Thursday, June 14, 2012

I’ve left my perspective out of this blog until now because the girls have had such beautiful words to capture their experience.  But I would like to take a moment to thank the Hutchison parents and faculty for sharing their amazing daughters and students with me for a few very special days.  
In preparing for a trip with ten girls, I must say I expected some warranted complaining, maybe some cliques, and a tiff or two amongst them.  I was armed with techniques from the World Leadership School Curriculum to resolve any issues that arose.  However, what happened in reality was quite unexpected.   None of the leaders ever heard any complaining, there was only one huge clique of all 10 girls, and zero tiffs.  I am still astounded by how this group of girls not only survived 29 hours of travel, baby-wipe baths, unending plates of potatoes, and mud up to their eyelids, but also laughed and sang through it all.  Moreover, your girls were so exceptional that we decided to expand the curriculum to challenge them even further.  You should ask them about the great data they collected by interviewing Ollanta’s community members (mostly in Spanish).

 As I said to the girls, I am eager to hear where life takes them.  Without exception, each of the girls contributed so much joy, optimism, love, leadership, flexibility, and humility to learn from people with experiences very different from theirs.   Whatever path they choose in life, they have the capacity to do amazing things. 

The girls represented themselves, their families, Hutchison, World Leadership School, and all gringas so beautifully.  I hope you all are very proud of what special individuals you have raised.  Thank you again for sharing them with me.


Savannah Keith
World Leadership School Instructor 2012

P.S.  Hutchison, you should be equally proud of Helen and Caroline.  Their leadership and encouragement no doubt made the trip the success that it was.  I couldn’t have done it without them!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Students are in Miami!

Hello Hutchison School friends and family!

I just talked to Caroline and group has cleared customs in Miami and are waiting for their flight to Nashville. The flight is currently on time. The students will be in touch with parents by text/call once they have arrived in Nashville. They are expected to be in Memphis around 5pm tonight. Thank you for your support of this program - we are so excited about how well it went!Please call the office with any questions -303.679.3412.

Erin Lasky
Program Director

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ses and Kimmy

Ses and Kimmy here. We are packing up to begin the long trek back to Memphis. Leaving is definitely bittersweet; we are excited to see all our family and friends (as well as some much needed American food), but we are sad that this amazing trip has come to an end. We made so many memories and can't wait to share the many stories, pictures, and experiences with all of you. Thank you so much to our parents for allowing us to have this experience. This has been a trip we will never forget! We have such a great group of students and leaders and have had the best time together!! Love to all!

-Sarah Schaefer and Kimberly Gibson


As sad as we are that our trip is coming to an end, we reflect back on all of the exciting and memorable times we have experienced in Peru. From our 29 hour journey to our long days spent in Patacancha, we were able to live the lives of the Peruvians and understand their culture. Even though there were lots of cold and rainy days, we have spent an amazing 10 days with such a fun group of girls and teachers. As we leave behind friendships formed with the people in Peru but we look forward to sharing our experiences with our family and friends when we get home!

love, char and ceil
p.s. Mikecat and Gary--y´alls Peruvian presents are matching. Steph and Barb-- can´t wait to see you two!! 

Cillie and Wallace

After worrying about the language barrier, we met our host father and were relieved he spoke Spanish. Little did we know, we wouldn't see him for three days and were left with a shy and quechua-speaking family of a mother, grandmother, and three children. We had to come up with creative ways of communicating and connecting with our family; this included carrying an english to spanish dictionary to every meal and attempting to talk to the painfully quiet 10 and 12 year old girls who claimed they didn't speak Spanish. After a few games of slap jack and I-Spy, Naomi and Mary-Louise finally opened up to us. We learned they spoke Spanish very well and we were able to make jokes and bond with them.

A few days after we thought we met the whole family, we were surprised to learn there was a two year old boy we mistook for a girl and a three week old baby boy with no name. We quickly got to know the two year old when he openly went to the bathroom on the dirt floor in the kitchen and his parents only laughed. These awkward moments helped us build relationships with our host family that we will never forget.

