“In 1954, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, then a medical student, set out to ride a motorbike from his family’s Buenos Aires apartment to a leprosy clinic on the Peruvian Amazon by way of Chile’s Atacama Desert; Cuzco, Peru; and the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu. One can quibble with the romanticized young man in director Walter Salles’s dramatic re-creation, but each new landscape and climate—from verdant valley to dusty city, from high-up, bone-chilling cold to jungle steam—has its own forceful majesty.” – Sarah Kerr, Conde Nast
A single trip may not be enough to discover all this ancient country has to offer. Highlights include the Andes, home to the iconic Machu Picchu and other Inca ruins, and the jungle of the Amazon basin.
Anyone who has wandered among the ruins of Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas” will tell you that it is not only a breathtaking sight, it is also a testament to human endurance and perseverance.
These are also qualities that you can observe for yourself if you chose to immerse yourself in village life and help improve the situation of impoverished children in the Andes by giving back and restoring their school. Make it a more conducive place to learn and help the children practice their English: a vital skill in a region with a booming tourism industry.
During your time in the Andes learn more about these people and take part in the local custom of “ayni”, cooperation between community members. If one family requires assistance building a house, they request help from other community members and reciprocate later with the same number of hours/days granted to them. Though it is unlikely that you will ever need to make good on your time spent volunteering, you will take back wonderful memories of the assistance you rendered these impoverished communities.
Your improved understanding of local culture and traditions will only serve to heighten your enjoyment and appreciation of the fascinating historical sights you will explore. If this sounds like an interesting idea, contact us at Hands Up Holidays.