Location: Buenos Aries, Argentina
Buenos Dios everyone
We left Cusco at 0600 Thursday after another action packed week. Halloween is quite a big deal in Peru, they have Thursday and Friday as public holidays. Thursday is the day for the dead - the locals dress up and visit grave yards for picnics/parties and Friday is the day for the living so they visit friends and party some more.
Dale the kids and I went into Cusco central (The Plaza De Armas) on Wednesday evening (halloween) we enjoyed a fabulous meal at Jacks Cafe and did the last of our shopping. You where right Bronwynne Rory is the best haggler amongst us, he seems to have grasped the language here well and just loves to get a bargin. Cusco was just teaming with people, most of the children were in costume and carrying wee plastic pumpkins for their treats. Rosie was so wide eyed, this is her kind of holiday lollies, drama and more lollies!
On Thursday morning we painted faces, bobbed for apples and made piniatas at the school, it was good that halloween coincided with our going away ceremony as it can be quite emotional as the director of the school makes his formal speech and the children present their thankyou cards and flowers. The people here are so open and ready to share their culture, the children have definately left their mark, along with the people from Perus challenge. They really are a great team and we will miss them so much. Our flight to Buenos Aries left Lima last night at 1130pm which was a really inconvenient time with children - Rosie was not impressed after spending a busy afternoon in Lima, which was just so beautiful second time round. They were also celebrating halloween here so their plaza was just a packed. We were in the plaza as night fell all of the spanish buildings were alight the atmosphere was just enchanting. We almost didn´t venture out because the chidlren were tired - so glad we did now.
So its a really nice day here in Buenos Aires, which is also better second time around. I really appreciate the green grass and trees, as there is none in Cusco. We are just about to catch a taxi into town to check it out. Our flight for Auckland leaves at midnight (SO INCONVENIENT) so we will see you all soon, red eyed and dazed but so happy to be home! Mum and Dad we will ring you from Auckland - sending you much love bye bye Jac
Location: Aguas calientas, Peru
Its 1500 in Aguas Calientas, we have had an awsome day, we were up at 0430 so we could hit the road at 0530 we were able to stand at Machu Picchu and watch the sun rise - when we first arrived there was a thick mist covering the ruins but as the sun slowly rose the mist cleared. We were pleased to have arrived early, there were not many people and we could explore at will! Really interesting to hear the different theories about what the ruins represented for the Inca people, there were various temples for the sun, the earth etc - An ancient compass carved in the rock, various sun dials and astrological equipment to study the stars etc, just amazing. The kids had a great time, and really enjoyed their soak in the hot water pools at Aguas Calientas, we are waiting now for the train to carry us back to Cusco - Yes I think the children will be sleeping soundly by the time we arrive. Catch you soon Love Jacque
Location: aguas calientes MACHU PICCHU, Peru
Buenos noches amigos
This evening we are in Aguas calientes a beautiful tourist town near Machu Picchu. Aguas calientes is about five hours from Cusco by train. We have been here most of the day, we have great water pressure and hot showers! A treat considering that we have not had a hot shower the whole time that we have been in Peru. At the volunteer house we are lucky if there is any running water at all let alone hot water! BLISS we shall have more showers, and soaks in the hot springs before we go.
The markets here are great, we could go crazy. Looking forward to tomorrow, we are to rise early and travel to Machu Picchu - finally. The mountains here are covered in forest, the green just so refreshing as Cusco central is mainly dry, dirt roads. Our hotel is right in the centre of town nestled deep in a valley with steep mountains all around (enough to make you giddy!) Because of the height here there is often mist sitting on the top of the mountains - slowly descending as the day draws on. The air is fresh and damp also unlike Cusco central which is dry and very polluted. So nice to read your messages, we are really starting to miss home and family - will update on Monday night. Love to all.
Location: Cusco, Peru
I have managed to download some photos, this takes a long time here tho, six photos took over half an hour! Thanks Dad, that website was accessable here I have great growth charts for the childrens books. Plenty to do here, less and less time to do it, will update again soon, love to all Jac. PS Hows is wee Jazz
Location: OBLIVION, Peru
You can buy a bottle of good vodka for 12 soles which is about 5 New Zealand dollars!! And when they pour nips in the bars they just put in half a glass of spirit, no nip measure here buddy, this traveling is not so bad after all! It is just unfortunate that I cant drink for the next few days, I´m on antibiotics. Everything is cheap as a rule, food - clothes. Taxis are ridiculous cheap, but scary driving, we are getting used to the driving. The Rapido is classic, its a mini van which packs in as many people as are willing to get in, on a run into the city, they only cost 60 centimos (25 New Zealand cents) good value for a 20 minute trip! The ladys wear TIGHT jeans here and have fantastic arses! Yes traveling is OK. Cheers Mate, see ya when we get home.
