After our cute evening round the fire with scrabble, pizza and also a game of dominos designed for four year olds, we were met at our hotel at 6.30am by our guide, who walked with us the short distance to the train station. Our PeruRail train to Machu Picchu left at 6.45am and it was actually a really pleasant journey, despite the early start. The seats were big and comfy, there were refreshments on board and we were all very excited. (Also because it all felt very Disney like, with the magic train full of excited people, with Disney commentary the whole way through) There were also huge windows on the roof, so as the train made it’s way up. we could see the vast mountains towering over us.
When we arrived, we actually weren’t at Machu Picchu but at Aguas Calientes, the town below it and from here we had to join a massive queue, going all the way up the street, for busses to the inca site. Finally we arrived and there were crowds and crowds of people hustling and bustling to get in, all just as excited as us. We checked into our hotel, dumped our bags off there with the staff and headed into the site. It’s quite a walk up steep steps through the trees until you actually get to a point where you can see the postcard shot of Machu Picchu, but being the fit fam that we are, we were there quickly and found ourselves a perfect spot for photos.
We spent the rest of the morning with our tour guide, being shown around the whole inca site, learning about customs and temples and uses of different rocks, nooks and crannys. It was an absolutely incredible tour and we all felt we knew the ins and outs of Machu Picchu personally.
At about 12pm we headed out of the site to say goodbye to our tour guide and to relax after a strenuous morning. We had a lovely lunch in our hotel (which is literally right next door to Machu Picchu), actually went to our beautiful rooms and just relaxed as the crowds passed through the inca ruins. At about 3.30pm we went back into the site and this time were even more pleasantly surprised. The millions of people had left or were leaving for the day and we were left with a wonderfully empty Machu Picchu. As a family we explored the whole site once more, playing games, running up inca built steps, climbing to different points and trying to find something undiscovered by anyone else. Eventually we were exhausted, and we’d exhausted Machu Picchu enough for one day. Back at the hotel we had some drinks, played scrabble, relaxed, had a really scrummy dinner in the hotel restaurant, and then called it a night for our early start the next day.
On this morning our alarms went off at 5am and because we’d had such a lovely nights sleep on ridiculously comfy beds, we were all up, ready and rearing to go. We had an early morning snack before joining the queue from the first earliest train of people, to get into the site. The gates to Machu Picchu opened at 6am and we ran in, finding ourselves the perfect spot to watch the sun rise. We discussed where we thought it would rise, waited, discussed some more, blocked people who were trying to be sneaky from stealing our space and waited some more… For half an hour until the tiniest bit of sun light, lit up the very tip of the opposite mountain. At about 7.30, an hour and a half after the sun was meant to rise, a bright light rose from the v in the mountains and slowly and gradually lit up the whole of the already stunning inca site, one wall at a time. It was spectacular, we were hit by the sunlight before Machu Picchu, and watched it to light up as we stood glowing in the newly risen sun. Once it was risen, our early morning start was complete and obviously we went back to the hotel for the most important part of the day… Breakfast.
After we were refuelled and once again ready to explore, we were back in Machu Picchu and this time with a mission: to hike all the way up to the Sun Gate. (This is the entrance that I came through when I completed the inca trail, and gives you an absolutely stunning view of the inca site, from above and far away). It was a strenuous, hour long uphill hike but it was SO worth it. When we got there we were blown away, not only by the sun gate itself (which was beautiful) but by the views we received of Machu Picchu. Obviously the journey down didn’t take us as long as it was down hill, and soon our time at Machu Picchu was over – absolutely incredible for the second time.















After bussing back down to Aguas Calientes, we found a cute little lunch restaurant right next to the train track and opposite a live Peruvian band. We are our lunch absolutely defend by the music as we soon discovered how loud it was, but still all buzzing off our Machu Picchu experience. This was then made even better back on the train as one of the train hosts dressed up in a creepy traditional animal costume while loud Peruvian music echoed through the train and he picked people to dance with him down the isles. Then the other two train hosts and hostesses performed a fashion show of different alpaca clothing, down the isle of the train, while we all clapped and wolf whistled, it was all very bizarre but we were absolutely loving it.
We were met off the train by our non English speaking bus driver, who, when discovering that I speak Spanish, chatted to me the whole two hour journey home. He was very sweet but by the time we arrived back in Cusco, my brain hurt from all the translating!
We went back to Uchu, the hot stone steak restaurant, so that mummy could experience it herself and it was absolutely delicious as normal. We were all completely exhausted and tired and drained that we collapsed into bed, just after quickly setting an alarm for 5.30am the next morning.

