our artistic abilities to decorate for their teacher appreciation day! Friday afternoon we had an extensive debrief of our service this week and planned what our days will look like for the rest of the summer. Our night concluded with a delicious dinner and a movie night with Ratatouille (to further inspire our cooking) and street desserts. Saturday we were able to sleep in a bit and went off in different groups for our long runs. Most ran 80-90 minutes – Isabel and Sarah ran 33 minutes more than intended and made it to Cuy Town! The interns all went out for breakfast after our runs and got buckwheat pancakes, vegan pulled pork burgers, and chocolate peanut butter cheesecake! We also explored the Pisac market and practiced our bargaining skills to get some souvenirs and family gifts. The rest of the day consisted of reading, journaling, and napping – a much needed respite from our otherwise busy week. Our day ended in another great meal along with the necessary dessert of chocolate casinos (like oreos, but better).