Last week Wednesday was a great day at the orphanage. We had some additional volunteers who were there to do some landscaping and some of the boys from our brother orphanage came to help out. For the Oostburgians reading this blog, it felt a lot like Kool to be Kind, for the Whitewaterians it reminded me of Make A Difference Day. For everyone else, it was just a lot of fun. It was also the last day of two of the volunteers and they brought ice cream for everyone. It was quite the treat and the girls really enjoyed it.
On Saturday, Heidi, Katie, Natalie and I decided to check out a museum I had read about in Frommer´s called Templo de Merced. It was a really old, really beautiful religious building that has been partially turned into a museum though other parts still serve as the living quarters for monks. There was a lot of religious art work form the 15th and 16th centuries and it was interesting to see how indigenous artists depicted the religious stories. The museum also is the home of the second largest pearl in the world, which was cool. My favorite part was a set of three rooms that had been painted using all natural dyes, like berries and roots. The artist was a monk who depicted heaven, purgatory and hell in different ways.
The gardens outside of the restaurant
After lunch, we journeyed to Ollyantambo, the site of Incan ruins. Ollyantambo is one of the poorest villages in Peru and they have only recently received running water. Five years ago, they were still using water from the mountains that they would get from troughs that run through the streets.
We visited a traditional house and saw the way that most people in the Andes live. The house only had one room, in which five people lived. Oh, a lot of guinea pigs lived in it too.
The guinea pigs
The kitchen area
After visiting the house we hiked to the Ollyantambo ruins. In Incan times, this area was used as a defense post and guarded Cuzco from enemies. They aren´t as well perseved as the ruins at Machu Picchu since the Spanish discovered Ollyantambo and completely ransacked them.
After hiking through the ruins, two little girls sang for us in exchange for a propina (tip). They were really cute.I´ve been trying to get a good picture of this mountain since arriving here... I think I finally got it.
When we arrived home yesterday, we had two new people living in our house, a brother and sister from California. They seem really nice though now we have a very full house with six volunteers plus Yoni and Wendy.
On Thrusday, Katie and I are leaving for a three day/two night trip to the jungle. So I´m going to rest up these next few days in order to be healthy. This afternoon, I´m returning to the orphanage and I´m excited to start painting again.