The alarms went off and we dragged ourselves out of bed, sleepily packed and headed to the airport for a flight to Lima followed by a flight to Quito in Ecuador. It literally took up the whole day, especially since our transfer bus didn’t arrive for an hour and a half after we arrived and so, back at the hotel we relaxed, played scrabble, enjoyed our free drinks, and then went out for a delicious meal in the Quito theatre restaurant.

So here I am in Ecuador, a new country for me, and this time I didn’t have to bus here, cross boarders by foot, or stay in a hostel. We flew, are staying in a beautiful little quaint hotel and are all tucked up in bed ready to have a good night’s rest before our city tour tomorrow.

Sacred Valley with the fam!

When we started our journey to Machu Picchu three days ago, we were up at 6am, ready and waiting with one bag between the five of us and warm jackets. On the way to our first destination, we pulled over at the side of the road so that everyone could take in the breathtaking view of the whole of the Sacred Valley and the Urubamba river.

Our first stop was huge inca terraces, we drove along windy roads all the way up the mountain and when we got to the top, as we’d gotten up so early, there was absolutely no one there. I actually had already been there on my inca trail tour but this time it was so peaceful and calming as literally we were the only people there.


We walked around the vast terraces until we got to an inca cemetery. If you didn’t have a guide you literally wouldn’t know, to the obtuse it just looks like a mountain with a few nooks and crannys, but on closer inspection you can see that they’re actually millions of perfectly formed holes in the wall that were tombs for the incas. Unfortunately when the Spanish invaded, they looted the whole cemetery and took all gold and pottery that was buried with the incas. We then climbed all the way to the top of the high inca ruins (so exhausting) to take in another view of the sacred valley.

On the way back down into Pisac village, as the inca ruins we’d just visited were filling up with bus loads of tourists, we stopped off at a local Pisac market, filled with silver factories. Peru is famous for the silver that it mines, and Pisac is becoming famous for it’s silver. Obviously we went into a little silver shop and met the owner and creator who showed us the skilful and very fiddely way that they sand the rocks down to the perfect size for the bracelet or pendant template.
As our bus climbed back up the mountain, on the thinnest and scariest roads, we began to see the huge valley below us. However this time it wasn’t a normal valley, it was filled with huge salt pans! It is so bizarre to have salt pans in the middle of the mountains but this is because for a bizarre reason, the river running down this particular mountain is salt water! The incas believed the sun god cursed them with the salt water but they soon realised it was a blessing, and created vast salt pans to collect salt at different thinkness and colour.



We then arrived at our lunch spot, it was about 2pm and we’d been driving all over the mountains all day. There was a tiny little market set up and then at the back was a wooden table and bench which we sat at with our boxes lunches of sandwiches, vegetables and lots of little snacks. All the snacks we didn’t eat, daddy then gave to all the little children in the market and they were so happy!
We literally walked about two minutes on from the market and came across three huge circular terraces, spiralling down to a much lower centre. There were three and the smallest and medium ones hasn’t been restored so the terraces were falling down in sections and the grass had over grown. Henry and I ran down to the centre of the smallest and back up and it took us about 2 minutes max. We then went over the biggest which was absolutely huge. These spiralling terraces are used to acclimatise plants as it’s much colder right in the centre in the middle than in the upper spirals. We climbed down the huge spiral, using the floating steps that the incas built into the walls of the terraces (these are surprisingly far apart, considering incas are very small people) and when we got all the way to the bottom, we had to trek back up to the very top – this took a lot longer than five minutes!
That was the end of our sacred valley tour and when we arrived at our hotel there was a pen with a family of llamas in, which obviously amused us a lot!


We then sat in big comfy seats around a roaring fire, ordered pizza and played scrabble for the rest of the evening.


Exploring Cusco… WITH THE FAM!

