PERU

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

Working in Urubamba for nearly two decades, we’re in love with the people and projects in this historic Inca capita. Build school facilities, expand an irrigation system for local farmers, and work on environmental projects. Also, expect to be treated like family with plenty of time to practice Spanish language skills. Learn traditional pottery, weaving, and beekeeping from community members, and explore the Sacred Valley, with a visit to Machu Picchu.

PROGRAM DATES

June 30 to July 24 $5650

July 29 to August 9 $3550

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WHAT WILL YOU ACCOMPLISH?

You will learn the basics of adobe and cinder block construction, building additions and facilities for schools in the valley. You will also work on an irrigation system in neighboring rural communities, and volunteer at a summer day camp, teaching crafts and basic English.

WHO WILL YOU IMPACT?

VISIONS teens have been welcomed by “Urubambinos” for 15 summers, and that deep connections mean you will be taken in like family. You will collaborate with maestros at the work sites, participate in “day stays” with families, and play games with orphaned children.

WHERE WILL YOU EXPLORE?

You will spend a weekend in the heart of Inca civilization, Machu Picchu, and walk over the majestic peaks to the Sun Gate. You also will explore the ruins of Ollantaytambo, tour the Maras salt mines, visit Spanish cathedrals, the Plaza de Armas, and the Pisaq market.

WORK ON SERVICE PROJECTS THAT MATTER

Community service in Peru combines adobe and cinder block construction. You may even learn the adobe process from the beginning: making blocks by stomping mud together with straw, forming bricks and placing them to dry. One primary project involves constructing classroom additions and facilities for schools in the valley, also getting some time with local kids. VISIONS teen volunteers also play a pivotal role in a huge irrigation system in neighboring rural communities. The project was initiated in 2001 and its success in water conservation has led us to expand the system every year, always working with the farmers whose crops are served.

FEATURED PARTNER

PRONOEI is an education organization that provided preschool opportunities to poor and rural Peruvian children. In addition to providing educational resources, PRONOEI offers health and wellbeing support to rural and under-educated families.

CONTRIBUTE TO A COMMUNITY THAT WELCOMES YOU LIKE FAMILY

VISIONS teens have been welcomed by “Urubambinos” for fifteen summers. The deep connections mean you are taken in like family. In a way, you are an ambassador in a place that shares in service and cultural activities alike. Spanish immersion will push you to improve your language skills while you get to know our dynamic project manager and driver, Nico; prepare meals with our cook, Neyda; collaborate with maestros at the work sites; and participate in “day stays” with families. In a neighboring pueblo, you share time and play games with orphan children. Through regular workshops you learn traditional pottery, weaving and beekeeping. The tranquil streets of Urubamba become as familiar as home—you will meet food vendors while shopping for our meals, and neighbors who share their stories and lives with you.

OUR HOME BASE:

URUBAMBA

In the Sacred Valley of the Inca, Urubamba is the historic Inca capital and seems majestically placed between the mountains and Urubamba River. The area was favored by ancient Peruvians for its mild climate and fertile river lands. Urubamba is a charming community of 8,000 people whose roots are Inca, Hispanic and Quechua.

VISIONS began working in Peru in 1999. One of our first connections was with Nico Jara, a man always ready to laugh, play soccer, and work with us. Not only is he our professional driver of fifteen years, but also project coordinator and a close friend whose knowledge about the Sacred Valley runs deep. Work in our early years mostly focused on the construction of preschools in the Valley, and another important initiative of more recent summers has been in water conservation and irrigation systems.

Travel to Peru would not be complete without visiting the heart of Inca civilization, Machu Picchu, where we spend a weekend and walk to the Sun Gate just as the sun’s first beams break over the majestic peaks. You also will explore the ruins of Ollantaytambo and tour the Maras salt mines. In Cuzco we visit Spanish cathedrals and the Plaza de Armas. Before summer adventures end, you go to Pisaq market, where merchants have been selling wares for more than four centuries.

EXPLORE PERU WHILE YOU EXPERIENCE VISIONS

DAILY LIFE

Our home in Peru is a large rented home in one of Urubamba’s quaint neighborhoods. There are bathrooms and showers, a kitchen and communal areas, and a bunk bed awaiting each person.

We generally work five days a week and end in mid-afternoon. You typically get to choose from three different worksites each day—most are focused on development of water canals and construction projects at schools. One day a week you will be on “homebase crew” with a few other participants and a leader. The crew makes breakfast for the group, goes to local markets to buy food for the next meals, delivers laundry to our laundress, cleans our space, and enjoys a “day in the life” of Urubamba.

Afternoons and weekends are for excursions and activities. Some full-day activities of the longer program are condensed into afternoon activities for the shorter program. Games with neighbor kids, scenic hikes, visits to ancient ruins and markets, and time practicing Spanish with neighbors are some of the ways we spend the non-work hours. Some evenings after dinner we have group meetings to talk through the summer experience.

Meals include vegetarian and meat options, and healthy snacks as also available through the day. A cook prepares our dinners, which are a terrific blend of American and Peruvian cuisine, and always with plenty of variety to serve everyone’s palette.

VISIONS is not a teen tour with a day-to-day travel itinerary. We settle into our home and are part of daily life and local happenings. The itineraries provide an overview of some of our main activities in Peru.

ITINERARY

SESSION ONE

First Day

  • Arrivals to Lima

During Trip

  • Leaders fly with participants to Cuzco; settle into home base in Urubamba
  • Worksite orientation
  • Fourth of July cookout
  • Day stays with local families
  • Afternoon trip to Pisac ruins & market
  • Machu Picchu & Aguas Calientes
  • Chincheros Ruins
  • Star Gazing near Maras
  • Saksaywaman ruins & Cuzco
  • Maras salt mines
  • Goodbye Dinner with community members
  • Leaders fly with participants to Lima, then evening departure flights

Last Day

  • Arrivals back home

SESSION TWO

First Day

  • Arrivals to Lima

During Trip

  • Leaders fly with participants to Cuzco; settle into home base in Urubamba
  • Full day worksites
  • Dinner stays with local families
  • Afternoon to Maras salt mines
  • Machu Picchu & Aguas Calientes
  • Afternoon trip to Pisac ruins & market
  • Morning tour of Cuzco, then leaders fly with participants to Lima for evening

Last Day

  • Arrivals back home

MORE DETAILS

  • Summer leaders receive teen volunteers at the Lima airport and then fly with them to Cuzco before making the hour-long bus ride to our home base. Likewise, leaders fly from Cuzco to Lima to see kids off at the end of the program.
  • Parents receive a phone call or email once their child is met by VISIONS leaders at the airport. After that, phone calls home are generally limited to once a week.
  • We live together as a group in a rented house, and boys and girls sleep in separate areas. VISIONS provides bunk beds, and participants bring their own pillow and sleeping bag.
  • VISIONS has a 1 to 4 or 5 leader to student ratio, one of the best ratios among summer programs. The maximum group size is 25, and programs are gender-balanced. Most participants attend alone, and no more than two friends may attend a program together.
  • We emphasize an inclusive group dynamic. Things like age and grade become less important on a VISIONS program. We eat most meals and do most activities as a large group, and we break into small rotating groups for workdays.
  • Details such as a packing list, travel notes, and health forms are provided upon enrollment through login web pages. The process is straightforward and we are here to help. VISIONS travel agent books flights, which are not included with tuition.
  • Peru I: 80 community service hours; Peru II: 40 community service hours. Youth summer camp program for ages 14 – 18.

Program Director(s):

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