Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The students and faculty of SMA have safely arrived in Houston!  Their next flight is on schedule and is estimated to arrive in Denver at 10:30 AM.  Please call our office with any questions or concerns: (303) 679-3412.

Thank you!

Program Coordinator

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hi family and friends of SMA Peru program! The students are getting ready to head home after a very successful program in Peru. Please meet your children/friends at the airport, as buses will not be running back to campus.  I have included the flight information below. Don't hesitate to call the office with any questions 303-679-3412. Thank you for your support of the program! 

Tuesday      25 March 2014
4:00 PM – 5:25PM             LAN 2042 CUZ – LIM    
11:55 PM - 6:30 AM          UA 855 – LIM - IAH
Wednesday    26 March 2014
9:00 AM  - 10:34 AM         UA 94 – IAH - DEN

Maria Selde
Program Coordinator

Preparing to go

Monday, March 24, 2014

Haley rockin' it

Celebrating with our families and saying farewell at the soccer field

Haley spoke for the group

We formed a large circle

Adela saying a few words

Geneva speaking

Walker speaking

Hard work the final day

Final Individual Blogs

From: Lauren Eppich
Dear everyone: This trip is one of the best trips I have ever been on; It is life -changing. I have created really awesome close relationships with people. I LOVE IT! I got sunburned really bad, and people were calling me a tomato. Yesterday I went to one of the seven wonders of the world - Machu Picchu. It was breathtaking!! J I will tell you all more when I get back! I really don’t want to come home. L Love, Lauren!!<3

From:  Sofia Avila
Hello everyone! Well, we’re almost home!  I can’t believe we have already been here for two weeks; it seems like it has been three days.  I never thought that in my thirteen years of existence I would be visiting one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  Machu Picchu was one of my favorite moments on this trip, and the presentations was so heartfelt and genuine.  I am so happy I was able to come and form closer relationships with everyone, and to be able to form relationships with the Peruvian people.  Thank you all so much, I LOVE YOU!!!! J <3  Sofia :3

From:  Khaili Rowan
Hello Friends, Family, and Loves ones:  I’m going to be home in two days and am excited to see you guys. Can’t wait to hear about your stories and about what I missed. I ruined my favorite pair of shoes (the ones I wear all of the time). Can’t wait to share all of my adventures Love you guys, Khaili

From:  Chris,
Hey everyone! I cant believe it’s my last day in Peru.
this experience has gone by so fast and I never want it to end. I almost wish my flight home was delayed for another 2 weeks. I have learned so much, not only about myself, but about everyone else on the trip. I hope my CAT back at SMA is doing good. I can’t wait to see you guys again!#:) I also hope my parents are having a good time at the beach in Miami, and it will be cool to see you guys again. When I saw Machu Picchu, I was so amazed that I thought, this is the true meaning of home. It’s so cool to be able to see one of the seven wonders of the world! Again, I can’t wait to have a chocolate coke with my CAT once I am back. I gotta go now! See you back at school! Adios! J

From: Lillianna
Hi, everyone. I can’t believe we only have one more day in Peru. This place has changed me so much. When we went to Machu Picchu yesterday, and did our presentations, I was so nervous for mine. But everything went well. A lot of people cried during their presentations. So many feelings! I am so tired of digging out rocks from the soccer field that we are working on. Every few days we come back and dig more rocks up because they keep laying new layers of dirt down. I heard we have a long layover in Lima, but I also heard they have a nail salon there. That’s a good thing because my nails are filthy. I can’t wait to see everyone soon!!!

From: Meriel
Hey everybody! It is hard to believe that today is our last day in Peru. I don’t want to leave, but at the same time I do. I’m going to miss this place so much. Yesterday we went to Machu Picchu. It was AMAZING!!!!! It was so cool to walk around in the city and see where they took spiritual baths, and to see the king’s quarters. This trip has gone by so fast. I’m going to miss my host family, all the beautiful green mountains, wonderful village, and people. Can’t wait to see you all!!!!