Yesterday we woke up very early and Charlie and Hen were super jet lagged after 24 hours travelling and then the 6 hour time difference. Juliet came and met us at the hotel for breakfast, which was amazing – so different to our 1sole croissant or quinoa cereal we’ve been having. There was scrambled eggs, sausages, pancakes, fruit, cereal, juice, yoghurt, croissants, cake, everything you can imagine and we were in heaven. We then set out into the town to explore. Juliet and I thought that there would be a big parade in the plaza like every Sunday but this week because of the independence parades all through the week, there wasn’t one – so annoying because I wanted to show my family the hilarious marching. Instead we walked up to San Blas, which Juliet and I have only seen in the miserable weather, and it was clear blue sky so we had a wonder around the markets, art galleries, water features and took in the beautiful view before having a wonder down alpaca poo alley, then swiftly turning back around.



We then took the family down to Avenida del Sol so that they could see the sun temple that later we would explore and just generally see a little bit more of Cusco, a sunnier side. We went to the cute cafe that Juliet and I love and the family tried empañadas, fresh Peruvian juice, and Hen spoke a teeny bit of Spanish at everyone’s pushing (I’ll definitely be making him speak more!). Then we headed back to the hotel to get our things together for our afternoon tour.
At 1.15pm we were met by our tour guide Alcinda who was taking us on a private tour of all the amazing ruins, artefacts and architecture of Cusco. At first we drove up the windy mountains (I route I know very well) to Saqsaywoman but instead of visiting the big white statue of Jesus, we went to a huge fort with two sides and a huge landing strip of green land. It was a fort built by the incas and although the incas used it for worshipping – it was the place where the Spanish and the Incas fought.

We then visited ruins of the puma temple, a place of worship for the incas, then the snake temple. This just looked like a huge rock but there was an opening inside it leading to a cave with a huge worshipping table inside. Next was the water temple, with huge terraces and the incas had redirected the river flow through it, so there was a natural waterfall all the way down. There were two men practically standing inside the last fountain with scrubbing brushes, cleaning the fountain. We then climbed up the the highest point which we discovered was the same height as my sky dive! It’s crazy to think that when I jumped out of that plane at 1400ft I felt so high and Australia was so far below me, and here I was at the same height standing on a hill!



On our way back down the mountain to Cusco, we stopped off at the huge white Jesus statue for a quick selfie before jumping back in the bus. Our next stop was the temple of the sun, the huge temple that we’d eaten lunch infront of. Our tour guide told us all about it and it’s importance to the incas, we climbed the steep inca built stairs and saw how the incas pieced together the huge blocks to form a wall. Once she pointed it out, it was also clear to see where the Inca building stopped and the Spanish built on top. We saw inca communication channels dug on the floor of the rooms and also windows to place statues and mummy’s. It was also incredible to see how every window is built to exactly the same size, even though they are just holes within rocks, and some of the rocks have over 14 corner, the incas really did piece their walls together like a puzzle.
Our next stop was the huge cathedral in the plaza de armas. It is Spanish built and is a huge Catholic cathedral with two churches within. I’m not sure what I thought about the catholic touch on the church, with every item filled with gold and huge statues of Jesus covered in blood. What was interesting was that the cathedral in cusco is the only Catholic Church or building to have mirrors everywhere, which is normally something forbidden in the catholic culture. We also saw a huge painting of the last supper, but Peruvian style with guinea pig on a plate in the middle and Chica as their drink instead of wine! We also saw a huge display of gold and silver with a huge Jesus figure on top that on the Incan new year on the 21st of June is normally carried around the plaza. However, the clever Peruvians have glued the whole display to a car, covering the car, and placed the huge Jesus and the vase for the wine on top, meaning that someone can just drive the car out of the cathedral and around the plaza – hilarious. After the cathedral we went back to the hotel to have a relax before our evenings activities. We planned to meet Juliet and the Museo del Pisco for drinks before dinner. When we arrived we were greeted by the same hilarious man from last time who kissed each of us on the hand (obviously not the boys) and told us he would make the evening special. We ordered our cocktails and a few nibbles and then one of the pisco connoisseurs came over and told us that as it was pisco day, they were going to give us a pisco tasting and tell us a bit about pisco. The cocktails were already very strong and after trying four different straight piscos, everyone was feeling the alcohol! We then went to our restaurant for the evening for a meal of Peruvian food, nearly everyone had alpaca, before collapsing into bed back at the hotel.



