During the summer break 38 sixth formers from Wilmslow High School set off on a four week educational visit to Peru where they undertook a variety of community projects at four different camps.
Project work varied from mud brick building, laying foundations for toilets, harvesting crops, painting educational murals and the construction of an ICT building for a local school.
The students experienced Peruvian culture living within the communities they were helping. Often the group were welcomed by colourful dances on their arrival to each new place. They expanded their culinary knowledge by eating local dishes, made by the families with which they were staying. Only Spanish is taught in the local schools and is the main language of Quechua, so the group also learnt some basic Spanish to help them communicate with the local Maestros teaching them how to build.
Students also completed the very challenging trek along the Salkantay route to Machu Picchu. This involved walking in the heat whilst carrying equipment and camping each night when the temperatures dropped to minus figures. At its highest point the route reached 4640m above sea level, requiring careful acclimatisation for the two weeks prior to setting off.
Pippa Speed said "Between each stage they made visits to Llactapata, crossed glacial terrain, descended into cloud forest and finally passed through dense riverside jungle. The culmination of the trek was their arrival to the ancient lost Inca city of Machu Picchu, a UNESCO world heritage site and immaculately kept wonder of the world. Arriving was a reward that the team will treasure for the rest of their lives."
In another phase of the expedition, the group were fortunate enough to visit the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, where the people live on islands made entirely from reeds, in harmony with the local wildlife and one another. The students also further learnt about the history of the Andean culture on a trip to the ruined stone circles of Moray, an Incan agricultural site.
Pippa Speed added "Throughout, the students impressed the local villages with their motivation and effort in community project work, giving their all to help make a difference in this developing country. A huge well done to all students involved, both for the 2 years of fundraising in preparation and for the expedition itself. Also, thank you to the teachers who tirelessly supported the visit and took such great care of the group for the duration."