"There comes a point in a person's life when you start asking yourself, "What difference am I making in this world?" I was at that point earlier this year when I began to plan my annual vacation and decided to put my free time into something worthwhile." -- Gayle Harrod
Click here to see some of Gayles impressions
Aug 5th Lima: I got off the 6 hour flight from Atlanta at 11:42 pm on Thursday night. Customs was a nightmare! As we were exiting, or as they say in Spanish "Salida", thousands of people were screaming, "Taxi!" -- Cody Harrod
Click here to see some of Cody's impressions
It seems each of us is coming in contact with this place. Our American selves and the Peruvian way of life. Understanding our limitations is difficult for us Americans. We can accomplish so much than what we think. Last night I went into the courtyard for a while to be with the kids and one boy came over and wanted to be hugged. We sat for quite some time, me holding him, rocking him like a baby. He was smoothing the back of my shirt in place and he snuggled his face into my neck. Occasionally, he looked up at me with such innocent and adoring eyes. I didn't deserve such adoring eyes. Then after some 10 or 15 minutes of this another little boy and a little girl came over, who started braiding my hair on one side. Then there was another, and another, and another. They began fighting with each other over me. My head was being yanked from side to side. The need is so great for these children to be held and to feel the warmth of another person's touch. --Anonymous
We went to mass at a beautiful church. Mariso translated from sign to Spanish for me and I would guess at the rest. We returned to the Hogar long enough to line up for the next adventure.
We were told that we would take the kids for a "walk" which means a hike up the mountain with 30 children. We arrived to the top to find Llamas grazing. As we hiked further, we came to a natural rockslide. We joined the kids on the slide. We returned to the Hogar for "lunch" at 4:00 p.m. The group went to the square to shop and use the Internet. We ate a nice dinner at Victor Victoria. --Anonymous
Today I awoke early to help the children get ready for school. I was given the fun job of putting sunscreen on their faces. We had a fabulous breakfast of cheese, bread, and oatmeal. Meals here are at 7am, 4pm, and 8pm we went to Pisac, where we saw ruins, hairy pigs, alpaca, tombs, a tunnel, landslide, and beautiful scenery. We had a brief shopping excursion. 45 minutes was not long enough at the huge market, but I was able to buy most of my gifts. Back to the Hogar for a lunch of potatoes with smashed flowers. Then we played jump rope, learned sign, read, and counted.
My initial goal is to have fun with the children. I have a strong feeling that we will all leave something positive behind, and return home a different and better person. --Anonymous
All that really can be said or needs to be said is... these kids are amazing! Despite all of their troubles and hardships, they smile, laugh, and love through it all. We've only been here for two days and already it's been the trip of a life time. I wish everyone could experience this. The sympathy you have for the kids upon first sight... but then this overwhelming feeling of love once you realize how rich these kids are in the things that matter the most like love, joy, and friendship.
-- Jessica Raper Click here for more of Jessica's impressions:
Vibrant colors, high altitude, Alpaca sweaters, and great Peruvian food.
Deep breaths, long sighs, a warm welcome, wide-open eyes.
A few hearts overflowing with love, a turquoise blue sky up above.
Tall green mountains, a colorful town square, white cotton clouds high up in the airâ€¦. Aahhh.
The sight and sounds of our 1st day in Cusco. -- Leanne Goldburg
Click here for more of Leanne's impressions
What an incredible time I have had so far and it is only my first day! The hogar is amazing, the children beautiful, loving, playful, and constantly smiling. We rang the bell to enter the hogar and a beautiful young woman opened the door. -- Blythe Brockway
Click here for more of Blythe's impressions