The Big REUNION!!!

Yesterday when I woke up I was so excited as it was the day I was going to see my family! Juliet and I went for our very last breakfast in Basilica and this time even broke the norm and had a quinoa cookie as well as our croissants. We then went back to the house to finish up my packing when Horti arrived to say goodbye. She then helped us get a taxi and I said goodbye to Mariscal Gamaras and hello to my new HOTEL. Juliet then went back to the house and she wanted her reunion with my family to be at dinner, so I checked in and enquired as to whether the rooms were ready. I must have looked so bizarre as I was literally pacing backwards and forwards in the hotel lobby, to keep checking if a taxi had arrived with my family in it. My check in actually took ages and soon I went to find out what was going on, I discovered that only one room was ready and after explaining that that was fine, I just wanted to dump all my belongings there, I got my key and a porter picked up all my bags… just as my family arrived!!!! He quickly dropped the bags and I ran to the door to hug everyone and say a huuuuuuge hello after 6 months away. It was so nice to see them and literally within minutes it felt as if id never even left them.
We had a briefing by our tour guide for the next few days, the rest of the Parrott clan checked in, we headed to the room to dump our things and then went for a drink and present opening ceremony for both daddy’s birthday and all of the presents that I’ve got everyone while travelling. For daddy’s birthday, as I know he gets really bad altitude sickness, I bought him lots of coca things! (Making sure he knows it’s actually illegal to take them back to England so they’ve got to be used here!) including, coca tea, coca chocolate, coca sucky sweets and some Florida water which is this strong smelling liquid that you rub on your hands and smell and it stops you feeling sick. Then it was other presents including jewellery, a crocodile hunter DVD, scarves, tee shirts, alpaca jumpers for the whole fam, some silly presents, a beautiful (if I say so myself) table cloth and a tapestry that I bought off a cute little lady on the reed islands. It was so so nice to see them and they were all so happy with their gifts, apart from the fact that Henry my little brother is not little AT ALL any more, he’s actually a lot taller than me (!!!) nothing has changed.

I was so happy I couldn’t stop hugging them and we all went off to the room to get our things so I could show them Cusco!
First stop was obviously lunch and where else to take my family than Jacks Cafe! We queued up outside the cafe and of course the queue went down quickly as the staff are quick and the chefs are fab! We got seated on a very small table and because of the language barrier we ended up with a table filled with water bottles and no space for food! But of course we did actually order food and as expected for Jacks, it was absolutely delicious, big smiles and full tummy’s all round!
We then headed towards the plaza as the sun came out and everyone was amazed by how beautiful the plaza is and the surrounding mountains. I showed them my favourite streets and places to buy alpaca scarves (which ofcourse we bought loads of!)



We then headed back to the hotel for a snooze, as my family had been travelling for over 24 hours and I’d given them a very full on afternoon.
For dinner Juliet and I had planned down to a tee what we wanted to happen. We’d booked the table for 7pm and planned that Juliet would be there early to check that everything was ready and waiting. We arrived at the table, set with 6 champagne glasses and a Julie waiting to see everyone. It was such a lovely meal, everyone chatting and happy. As requested we had specially prepared tapas to share and to start with and then all of our main meals (Juliet and I normally have the smallest dinner so we felt as if we would explode), followed by an amazing desert. The desert was again specially created by the restaurant on our request, a huge two levelled chocolate brownie cake, topped with vanilla ice cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce and for added excitement, a candle on the top and we all sang happy birthday to daddy as I missed his special day. It was a great evening and an absolute fab end to my first day with the fam.



Independence Day parade in Ccorao!