From: Gabbi <3
Hey you all!!!! Yesterday we went to Macchu Picchu. It was incredible. I’ve seen it in pictures before and had always dreamed I would see it. Honestly, it was a dream-come-true; It was spectacular. It was hard to wrap my mind around the idea that I was at one of the seven wonders of the world. After our tour of Macchu Picchu, we presented our presentations. It was a very emotional time because we all realized that our trip was coming to an end. I have had such an amazing time here and I will miss this place. Lots of us cried (including me) because we love it here and we don’t want to leave. I’m so exited to come home but so sad to leave. Wes, Mom and Daddy,  I think you will like your presents!!!! I love you guys.See ya’ll soon!!!

From: Hanna M.
Hello! Machu Picchu yesterday was amazing! I had a very good time exploring one of the 7 wonders of the world with my good friends. I have gotten very close with some people I had no idea existed (some 7th graders) and people I never expected to be friends with. I haven’t been sleeping too well because of Katie’s weird sleep noises, been a little homesick and I’ve gotten a bad cold but nothing has been stopping me from having a blast! I will miss my host family dearly but am ready to go home and see you all. I have many little gifts for you all that I think you will enjoy. The work at the schools is going well and the progress we have made is unbelievable! I love and miss you all. I am very excited to come back and tell all the amazing stories my friends and I have created. Yes, Ali, I did get your sweater. Lily, I miss you tons and I hope Brit sent you that message for your birthday. I’m sorry that I missed it but I hope we can celebrate when I get back.

From: Anna Sophia Williams
Hey people. Yesterday, we went to Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the
world. It was beautiful! Right now we are at  school working. Most of us have stuffy noses. I am really excited to go home but really sad to leave Peru. I miss you all back at home. I have gotten to know people SO much better. Bye. J

From Geneva
Hey Everybody: I’m going to miss this place so much. I love coming outside in the mornings, seeing the huge green mountains and walking down the beautiful stone streets. And I’m really gonna miss hanging out with all the friends I have made. I have gotten really close to my home stay  family,  but I do miss everybody at home. And I never have I craved a burger more in my life. I can’t wait to see everybody, (and listen to some Beyonce) Love you all, Geneva

From: Daniel C.
Hi Everyone:  I can’t believe it is our last day in Peru. We are finishing the soccer field at the local school. In the afternoon, we are eating Guinea Pig! We have had so much fun and we will miss all the people we have met. The people here are so nice and they were very welcoming. I’m really going to miss my home stay. They have been so great and kind. I have really enjoyed this trip, learned a lot and done a lot of work in the community. See you guys soon, Daniel
From: Will K.
I am having a great time. We went to Machu Picchu yesterday. And it was freakin’ awesome.  We touched forty clouds and I felt like water. Today is our last day of the trip. I am missing my home, but I never want to leave. The thought of school is making me cringe. I can’t even fathom the thought of leaving here. I will definitely come back next year. Also buying Moguls from Walker is a rip-off. They aren’t even good. I can’t stand missing March Madness, but I know that Florida is going to win. Patrick Young will be the first pick in the NBA draft. Florida has cray cray swag. I am having an amazing time in Peru, and I don’t want it to end. Stay Classy SMA, Will Kosempel

From: Ryan
It turns out that the last one was not the final blog that I would do. Wassup yal?
We are at the worksite doing the finishing touches on the soccer field, and we have done some cool stuff. Being our last day here, we are trying to do as much as we can, and that means a giant feast in the soccer field. We will go shopping for most of the afternoon. I have missed most of you guys and no offence to the people I don’t. We will be on the long journey home tomorrow and that means some of the longest layover in the Lima Airport. We saw Machu Picchu yesterday and it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I have been in a heated argument with Will about how I think that Florida will lose March Madness, and he thinks that they will win. I will see soon. For the last time,Peace out SMA, Ryan

From: JRileyJ
To whom ever it may concern,
I know, I know.  I was supposed to post everyday but we couldn’t post a second time until everyone else posted at least once.  We’re busy and there isn’t much time for posting. Since I last posted, we have almost completed our service project.  I can’t believe we are leaving tomorrow. Right now we are finishing the soccer field.  I am very conflicted.  I would love just to lose my exit ticket from Peru but then I would also love to come home.  Everything here is so beautifully simple.  I can’t wait to tell everyone about the stories.  I have gotten so much closer with so many people.  I miss you all. Hope you all are having a great time!!! JJJJ Love, Riley

Last day - service work

Service work - last day

SMA to Machu Picchu!


