Traveling Inspires

msel_engineering_sami044Hey friends! As many of you may know, over the break several of my fellow classmates and I ventured to Peru, with our school Interact Club. We headed out (way too early) on friday morning, and after 24 hours of traveling, made it safely to the city of Cusco. Though, since the elevation there is about 11,200 feet, not everyone was too excited for our arrival. Luckily I felt fine, and was able to take in my surroundings. I really had no idea what to expect, but I ended up loving it! If you step outside the airport, the sky is cluttered with billboards, but as you continue more into the city, you can see hills and green everywhere. In addition, rather than the usual black and white skyscrapers, the buildings are colorful and unique, which was a nice change.

For those who didn’t know, Cusco was once the flourishing capital of the Inca Empire, and is known by many for its fascinating history, and remarkable mix of Incan and Spanish architecture. During our stay, we did get the opportunity to learn a little bit about the culture and visit some of the historical sites such as the Plaza de Armas and of course, the breathtaking Machu Picchu. The usual tourist attractions were really cool, but something I found really fascinating, was observing how the people everywhere we went, made the best of what they had. While there are parts of Cusco that are quite glamorous, the majority of it isn’t so fortunate.. For example, since some places couldn’t afford security, they broke glass bottles and put them on the windowsills, or on top of the walls to keep anyone or anything from coming inside. Also, I noticed how often, rather than making something brand new, like a fence to go around a balcony, they reused old materials like the wooden railing from a staircase, and it ended up looking awesome.

I also saw this a lot during the time I spent volunteering in Peru. Each day, we got the opportunity to go to a girl’s orphanage and hang out with the kids for four or so hours. The girls there currently, are from ages two to eighteen, and were sent there because they either have no one to take care of them, or their family just can’t support them at the time. I remember how shocked some of us were by the condition of their playground, and how little they had. They didn’t have all the games and equipment we were so fortunate to have growing up, but they really did make the best with what they had. Some of them drew game boards on the ground in chalk, and others took turns using a broken hose or net tied around a metal bar as a swing. On the first day, there were large plastic tubes that looked like giant noodles, and for fun, they got in and had us roll them all around the yard. It was amazing how much creativity each of them had. Along with playing with them A LOT, we were able to help them with reading, writing and math, as well as working outside in their greenhouse. Gardening was quite an experience, because the hose had a hole in it and water was spraying everywhere. Though, they came up with this system to spray the water at the ceiling, and have it fall back down onto the plants like rain. A lot of us got excited that they were using biomimicry to solve their problems.

I have been constantly writing and rewriting this blog, because it is extremely hard for me to capture what we did, and how meaningful everything was to me, with my below average writing skills. Signing up for the trip, I expected to be helping and teaching others through my volunteer work, but I didn’t expect to learn as much as I did about myself, and the beautiful city of Cusco. I made connections with girls I will never forget, and overall had a blast! I hope all of you had an amazing break as well 🙂

Sami McLaughlin

Sami McLaughlin

I love life!

24 Responses

  1. KingLouis KingLouis says:

    What a cool experience Sami! That sounds so opposite to what we have here in the United States and that was really cool hearing about the orphans.

  2. Casey says:

    It sounds like you had a great time in Peru and learned a lot! I really liked the paragraph about you volunteering at the orphanage. I know many people who have volunteered at orphanages and there are always astonished at their conditions, but they always comeback excited that they were able to help these kids. So glad you got that experience.

  3. RuizSofia RuizSofia says:

    As one of the volunteers that went on this trip, I feel as tho you captured the experience perfectly! Reading your blog brought back so many good memories from that week. Awesome job Sami!

  4. JTooms911 says:

    I really enjoyed hearing about your exciting adventure in Peru! I like how you talk about helping out at orphanages and volunteering out there. Seemed like a very fun adventure!

  5. harv3 says:

    Sami I love the details about your trip! I’m going to Peru over the summer and your blog made me even more excited! I love how you described your travels, what you experienced, and how it effected you. I hope I have a similar experience and come back as happy as you did!

  6. sydneygilmandye says:

    I really liked how you wrote of your adventures in Peru, especially about helping and learning from the girls in the orphanage.

  7. Dorian Stocking Dorian Stocking says:

    I love how you captured those moments in your trip to Peru!

  8. Sheila Sheila says:

    Sami I can tell you really enjoyed your time there! It’s so cool that you were able to see them use biomimicry to solve a problem!

  9. maelsherman maelsherman says:

    I love how you included so much about your trip to peru! Emperor Cusco! Nice job! 😛

  10. Alyssa Ceccanti-Harris Alyssa Ceccanti-Harris says:

    That was a really nice blog. I like how you talked about both your personal experiences while on the trip and the groups experiences as a whole. It’s cool to really hear in detail what you guys did.

  11. maria2015 maria2015 says:

    So glad you had a great experience! I can tell you all enjoyed your break!!! I liked how you connected it back to msel

  12. Dylan Adler Dylan Adler says:

    Wow Sami what a great blog! I loved hearing about your Peru trip. I had no idea the altitude was so high there! Very interesting hearing about it all.

  13. Sophi Sophi says:

    Sami, you did a beautiful job of summing up our trip to Peru! I’m really happy that it was so inspiring for you and you seem to have really enjoyed it. I had a great time and I’m glad you did too!

  14. Natalia Natalia says:

    I like how you added a lot about Peru but also connected it back to MSEL. Great work!

  15. Ani Pirinjian Ani Pirinjian says:

    I like how you put a lot about Peru itself as well about all the experiences you had. This was a lovely blog to read 🙂

  16. Ember Ember says:

    Sami, this blog really captures your experience is Peru. I am so jealous that you went on that incredible adventure. Thanks for writing about it 🙂

  17. chiaracameron says:

    I love how you were looking for environmental aspects everywhere you went!

  18. kiera kiera says:

    Sami that was a beautifully written blog! I liked how you made the connection to MSEL with biomimicry. Thank you for sharing your experience in Peru! Glad to hear you had fun on your trip and was able to gain new connections and knowledge!

  19. Joanmarie Joanmarie says:

    Sami, you had a beautiful blog! I loved how you described the beauty of Peru! And your feelings towards the girls that we met at the orphanage. Overall, it was so much fun going on that trip with you! Keep up the good work!

  20. claireparkinson claireparkinson says:

    Sami! I’m glad you had such a great experience on our trip to Peru. It was crazy for me to have planned out the whole thing with the club and get to go with a bunch of MarinSEL classmates. It was one of the best trips I’ve been on; hopefully we can go on another trip soon.

  21. ethanking123 ethanking123 says:

    Nice job of not only explaining what you did on your trip to Peru but the meaningful experiences you had while you were there. The bond you formed with the kids seems pretty amazing. You have better than below average writing skills so don’t doubt yourself.

  22. cheyenne.biel cheyenne.biel says:

    That trip sounds like such an amazing experience, and what a well written blog! I like how you described the playground that these kids had, and how they made the best of things. Very good use of descriptive words 🙂

  23. Meredith100 says:

    It was great to learn about what you guys did in Peru so that the people who didn’t go could get a perspective of what it was like. I think it was interesting that you guys got to work at a girls orphanage and play with them and make connections and friendships that will last!

  24. nivie nivie says:

    Sami this was so fun to read! I went on the trip, and didn’t notice some of the things you mentioned such as the glass bottles. You are a great observer. Thank you!

Leave a Reply