Yesterday when we arrived in Ccorao, I knew my family were at the airport about to board a plane to see me – which is very, very exciting. There were only three children already at El Kinder when we got there, it was the day of the independence parade in ccorao and two of the children were dressed in army outfits, the other little girl as a little princess with a beautiful white dress on, a tiara and even a magic wand.
Eventually the other children started arriving, most if them princesses and army men (although one little girl did dress up as the cutest army girl) and then for the children that didn’t have fancy dress, the teachers were ironing nurse and doctors uniforms for them. Then it was mine and Juliet’s turn to help out, we painted Peruvian flags on both of every child’s cheeks and even our own! Then all the little girls needed trencers (plaits) in their hair, two French plaits as the head teacher stated they should have, so I helped out the mums to braid all the little girls hair. Soon they were ready to go and we all walked through Ccorao village, children, parents, teachers and Juliet and me, and lined up waiting for our time in the parade to march through. Juliet and I were at the back with the little princesses, taking photos and twirling them and they were all holding our hands. One little princess, Ester from my class, had worn an orange dress instead of the necessary white one and it was so so pretty but the teachers still made her put a nurse uniform over the top and march with the doctors – Juliet and I felt so bad for her! Then we realised we were needed at the front, we thought maybe it was to keep the little soldiers in order and make sure they were okay carrying the flags, but actually it was because we had a place in the parade!!! The four teachers and us lined up in two lines of three and had I march up ahead of all of the children – Peruvian style marching with straight legs and arms! Juliet and I couldn’t keep straight faces, everyone in the village was watching and taking photos and cheering, the oldest pupils from the school were playing music in the live band (which was fab, they were twirling their drum sticks and doing all sorts of tricks!) all the teachers had suits on and Juliet and I were in our volunteering clothes (hoodies and jeans) with a splodgy Peruvian flag painted on our cheeks, giggling to ourselves! Once we’d passed through the crowd, we waited for all the children to also pass through and they were so great, all concentrating so hard on making sure they were marching properly and showing off to their parents! All the little army people had fake guns and belts and big hats and that didn’t even faze them! Soon our turn in the parade was over, and because I had my big camera with me and had been taking photos, the parents all thought I was the professional photographer or something and all of them were pushing and shoving and fighting to force their child in front of me with a fake smile so that I could take a photo of them! Then there were pictures with their older siblings when their turn in the parade was over, pictures with the teachers, pictures with cousins, pictures with parents, so many pictures!!! They were all practically throwing their dressed up children in front of me – I can’t forget to email the pictures to the school or they’ll be so disappointed!!
Unfortunately the end of the parade also meant the end of the day, our last day as volunteers and we had to say goodbye to the children who didn’t understand why we were being so affectionate, as we’re not coming back. My last hug was to Sandra, my favourite little princess. I was talking to her mum, who is so lovely and bought me a Peruvian independence rosette badge as I had given mine to Sandra, and she asked when I was coming back and even she looked so sad when we explained that we’re not! Hopefully in the future we will be able to but for now, those goodbyes are forever.



















Juliet and I then enjoyed our last lunch together in Los Perros, one of our favourite restaurants in cusco. Then the heavens opened and it started absolutely pouring, so we did what basically every backpacker in cusco was doing and headed to Starbucks for a warm drink on a big cosy armchair with our books. Eventually it was time to head back to the house and attempt to start packing (it’s never ever going to all fit) before a last (very emotional dinner) in Basilica (we thought yesterday was our last but it wasn’t) and then back to the house where Juliet have my nails and very needed manicure, with a film and then late night chatting until we both eventually fell asleep.

This morning I haven’t even attempted to keep packing, it’s an impossible task and breakfast was very needed before we start to shove everything into my backpack. It doesn’t even seem real that in a couple of hours I’m going to be reunited with my family but I CANNOT WAIT, and I know as soon as I get into that taxi I’m going to want to scream. They’re on a plane now but land very soon and then all our days will be made when we’re REUNITED!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEK!!!.

A day off… To be extremely busy!

This morning after another yummy 1sole (20p) breakfast in Basilica and some facetiming with the family, Juliet and I headed into main Cusco with our shorts and teeshirts on, ready for the sun. We had a lot to do and first started off with visiting the restaurants that we’ve booked for my families arrival and made sure that everything was still booked (you never know with South America) and that they are expecting us. We then headed to Avenida del Sol with the intention of sitting out on the big grass area, underneath the temple of the sun and soaking up the actual sun… Until we saw the “stay off the grass sign…” So found a nice spot on a park bench with some freshly made juice and people watched massively, so intrigued by everyone’s ridiculous and obsessive amount of poses in front of the temple.



