Westholme’s expedition to Peru
On the 5th July 21 students accompanied by Miss Bruce and Miss Shaw set off for a 4 week expedition to Peru, travelling with Camps International. This was the culmination of 18 months of fundraising and fitness training by the group, so the trip had been eagerly anticipated!
During their time in country the group stayed in three different communities, the first was Pinchollo near the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world at 3,270m deep! This camp had a real community feel, and here the girls worked tirelessly digging an irrigation channel, and foundations for a new school classroom and a Cultural Centre which will put Pinchollo on the tourist route.
The second camp was at the beautiful Lake Titicaca, where the students often woke to watch the sunrise over the highest navigable lake in the world (at 3,812m). Here students continued their love affair with digging as they dug foundations for greenhouses for the local families. In addition to this, the girls levelled ground for a playground at the primary school, mixed mud and built bricks, painted the walls of a new classroom, and helped the maestros build new ovens. The girls had a humbling experience when they saw the old kitchens, that were tiny and covered in soot, and so were proud to be part of the ‘Healthy Homes’ programme.
Students also took part in cultural activities during their stay at each camp, and here they set off on a boat tour to the Uros Islands – floating islands made entirely from reeds. From here they travelled to the Isle of Taquile, where they were treated to an evening of camping on the beach.
The third stop was Camp Maras, at by this stage our girls’ reputation preceded them: as hard-working and talented diggers! So they were set to work digging another irrigation channel for a very new community in need of water supplies, and the foundations for the school dining room. As at all of the other camps, we were given a warm welcome from the local community, with the Peruvian children preparing dances and songs for us.
The adventure element of the trip was our trek over the Salkantay Pass on our journey to Machu Picchu. The first day was incredibly challenging as we climbed to a height of 4680m, a fantastic achievement. Unfortunately, due to illness we were unable to complete all four days of the planned trek, but on the fifth day we reached our goal of Machu Picchu. It was simply breath-taking and an incredible experience to see the work of a civilisation that most likely no longer exists.
It was most definitely a trip of a lifetime and all of the girls involved should be proud of their individual achievements.