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Photo by Tom Pablo, South America Semester.

¡Un Sábado en Urubamba y Chinchero!

Days are seldom as fulfilling as last Saturday, where we enjoyed a day of excitement, comradery, and communal happiness. Our first destination was Chinchero, a highland pueblo situated in the middle of scenic meadows. Driving up the Sacred Valley from Urubamba, we witnessed the great artistry of Pacha Mama: Urubamba at the bottom of the Sacred Valley, peacefully tucked away among the endless gleaming Andean peaks. The mountains, the fields, the streams, the animals, all basked in the harmony of brilliant sunshine.

However, we were not here just for the views. We have come to learn the ancient wisdom of Andean weaving, a precise and ingenious art derived from hundreds of years of collective knowledge and the riches of Pacha Mama. The more obscure hues, characteristic of local textiles, were made from different all natural materials and displayed the humble and industrious nature of the Andean people as they dedicate all of their works to their Incan Ancestry and Mother Earth. The seemingly simple process is filled with complicated nuances that can only be mastered with the patience of time. Every instance I think I have grasped the basics, I discover new complications. The Master Guadeloupe and her companions would then amaze me with their wealth of knowledge and guide me through the process over and over again. As travelers, there is no greater elation than learning about cultures through precious experiences like this one.

The afternoon continued with a Dragons homestay family football (soccer) friendly. The impending rain did not quench the passion and competitive spirit between the two teams of travelers and family members. Players included Adam’s younger host brother Alejandro as well as Hamzah’s host father, who were the best players on the field. Although there were varying levels of football skill, nothing trumped the uniting spirit of community and friendship. My host uncle, Henry, and I continued the day with Basketball at the local cancha along with Abby and Hamzah. The match between us and the local high school team could only be described as intense and laughter-filled. Everyone partook in the fulfillment and satisfaction of effort, participation, and enjoyment.

Although I have to admit the day was un poco cansado, I must also say it was a day of upmost joy and growth. Diverse experiences have propelled us to new understandings. What better way to gain new perspectives than enjoying every moment possible in every activity available?