Then it was time to head back to the plaza and meet up with the professoras from El Kinder. We bumped into them by the fountain, right in the middle of the plaza, despite the huge crowds of people and massive school parades going on for Independence Day, and they took us to a chicken restaurant for a thank you meal. It was so lovely to be able to chat to them properly, get to know them and tell them how much we’ve enjoyed volunteering at their kindergarten. We had the biggest lunch of chicken, chips and salad, which was their treat as a way to say goodbye and thank you! We were not expecting it at all, we just thought we were having lunch because it was a day off and were very grateful.
After lunch Juliet and I went back into the plaza as it was a beautiful day and we haven’t actually been able to have a very necessary photo shoot in front of all the tourist attractions and beautiful architecture… So that’s exactly what we did!






On our way back to the house we passed an old man in an alley way playing the wooden pipes really well, he had a small red bucket in front of him with no money in and Juliet and I felt so bad for him. So we stopped in our tracks, went back, listened to him for a bit before giving him 2soles into his little box. As we were walking away we saw him take the money out of the box and into his pocket! Juliet said she was outraged, it was so funny! The old man had tricked us into thinking he’s not been given any money when actually he’s been pocketing it! We’ve both never given money to buskers before and won’t be again!
When we got to our laundry shop, there was a note on the door saying she was going our for thirty minutes, but no mention of the time she left and obviously (knowing our luck) we waited for thirty minutes before she returned… We’d just missed her. However, we collected all of our beautifully clean clothes and were so happy when we unpacked them all at the house… Until we saw the green tags, stapled into every item of clothing – and I mean every item, each sock, each pair of knickers, every single individual item… And it took us about an hour to unpick them all!! Then we did our daily work out, until Juliet got bored and practised her disguise for when she meets her family so they don’t recognise her. It was absolutely hilarious and we both practically wet ourselves laughing until it was time for dinner, and here we are! Our last vegetable sandwich of our trip – how emotional.


Dia Del Logro

Yesterday at El Kinder, it was the Dia Del Logro 2014 where after the mornings lessons, the parents of the children come into the kindergarten and watch a show of the children presenting their work, singing and showing what they’ve learnt.

It’s quite bizarre as only some of the children from each class are chosen to talk about work and read through things that they have learnt, however all the children sing together. After the mornings lessons, which were filled with busily deciding who was saying what and practising before 11am, the parents showed up and all of the children, Juliet and I brought the chairs out onto the grass in the middle for the parents, while the teachers and then Juliet and I as well quickly stuck lots of newly perfected work and drawings all over the outside of the building. The day started with all of the parents and children singing the national anthem and then the anthem of cusco along to a stereo player, while the head teacher, Maria del Carmen, sang into the crackling, awful microphone. Then she did a speech about what was to come and passed the microphone over to the first teacher who introduced the youngest class. They all came up and sang a song about the different regions of Peru and then a few of them stayed to show what they’ve learnt. Juliet and I found it all a bit weird, they were a little bit like performing monkeys as the teacher would say, “we are now going to demonstrate awareness of size” then would ask the child to point at the biggest then the smallest then the middle on whatever drawing was stuck up. The child then got a round of applause and it was the next ones turn.





Then it was the second class, Juliet’s class, who all sang a song in Quetua, the language of the village, which all the parents were laughing at so apparently it was a comical song! And then once again a few children were chosen to talk through what they’d learnt. By the third child of this group, a lot of the children, and even parents, had got very bored and lots of the children had gone off to the playground to play and some of the parents we’re even chatting away! Juliet and I were literally sitting with our hands in our heads!