Dear Home,

It is almost time to get back on the plane, and I feel like it hasn’t even been 5 days. I am starting to get a little home sick, but not much. I hope that everyone is having a great spring break! Yesterday, we went to Machu Picchu, and I loved! We had so much fun giving presentations, and watching presentations. I can’t wait to see you all and I will talk to everyone later! Remember ‘carpe diem’, which means ‘sieze the day.’ Love, Haley Aud

Hope to post a few more before the day is done! :) Students were writing but could not wait for breakfast - pancakes. The girls awoke extra early so that they could have some before the boys devoured every crumb of pancake in sight. I just saw Matthew and Will scrambling down their stairs, "Look, the girls are already at breakfast." Will and Matthew had not even changed out of their PJ's. You would think this bunch had a severe deficit of pancakes in their lives. :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Some card games

Back in Ollantaytambo from Machu Picchu

From Martha
Everyone is enjoying the market, napping or showering. I'm sorry I have no photos to share from Machu Picchu. My camera is downloading 28 amazing presentations that were delivered with thoughtfulness, a bit of nervousness and considerable emotion. These will be posted on a site after we return where parents can see, hear and download the video presentations and photos. We had a magical day. The clouds hung over this wonder of the world and weaved among the striking peaks that surround the city. We will have dinner together tonight - pizza. :) Tomorrow is the celebratory lunch after a morning finalizing the local project, and of course then playing a wild game of soccer. The celebratory meal is prepared on coals in the ground and includes potatoes, chicken and pork and more potatoes. All of our host families will be present. Tomorrow night is the final time that students eat with their individual host families. What a beautiful trip we've had! What an amazing group of students, WLS instructors and SMA chaperones. We send our love. 

Going to Machu Picchu

Don't worry about us. We had a grand Saturday. We are healthy. It's 5:00 a.m. 
and time for us to spend the day encountering the beautiful Machu Picchu. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Message Blogs

From: Will K.
After a couple days of staying in Peru, I am starting to experience some of the culture. I have been balling with the kids at Valle Segrado, and climbing ruins like a monkey. I think I had the best day on Monday. Last Monday was my birthday and I had two cakes. My host family held a party for me, and as I was posing for the cake. The little 6 year-old, Pierro shoved my face into the cake. It was a great moment with my Peruvian family. Also, we went on this adventure race. We walked all the way to the ruins, and I only fell in the sewer once. Many cows were being very disrespectful. They thought they were all that. They charged at Machu (the dog) and were being very rude to our travel group. Those cows were also talking smack about my family. I did not like those cows. The only reason that I am homesick is… I’m missing March Madness. However I did pay Coach Lemon 5 soles to give me updates from his Ipad. The Gators are gonna beat Pittsburgh’s tiny little butt. Peru has been awesome and a great time. I am so grateful to be on this trip. Oh, and the Schucking Condors are schucking awesome! Stay Classy St. Mary’s Academy,  Will Kosempel

From: Ryan F.
Sup yall,
I’m going to continue with the kind of stupid entrance. So far I have tried and failed to hang the ducking miles (Will’s stuffed Bronco) about ten times. Of all the things that I miss right now, a big hamburger, a giant hot fudge sundae and a decent piece of apple technology that is not the MacBook Air that I am writing on. Today, we will spend the day with our host family going shopping and doing other things around their household. When I get back, I must spend as much time away from Mathew and Will because I have spent so much time with them. Will has eaten almost all of my snacks and will not buy more because he will most likely continue to steal from me. Yesterday we did our own version of the Amazing Race and we finished with a perfect score of 15. Matt and Will are saying that the Cow that they passed on the way to some ruins was talking smack. I think that they have gone insane. I think that I will leave this trip with good meanings and other crazy stuff.  Peace out SMA, Ryan