--Cillie and Wallace

Monday, June 11, 2012

1 Wonder Down, 6 To Go

                  26 hours of travel, 5 days of wet mud and freezing rain, 3 langauge barriers (English, Spanish, Quechua), and whole potatoes for every meal. This trip was not what we expected. But, on our last night here, we are overwhelmed by how much the experience has impacted us. We have pushed ourselves beyond our comfort zones, grown individually as world service leaders, built meaningful relationships with our teachers outside of our classrooms, and grown even closer to the girls we've known all of our lives. Needless to say, this trip has changed us for the better, and we plan on reflecting this change as we make our journey home. Thanks to everyone that made this trip possible, it was incredible.

Shoutout to Emily and Ivy, (we spent all your money) we miss you dearly. Also, ML, Sarah says she loves you.

                 Love, Maggie and VK

P.S. we hope you enjoy our Ode to Machu Picchu

5 o'clock rise and shine,
5:40 out the door,
Duck tails, a single file line,
On the train in an hour more

After that we met our guide, 
A nice man named Willy,
Who led us on a crazy bus ride,
We know, it sounds a little silly

At last, we opened our eyes to the ancient city,
And saw a lot of llamas,
The stone remains were very pretty,
This poem has a lot of commas

please, please no eating!"
Apparently our picnic was not welcome,
And the ruins were not a place for our meeting

Though the mountain gave us sunburn,
The tour was something we would need,
We definitely had much to learn,
And now the world is ours to lead

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Alyssa and Bridget´s Amazing Awesome Analysis

One of my favorite memories in Patacancha was when Sarah and I headed home after building a greenhouse. As we began to head up the mountain to our home, we saw our host brothers and sister waving wildly and yelling "Hola" from our porch. This is the moment when I realized there was no longer a barrier between us Americans and the Peruvians. The fact that we spoke different languages didn´t mean a thing because a smile is the same in every language.That whole afternoon we taught Alberto and Rolando how to play football americano and cards, and we showed Medalee how to jumprope and blow bubbles. When our games were interrupted by a dinner of potatoes and tea, the whole family (including ceil, virginia, and their grandmother) connected by telling jokes. Despite the freezing weather, lack of showers, sleep, and variety of food....Patacancha is a place I will never forget!
YOPO (s/o to Maggie Hayes)

I can honestly say this has been the greatest experience of my life and I think many of the other girl would agree with me. Being in Patacancha made all of us realize how truly blessed we are in  America. I can honestly say I never saw a person cry in Patacancha even while they are going through the hardest times. We take every little thing we have for granted and it is easy to see when the people in Patacancha are smiling every second of the day regardless of how rough their lives are. Char and I spent lots of time sitting in the kitchen with our family in the freezing cold, but every time we looked up there was atleast one person in their family smiling at us. We all got alot more out of this trip than we were expecting and have grown closer to one another through the huge changes in our lifestyle the past days.    
 - Bridget


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Greetings from Patacancha!

Our students are mid-way through the construction of three greenhouses and are looking forward to completing a project that has connections to the nutrition and diet needs of the communities here in Patacancha. Learning about micro-climates and what it takes to ensure a variety of food for community health needs has been eye opening for the girls. In the middle of all of this, the girls are loving their homestay families. Today the girls all walked to school with the children from their families. It was an amazing sight to see them wind their way down the mountains with these young students--quite a different experience than hopping on 240 to school or going through the carpool line!

The girls are immersed in experience where they are utilizing their skills in Spanish, but they also had an opportunity to take part in a Quechua lesson. By the end of the lesson they had mastered some basic conversational tools that will enable them to deepen their connections with their families.

Tomorrow the girls will again work towards the completion of the greenhouses and in the afternoon they are all looking forward to a weaving lesson with the women from the Awamaki weaving cooperative. The girls are very excited to have a hands on opportunity to learn from-- and with --these amazing women.

We will write more when we return to Ollantaytambo on Sunday. We will regroup there before we head to Machu Picchu on Monday morning.

We have so much more to share and look forward to being able to put our updated on the blog on Sunday!

Until then, tupanchiscama (goodbye in Quechua!) :-)
The team from Hutchison and Adela and Savannah

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Good Morning from Ollantaytambo

Greetings from a gorgeous morning in Ollantaytambo, Peru!