Then it was my class, I was actually very impressed by them because although they are the oldest and going to school next year, they hadn’t had any practise for what they were going to stand up and do. Maria del Carmen, the teacher, had been away the day before and so in the hour before the parents all arrived, some of them were just told what they were going to talk about. Ayde, a very sweet little girl had to stand up and talk all about the different regions of Peru, what animals live there, what food and what clothes people wear in each region! She obviously has listened a lot in class when Maria talks about it because she knew a lot! Then Renzo stood up, dressed in traditional independence army clothes (so sweet) and talked about the history of Peru (how he knew it all I have no idea!). Then Carmen Rosa sang a song about ducklings who drowned when they went swimming so the moral of the story is only ducks can swim not ducklings (don’t ask, they have some very weird learning techniques) and then finally, Favio stood up and talked about the solar system, he talked for ages and while I’ve been volunteering the solar system has not been brought up once, so he clearly knows about this all by himself!!



Then my class sang their two songs before all the children were given flags (well those children whose parents hadn’t already left and taken them with them) and they sang their favourite song “mi bandera es Bonita” (my flag is pretty) a patriotic song about the Peruvian flag, while waving them madly.




Los Niños

I just want to start my blog today by saying a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to papa Parrott, I’m so sad I couldn’t be there for the birthday celebrations today but I’m glad you had such a lovely day and evening and I can’t wait to see you on Saturday, in… FOUR days!


P.s the wifi is finally working well enough to upload pictures and so my blog from yesterday is now full of them!

Today at El Kinder, it was our last proper day as assistant teachers as the next few days there are different activities and events scheduled, leading up to the children’s holiday. After starting their day with marching round the garden, they split into their classes to start their lessons. My class’ teacher wasn’t actually here for the start of the day and so along with the actual assistant teacher, I gave out the children’s work books and got them started with their patriotic colouring and learning about the Peruvian flag. They’re not a stupid bunch and were finished very quickly and with no other work set, they were free to grab some puzzles off the shelves and basically play for the rest of their lesson. Soon it was break time and while Juliet and I sat in he sun, we were bombarded by all of the children hugging us, and kissing us and telling us just how much they loved us! We’re really going to miss them. Soon enough though, they always get bored and run off to play and only a few are left. Along with lots of the girls in my class who always play hairdressers with my hair, it’s always the same two who are left with me, Sandra and Rayli.

This is Sandra:


She is a four year old little girl, with an absolutely huge smile. She is always the first child to run over and hug me at the start of the day, she thinks my feet are an ideal seat, she’s always dressed in pink, super friendly and obsessed with taking photos and then looking back at them! And although I shouldn’t be saying it, I’m probably going to miss her the most once the volunteering is over.

This is Rayli:



Rayli is also four years old and quite small for his age, he doesn’t really talk… Ever and is violent towards the other children and even teachers if they don’t do what he wants or likes. And it’s Rayli’s story that has probably touched me the most while I’ve been volunteering. He lives in Ccorao with his mum and doesn’t have a dad, however his mum works in Cusco, which is forty minutes away. El kinder starts at 9am and ends at 1pm, Rayli’s mother works much longer hours than this, meaning that in the morning, Rayli wakes up on his own and packs his dog shaped backpack full of fruit and popcorn, himself, and then walks to El Kinder, again all by himself. The children receive breakfast at El Kinder at about 11am, normally it’s milk and biscuits, they don’t get lunch. At home time Reyli then walks home alone, or sometimes one of the other mums who lives close walks with him, his mum doesn’t get home until the evening. I think the reason he doesn’t talk is because he has no one to talk to, and doesn’t know how to interact with the other children for the same reason, he has no one to interact with at home. Sometimes he doesn’t even come into El Kinder so he must spend the while day alone. Last Thursday he fell over on the patio and hit his nose which was bleeding everywhere, he didn’t come into the kindergarten on Friday and on Monday when he arrived he still had dried blood all over his face, no one had cleaned it up for him. This week he’s had a serious cold AND conjunctivitis, he’s just such a sweet little boy but such a troubled case. While all the children sit on he floor to eat their milk and biscuits, Reyli will wander into the classroom and bring out a chair for himself to sit on. He’s hilarious, he opens his doggy backpack and will have an unbelievable amount of fruit and popcorn in it, because he packs it himself. He doesn’t match or sing, he’ll stand with the teachers in the middle and if anyone tries to stop him, he’ll hit them or lie on the floor and scream. He’ll sit on the floor if he’s right next to me and can lay his head on my knee and if he’s crying and I go over he’ll stop immediately. He always offers his fruit to everyone and despite not talking, he’s actually very polite. One moment he’s he sweetest little boy and the next he’s the devil child and I’ll definitely miss him so much too! I just hope his whole home situation gets a lot better.