From: Nick Falicia

Yesterday was mainly a work day. We first went to Valle Sagrado in the town of Urumbamba, which is a 30-40 minute drive from our usual place, Ollantaytambo. When we went there, the whole group of 28 split up into two groups. One group did the service part and the other group went to classes with the kids. There were all grades from 6th to 12th. Mr. McVie’s group and Mrs. Ashley’s group went to help paint the mural. The other half went to classes. When we weren’t paint we were playing World Cup Soccer. We chose Countries and yelled the country name when we shot the ball. It is tournament style thing. In the afternoon we went to our little school in Ollantaytambo and took out all the rocks in an open field of dirt so that we could put in grass for their new soccer field. It rained on us while we worked, also it got really muddy and eventually became really not fun. We eventually were finished and today we are spending our whole day with the homestays.  Yours Truly, From Ollantaytambo,  Nick Falicia

Heading to work

Evading Bloggers :)

From: Daniel
I have had a great first week in Ollantaytambo. We hiked up the Ollantaytambo ruins. Then, we went to the weaving Co-op where I learned how to weave a bracelet the way this culture has for over 1000 years. Later, we went to Moray, which was an ancient Incan experimental garden. Later, we went to the Salt Flats, which were large holes filled with salt. After that, we went to the Valle Sagrado school in Urubamba. We painted a mural there. In the afternoon, we had an Incan challenge, in which we had to complete 5 challenges in 2 hours. If we did well on each challenge, we got three rubber bands. Today, we finished the mural at the Valle Sagrado school. We are now working at the school to create a soccer field with nice grass. See you soon.
Love, Daniel

From Wyatt
Hi everybody. I have found that everybody here is really nice.   The little boy in our home stay tied the legs of the people by a rope and then pushed us over.  This week we went to a lot of ruins and the Ollantaytambo ruins were built to the shape of a llama. Also, Ollantaytambo is shaped like a corn.  When we went to the salt flats, the ground was white with salt.  Every one looks so happy.  Hope to see every one soon.

From Lea
Hi everybody. This week has been awesome. We went to see all of the Ollantaytambo ruins. We hiked one of them and at the very top you could see the other ruins that are shaped like a llama. I have gotten really close with my home stay family. The little boy is very cute, and it is so much fun to play with him. I have learned that it is very easy to communicate with them even though I don’t speak fluent Spanish. The parents know a little bit of English and they are very patient with us when we get something wrong. Yesterday we went to the weaving coop. We learned all about how the woman make everything. We also got to learn how to weave bracelets. It was a lot of fun. I have gotten very close with a lot of the people in my hotel. We all play card games together at night and we always have a lot of fun with each other. This trip has gone by so quickly and I am very sad to leave but I cant wait to see everybody when I get home. Lea

From Walker
Hello Everyone. I miss you guys at home mom, dad, McKinley. I can’t  believe how awesome and just stunning this place is,  I wish you guys were here to have all of the fun and experiences that I am able to enjoy .  We have done just about everything that we thought we were going to do except go to Machu Picchu. I can’t wait to get home and talk to you guys and just be able to tell you what I have learned from coming here. I hope all is well and tell Furgie  ( My dog) I love her. Love you! Walker

From Geneva

Hi everyone. Being here is one of the best things I have gotten to do. My host family is really nice and I have gotten really close with them. Yesterday and today, we went to the school and played soccer with the 4th graders. On Wednesday, we went to the weaving coop to see how they make bracelets, rugs, scarves, and hats. The culture and land is so different from what I’m used to. Everything about this place is breathtaking: the mountains, the roads, and the people. I feel at home when I’m here but everything reminds me of my family and friends. I wish you guys were here to experience this amazing journey with me. I love ya’ll and miss you.

Friday, March 21, 2014

A few more from the Ollantaytambo ruins

Books for 250 at Valle Sagrado


Painting the mural

Mas fotos

Templo del sol en Ollantaytambo

Climbing down the from the Ollantaytambo ruins

Nuestro guía cuando era niño saltaba de los muros así

Service Project

Dancing through work

Frist day at Valle Sagrado - Thursday

Starting the mural at Colegio Valle Sagrado 

Basketball at Valle Sagrado

Morning - Friday

Can't wait to eat Guinea pig

Preparing for the day

Ollantaytambo Ruins