Warmly greeted by Adela and Savannah at the airport yesterday, we all packed the van and headed towards Ollantaytambo.Set against beautiful mountains on all sides and an area rich in Incan history, Ollantaytambo provided the girls with a full day of exploration, beauty, friendship, delicious meals, and even a closing evening ceremony hosted by a local Quechuan shaman.  Let me take you through some of the highlights so far.

You reach the Full Moon Lodge where we are staying by heading down quaint cobbletsone roads and finding your way through a doorway that opens upon an interior courtyard and garden area. Upon arrival the girls had a chance to meet the lovely owner of the lodge, as well as Sebastian and Sol, her adorable two children. The girls greatly enjoyed introducing themselves to everyone in Spanish and getting to know the owner´s kind and generous family. After a delicious brunch of eggs, toasted bread, coffee, and cocoa leaf tea, we were all recharged and ready to explore.

Adolpho took us on a short hike to see 12th century  Incan grain storage containers in the hillsides that surround the city. Standing at a resting point on the hike you turn to greet a city that offers you the glories of the Incan past as well as a chance to observe the daily, bustling village life of  Ollantaytambo, 2012.

After our hike we had a chance to explore Ollantaytambo up close. The girls walked along the cobblestone streets, seeing signs of Incan life in the ancient Incan doorways and building stonework. Everywhere and in each interaction the girls had opportunities to speak in Spanish, whether it was asking for directions, purchasing a locally made hat and handmade ponchos (see the photo of Sarah and Maggie), or even talking with local school children making their way home from classes in the afternoon. The day continued with a restaurant lunch and then a chance for an afternoon siesta to recharge from the long journey.

We gathered together at 5pm to greet a local Quechuan shaman who would take us through a moving ceremony in honor of mother earth. The girls listened to his message about connecting across humanity and looking for similiarities rather than differences among cultures, races, and socio-economic levels. Each girl had a chance to offer her hopes for the future and the ceremony ended with a celebratory bonfire outside. After this moving experience we headed into town for a delicious meal at a local restaurant.

The girls woke refreshed and excited for today and we look forward to sharing about today´s adventures as well. After a meal here at the Full Moon Lodge we are heading to Patacancha to meet our homestay families and commence with the next stage of this wonderful trip!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Greetings Hutchison Parents!

I just heard from the group and they have arrived safely in Ollantaytambo! Today will be a relaxing day- they will do some orientation activities and adjust after a long day of travel. Stay tuned for more updates once the group gets settled in. Feel free to contact us in the office with any questions!

Lizzy Leighty
Program Coordinator, World Leadership School

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The air hummed with excitement and nerves this morning as the girls said their goodbyes and began their journey to Peru.  During the drive to the Nashville airport, the Hutchison vehicles were filled with diverse discussions such as the state of bathrooms in their home-stays, the upcoming exploration of Machu Picchu, guinea pigs, and so much more!  Each traveler has her own misgivings and curiosities regarding what the trip will hold, and they are excited for the adventure that lies ahead.  As Global Ambassadors, this is their opportunity to explore a diverse world from a unique cultural perspective.  Their adventures will be great, their knowledge expanded, and their cultural perspectives will be changed forever.

"We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.” 

– John Hope Franklin

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hutchison's Departure

In the case of global travel, a departure inevitably involves leaving one place in pursuit of another destination. Sometimes one leg of a journey is taking you far away from home, while another departure might be the trip that returns you to the place where you started.  In our case, our departure for Peru starts with our 10 Hutchison Leads Global Ambassadors and their parents gathering at Hutchison at 6:00AM tomorrow morning.

In the quiet of early morning, I imagine that we will all sense a multitude of collective and personal emotions, especially as we depart the gates of Hutchison for this inaugural trip. We will be departing for experiences we can't yet fully imagine. But, as with any profound journey, the best moments happen in the space between what you plan for and how you approach what comes your way. With open minds and hearts, we aim to lean into our experiences and create enduring relationships with each other and the families we come to know in Patacancha.

Our global service trip will place us in Patacancha, Peru and through World Leadership School we will be connected to the Awamaki Weaving Project.

Any journey begins with first steps, and as we depart tomorrow we invite you to share in our experiences along the way.

Caroline B