Location: CUSCO, Peru
Ola Family and friends
The week that was, was one that we would all rather forget. Salmonella, aomeba, guardia all together is not a good combination for a seven year old girl - Rosie has bounced back really well after spending the best part of a week in hospital, as a matter of safety. She is skinny as a rake and eating like a horse to try to put it back on! Our travel doc here Dr Victor is fantastic, considering the resources available to him, Rosie and then Dale had the best possible care, a private room and great kick ass anti biotics IV. Dale developed pneumonia after a week on amoxylillan - our abs just dont cut it here. Dont worry Mum and Dad the kids are fine, we have all had a course of good drugs and now there is no stoppin us. We have been unable to call New Zealand as our phone line is really unreliable - we will keep trying and hope to speak with you soon (I can just imagine what you guys must be thinking=)
In between all of this drama, I managed to get into the Amazon - In four days I managed to see quite a lot of wild life, did some white water rafting and canopy climbing - took heaps of pictures - the amazon brings out the photographer in everyone! Meet some really interesting people. I was amazed to discover that there really are umpalumpas in the Amazon! They fix the roads which are just crazy, in these bright orange suits, heaps of them!! Will post pictures asap.
Our first childrens clinic at the school went really well, we have weighed and measured, and tested almost half of the children. This will make it easier to see which are in the most need. Our time here is fast running out, we visit Machu Pichu this weekend. I really hope the kids get lots out of it as they are both a bit travel weary with what has been going on. Poor wee things, looking forward most to a drink of New Zealand milk and worry free dining!! Can´t wait to see you all - miss you all heaps!
Love the Cornish clan.
Sourced some growth charts on the internet. However had difficulty in faxing as someone kept picking up the phone. Also horrifically expensive. Suggest you have a look at www.keepkidshealthy.com for a range of growth charts. I couldn't figure out how to e-mail them to you.
Location: cusco, Peru
I am hoping some of you could help me, I am trying to get hold of a growth chart, so I can start charting the childrens growth at the school in Pumamarca. It has been very difficult trying to get hold of one here, even over the internet!?? We are doing well child type clinics, we have barely any resources but we are making do with what we have. We are charting their height, weight, doing simple hearing and sight tests. Just trying to identify areas in their development where the need is most.
If you are able to help I would very much appreciate it if you could forward a good simple growth chart to this fax number
51 84272508. It is often very difficult to get through so keep trying. Thankyou so much, I will write again soon, love to all! Jacque xx
Location: PUMAMARCA, Peru
Hope all is well, we have had such a busy week, we are all over the altitude problems, our stomachs are now adjusting to the new bugs. Rory has had a visit to the doctor here, he has salmonella - we were considering a couple of nights in hospital due to the strength of the bugs, but we got in early - he had only one bad day of vomiting, and is now on some super antibugs and recovering.
Our first visit to Pumamarca (the school set up by Perus challenge) was shocking, even though we had tried to prepare there were still tears as we heard the stories of the local children, they only live about 20 minutes out of Cusco, but it might as well be 20 hours. All of the houses in this small community are made from adobi mud bricks, there is no electricity or running water in their homes.
One of the projects we have been involved with is to build one of these dwellings for a family whose father had died, mother and three small children had nowhere to live, and no family here. With the rains fast approaching time is not on our side but things are looking good, everyone works so hard - there is a real sense of satisfaction to stand back and see this family with a home and somewhere to grow food and keep animals.
The water in Pumamarca is 200 times over the safe drinking standards. Though it is from a great source, the mountain glaciers - the water flows through the street and this is where people wash, where food is cleaned for eating and where animals drink. We are responsible for some of the classes at the school, I taught the children how to weave this week with coloured paper, great fun!
We visited the sacred valley this week too, this place is just beautiful, we visited more archeological sites, Rosie and I scaled the mountain side like goats while poor Rory struggled to keep any food or water down back at the hotel with Dale who was also under the weather. And oh! the markets! Just fantastic!! Too many details, too little time. Will write again soon.
Love to all The Cornishs
Location: Cusco, Peru
Well the nights here are less than retsfull so far, it is not uncommon for the ferral dogs to bark all night, infact you can be woken by all sorts, roosters, donkeys and pigs too. The weather seems predictable, the mornings bright - hot, early afternoon brings thunder, lightning and a little rain which is quickly soaked up by the parched earth, I love the extreems here. Last night was the acception tho it rained most on the night, which kept the dogs quiet, Dale and I however both struggled to get any sleep at all, still adjusting I guess. We got up today to a typical bright morning (the sun shines into our room at 5 am). There was snow on the peaks surrounding us - just beautiful, it would make our horse ride later that day really special.
