Machu Picchu, Ceviche, Inca Empire used to be just unfamiliar words, but after the one week IE Peru GIW (Global Immersion Week) trip, all the special experiences turned into wonderful memories that are worth cherishing for a lifetime. Peru is a beautiful and historical country in Western South America, but now it is also a place where we have laughed and experienced many memorable moments.
Thanks for this special Global Immersion Week program, organized by Laura Bussa from Emzingo and lead by Alicia Molina from IE Business School, that we were lucky enough to explore the other side of the earth, to experience a different culture and be transformed through observing, touching, and feeling. It is my deepest pleasure to share my special memories with all of you who are curious, motivated, and passionate about travel.
We were a small team of 7 people, but when the trip finished we became one big family. On the first day, we relaxed on the terrace close to the beach in Lima, and we enjoyed Peruvian cuisine Ceviche, Causa, Lomo Saltado and the most famous local drink, the Pisco Sour.
On Tuesday, we were very honored to visit the biggest national microcredit company called Mibanco. The manager shared with us their core business, company strategies, national growth opportunities and future economic challenges. We were so engaged that we talked about markets, finance and how to empower communities. Later that day, we traveled far to visit Kantaya, which is a special educational center to empower children from the lowest social class families. We were shocked when we arrived, and immediately after we stepped out of the car, the world we saw was somewhat unreal. We saw houses and schools located on the desert, and we heard that these children’s parents travel 3 hours daily to go to work to Lima. We saw their beautiful smiles, their careful use of water, their willingness to share everything with us and all of these touched our hearts. We quickly picked up pens to draw pictures together, stood up to dance together with the cheerful jungle music and hugged each other tight before we departed. Even after saying goodbye, we still missed them so much that we blogged about what we saw and we raised 400 US Dollars, which we heard is enough to support 4 local families.
On Wednesday, we visited Arena Y Esteras, which is a community theater that holds an important role to educate local people on art and theater. After watching a memorable performance there, we got the opportunity to learn juggling, walking on stilts and etc. We learnt that the theater was still in the building process, and every year they try to get donations to expand the place and acquire more equipment to promote art. Later we visited Yuyanapac Photo Exhibition, where we learnt the darkest time of the Peru history and we saw the struggles and the pains this country once been through. At night, we were honored to be invited to attend a special lecture in the Universidad del Pacifico. The associate dean, Vanina Farber conducted an insightful and inspiring panel where we talked about the struggles and opportunities in the Peruvian Economy.
Thursday was a special day, where we did team building through paragliding in Lurin. We climbed hills and walked in the desert to reach the red flag where we saw the beauty of a town covered in sand. Facing the altitude and the strong wind, just after 3 minutes’ instructions, we dared to fly in the sky and embrace the nature as if we are concurring the land and resisting the gravity. There under the strong sun light, you hear the laughter, the roaring of the truck and you saw 5 colorful para-gliders swinging. We were so bold that in the end we flew with iPhones in our hand trying to take pictures and shoot films. After the amazing gliding time, our car got stuck in the sand in the middle of nowhere, and we all got down to push the car until it finally restarted. With our empty belly, we enjoyed a very traditional Peruvian meal called Pachamanca Lunch in Lurin. It took more than one hour to cook that meal, and we observed the local artist stuffing hot stones with raw meat and vegetables all together inside a big hole, and later covered with sand to properly cook the meal.
On Friday, we woke up at 4 am to take the plane to Cusco and then a train to Ollantaytambo. We learnt how to distinguish llama from alpaca, and we enjoyed the local music. The air was so fresh and the night was so quiet that you could only focus on the clear starry sky and the loud water flows. You felt peaceful, as well astonished.
The next day, with the sunrise, we climbed up one of the most famous wonders in the world, called Machu Picchu, which is home to the Inca Empire. Machu Picchu is located on the mountain range 2,430 meters above the sea level. We walked slowly and we were absolutely amazed by what we saw when we reached the top. This place is like a maze of huge stones, surrounded with lively green mountain ranges, thick clouds and soft breeze. When you touched those two meters’ huge stones that leaned towards inside to create support, you could sense Inca´s wisdom on physics and natural sciences. Machu Picchu is nature and nature is breathtaking.
Sunday is when we had to say goodbye to Peru. Yes, goodbye to Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu and Ollantaytambo. It was a difficult day yet a cheerful one that we realized how much we have learnt throughout the GIW trip, how much laughter and special memories we had collected and most importantly how grateful we realized we were and how much love we could pour out to help people of not own race.
In the plane, we smiled in our dreams and we felt complete through getting to know a new part of the same earth that we are living in.
Thank you Alicia Molina and Laura Bussa. Thank you to the best team members ever, including Lauren Mills, Xianpei Pan, Zhiran Rosa Liu, Federico IlPuli, Stephanie Csendes, Lorenzo Pagliaroli. Thank you Peru. Thank you IE Peru GIW 2016. Thank you IE Business School.
This is our story, and now are you ready to start yours?