Today went by in a flash and the events that took place were nothing less than impressive. We started out by loading up on the bus and heading to the pier. From the pier, we set out to spend the entire day exploring and learning about this massive lake.
The first stop on the tour was the floating islands of Lake Titicaca. We actually got to go and hang out on one of the family islands and interact with the native people. There way of life is absolutely amazing and they actually continually build there islands to stay floating on the wáter. The kids actually got a chance to dress up in their native clothes and listen to special songs performed by the family's women. After the time spent with these groups of people was up, a number of our students got to take a boat ride over to another part of the floating community in one of the hand made boats which was very neat. The total population of this community was just under 2500 people living on these islands out in the reeds of Lake Titicaca. What an awesome thing for the kids to see and compare to life back at home in Rugby.
From the floating islands, we made a boat ride, a little more than one hour, over to another major island in the lake. The Island of Taquile has a very important place in the history of the people of ancient peruvian civilization. Here the group got a chance to hike up the island to see the local way of life and also experience another true peruvian meal. We sat under make shift tents on the hill side and ate fresh vegetable soup and fresh grilled lake trout that was nothing short of amazing. During this time, we also got a chance to see the local farming practices and also had a demonstration about the symbolism of the local dress. All in all, the experience was awesome and the group really enjoyed the trip.
From Taquile Island, we made our way back to the Puno pier and eventually to the hotel. At the hotel the group continues to hang out together and it is easy to see just how much of a bond they have made while experiencing this trip together.
So, what is next? This will be my last blog entry until I am home and have a chance to sit down and reflect on the entire trip. Tomorrow we will make our way to the airport outside of Puno. We have one more Incan site to visit in the morning and then we load up and fly back to Lima at 12 noon. When we arrive in Lima, we will have a chance to check out the city a little bit more before heading to our final supper destination. After supper, flight group B will head to the airport to board their flight back to the United States. Flight group A will get to hang back with our tour director for a few more hours until they head to the airport and fly out as well.
This trip has been nothing short of amazing in every sense. These 30 students from Rugby have had a chance to experience part of the world in a very up close and personal way and I know that they will come home to share their experience of a life time with anyone who asks. In the last blog entry I make, I will put together the actual numbers of the trip to put what we did into perspective.
From Peru, adiós until we see you in North Dakota!