Good Morning Pisac! All of the interns have arrived safely with only a few flight delays and are adjusting to life at 9,700 feet. We are staying at the beautiful Chaska Wasi Hotel in Pisac, Peru, and after a few days, we have gotten a small taste of the local customs and culture. Our days have started with desayuno (breakfast) in the market where we have the choice of either hot food (quinoa pancakes, omelettes, etc) from Mirabel or a large jugo (juice) made of any fruit/vegetable combination possible. On Tuesday we were split into groups and sent on a scavenger hunt around town to find important landmarks: the chocolate museum, the Pisac Community Museum, the Tambohuacso school, the Tambo de Gozo school, and a guinea pig castle! We also got a picture with a baby lamb for uno sol. After a brief orientation hike, we went for our first 30 minute run down a dirt road by the river. The views were breathtaking – both figuratively and literally, because there is 65% oxygen at Pisac compared to sea level! Our run was followed by a quick stretch session led by our group leader, Sarah, which was both fun and embarrassing as most of us runners can’t touch our toes. As the sun went down, and Pisac got chillier, we put on some more layers and went out for dinner at El Sabor. Most of us enjoyed a typical Peruvian dinner of chicken, rice, and stir-fried veggies. After dinner, we took a short hike, with headlamps in tow, to a viewpoint above Pisac. There, we sat in a circle and had a moment of silence to enjoy the lights of the town, the luminous stars above, and to reflect on our first few days in Peru. Our group leader, Scott, gave us a small astronomy lesson on the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere: the Southern Cross, Alpha Sentori, and Beta Sentori. We also went around the circle sharing our monos (monkeys – funny moments), moscas (flies – annoying moments), and mariposas (butterflies – beautiful moments) to conclude our day.

On Wednesday, after another typical morning beginning with breakfast in the market, we continued orientation with a brief overview of the six roles that each intern will be given on a rotating basis. These roles include the group leader, money bags (managing the food budget for the week), two bloggers, photographer, and social media manager. The final part of orientation was an activity centered around money management skills. Every week, each intern will be given a stipend of 140 soles ($42 USD) for meals. The six interns have been divided into pairs who are responsible for planning and cooking communal dinners each night. Today, we practiced these skills by exploring the market and Sofi’s grocery store to familiarize ourselves with prices of different ingredients. Needless to say, we’ll be eating a lot of rice and veggies! It has been an amazing first few days full of new experiences, and all the interns are so excited for more to come over the next seven weeks. Adios amigos!