All of the new arrivals to the volunteer houses visited the Inca ruins today, 11 of us in total. They are all really different nice people. Our first stop was QUENKO the sun temple, this site was brought to life for us by our guide Selbi, who is one of the founders of Perus challenge. Selbi was able to descibe how the ancient Inca used this site for sacrafice, a throan for the Inca king, walls coated with gold to reflect the light. We were able to trace the steps of a would be sacrafice to the alter within a cave, were a shaft of light would bare witness. 10% of the remains found in this chamber were human! From here we mounted our horses and rode across the mountains to TAMBOMACHAY the water temple. This site reflects the importance of water for the Inca people, it is a huge temple with water flowing through it to channels which feed the Inca agricultural areas, the water here is said to make you fertile.
After a much needed lunch in the centre of Cusco we returned to SACSAYHUAMAN pronounced sexywoman!! This place was the highlight of an already awsome day. Here we were led hand in hand, single file through a dark cave, it was nice to see some light at the end I must say, the cave opened onto a huge flat grass area which was designed for celebrations, another throan for the king, best seat in the house! Our guide went on to describe theories about how the Inca in 60 years constructed this massive place, huge stone walls with blocks which weigh more than 100 tones, the site is still used in June for the solstace festivals. We were all gobsmacked to see a Condor take flight across the area, so majestic - the Condor is said to be the messanger of the gods here, the Puma a symbol of strength and the snake Intellegence. If you look at the blocks in the huge walls here you can see these animals all over it. Dale was absolutely boggled, his engineers brain trying to nut out how it was all done, with no machinery. Rory and Rosie really enjoyed the day, they are in the biggest most exciting classroom ever! In the evening I make them write in their journals, a task which drags on, so much to write about! They are so keen to learn. Tommorrow we visit the school that Perus challenge has set up and spent some of the day helping to build mud brick houses. I will load photos when I am able. Love to everyone, what Rugby!!!
Location: Cuzco, Peru
We find ourselves today in Cuzco, after a very long tiring trip with many delays and cancelled flights. There are no adequate words to describe our 12 hour flight, Rory and Rosie coped really well both managed to sleep reletively well on the plane. Dale and I not so much - We spent our first night in Lima @ Miraflores, which is an upmarket area compared to others in Lima, we all slept really well considering our body clocks, it was so strange/amazing to wake in such a foriegn place, my senses going crazy such different bird sounds, smells, so much life! We were surprised to find that Lima had a population of 8 million people, the place is huge! we arrived at 0100 Lima time and there were people everywhere, everyone grabbing for our bags, Dale and I both thinking about the many warnings we recieved from people about Lima - don´t just get in any cab, don´t go down by the beach watch out for scammers! We had missed our flight to Cusco, due to our flight being cancelled from Auckland to Argentina, our guide was not there to pick us up, we were unable to contact anyone who cared!! So we jumped into the nearest cab and made for the hotel that we were originally supposed to stay in. The cab ride was something else, I could never drive in a place like this, every driver leaning on his horn and yelling, no road rules that I could make out, our cab was a rusty old van that did not look like it could get a warrent, our driver took us through town to some deserted road NEXT TO THE BEACH!!! We drove for what seemed like hours to get to Miraflores, this place is huge.
Our flight to Cuzco was organised for the next morning we arrived that afternoon due to more delays, all of us jetlagged, bewildered this place is beautiful. I felt rather emotional once we finally hit Cusco, we got off the plane and walked into another world, local musicians were playing in the airport foyer (I thought it was a recording at first) dressed traditionally, outside I could see some children watching through the glass - beautiful but sad one of them obviously needing an operation for his squint, smiling, laughing and joking with other locals. And joy of joys our guide waiting for us!
We did our best to keep up with the conversations with the current volunteers, we are the first of our lot to come - Our heads were spinning, so much to take in! Dale and I were both feeling the effects of the altitude, just could not think straight - Meanwhile Rory and Rosie were out in the street meeting all of the local children, they don´t seem to need to speak the same language, those of you who have meet my children will understand what I mean when I say they were both in their element. The next morning we all woke feeling strange. The children, less able to listen to their bodies went for a walk, when they returned Rosie was as white as a sheet, unable to stand eventually vomiting, she went back to bed and slept most of the morning, she woke feeling much better - I am constantly reminding them that they can´t run around, we are all getting slowly used to the altitude. I feel like an old lady unable to cope with a flight of stairs!
The local people are so patient with the stupid gringos who cant speak spanish, they laugh at us lots. The taxi drivers in Cusco also seem to have an obsession with their car horns, they drive like maniacs, on the other side of the road too, so confusing for the stupid gringos!! I will try to update this page often, we have lots organised for the first week so I don´t know when I will be able. We are having an amazing time, I am sure that one month will not cut it! Love to all. The Cornish clan XXXX