For lunch today, Juliet and I went to Presada, the yummy vegetarian restaurant and had an extremely healthy meal, before coming to Basilica for a cake! (It works out evenly that way)


This morning Juliet and I had breakfast in our cafe before heading back to the house to pick up all the ingredients for our FIESTA at El Kinder. This included… Popcorn, mashmallows, coca cola and… GLOBOS! (Balloons). While the children practiced their marching, national anthem singing and then went into their classrooms for a short lesson, Juliet and I cooked popcorn in a huge pan, blew up hundreds of balloons until we practically passed out (it’s very hard in the altitude!) and set about making party bowls for all the children.




Once the lessons had finished and Juliet and I had managed to tackle all the children away from the door so that we could get them to sit down, we picked three of them to help us (they were so so happy by this) and served out the bowls of biscuits, popcorn, marshmallows and the cups of coca cola. Obviously the children then became VERY hiper, with the mix of sweet food, coca cola and the music that was playing from the huge stereo, they were all extremely happy! Especially with the marshmallows as they’ve never had them before and absolutely LOVED them. Soon it was time for the balloons to come out, once again the children tried to break into the room where we’d stored them but the stereo was in the way and Juliet and I were batting them right into the middle of the garden and all of the children were running after them, screaming, trying to get one of their own and then not letting any one touch it. It was absolutely hilarious to watch and also so exciting as the children were literally so so happy, they kept shouting GLOBOS GLOBOS!!!







Soon the balloons started popping which was absolutely hilarious. Juliet and I thought it could be a problem but once the children had got over the shock of the first few balloons, they found it really funny and laughed at whoevers balloon was the next victim. Those with balloons left kept a close eye on them, not letting anyone else near them incase they popped too! Juliet went over to a little girl, Nicole, to start playing with her balloon and popped it! The little girl ran away crying!!! It sounds so awful but it was so funny at the time as Juliet literally only touched it once and swore never to touch a balloon again!!!

The children were absolutely thrilled and so were we.

It was then photo time and the moment Juliet and I got our cameras out, the children all gathered round to show off their balloons and their biggest smiles and silly faces.




When it was home time, those children with balloons still alive, proudly ran over to their parents to show them and then carried them all the way home. They were still so happy and excitable by the days events. One little girl, Sandra, who had been so fixated on my camera and taking millions of photos, hadn’t realised that her balloon had been taken home by another child in all the excitement. Soon most of the children had gone and the minute she realised that along with the other niños, her balloon was also gone, she started wailing and sobbing and wouldn’t stop! We had to promise her that we’d bring her another present tomorrow just to stop the noise! It goes to show how important a simple thing like a balloon is to a little girl…


Homemade Sunday

With a day of sunbathing in the park with a picnic planned for yesterday, Juliet and I were very disappointed when we woke up to cloudy weather. Instead we made the most of a lazy day to relax. We did exactly what we’d do on a Sunday morning at home… And stayed in bed. Eventually we really did need to get up, had breakfast, and spent the next hour being seamstress’ and sewing on our Argentina badges to our backpacks (we didn’t realise we were going to be going there when we first bought badges).
After our exhausting hour of sewing (never again) we drew up an exercise circuit, moved the kitchen table into the corner and started our hour long home work out, including jumping jacks, press ups, sit ups, squats and many more.
Feeling very proud of ourselves and what we’d done that morning, we decided to treat ourselves to a vegetable sandwich in Basilica, where we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, reading and facetiming.
It was then time to do our supermarket shop. Since today at school is Juliet and my desperdida (goodbye party) we have to provide the party snacks for 60 kids and so stocked up on popcorn, marshmallows and coca cola. We then started buying the ingredients for our dinner of guacamole and Doritos. We bought tomatoes, and onion, a lime, the potato chips… And when we went to buy avocados, they had none. So typical! Lucky we discovered that there is another much bigger supermarket nearby and there we bought our avocados, and lots of fresh fruit for a fruit salad for desert, and headed back to the house to cook up our meal and watch a few movies.