Brent Akins in Peru – PART I
Master weaver, board member, student sponsor, and father of Mosqoy’s director – finally made a trip to Peru, to see the impact Mosqoy has had over the past six years. Here, he shares the unforgettable experiences that he and his wife Marka (also a student sponsor and Ashli’s mother) walked away with.
As I started to put together this blog about our trip to Peru, Marka handed me her notes. Here are a few samples of her words: “amazing, rewarding, grateful, privileged, immensely positive…” To say we had a life-reaffirming experience would not be an exaggeration.
Halfway through the trip, Ashli asked what the highlight was so far. Was it the weaving lesson, the dinner with the students, Moray/Maras, Ollantaytambo, the food, the plants & birds, the ruins, or the people? We couldn’t answer. Every day was amazingly equal to the day before. And we hadn’t even seen Machu Picchu yet!
The best way to start, I guess, is chronologically.
PART ONE: Food, Ruins, and Bienvenidas
We were greeted at the Cusco airport with a big bunch of gladiolas in Ashli’s arms, two mugs of coca tea from Mosqoy students Rolando and Ebhert, and smiles and hugs all around. None of us could believe we were finally in Peru. Six years of Ashli’s going back and forth, always coming back with amazing stories, made Peru a priority we had to fulfill.
The first night at El Albergue (our home away from home for two weeks in Ollantaytambo), we celebrated our 33rd anniversary with Ashli in the hotel’s remarkable restaurant. Incredible food, much of it grown on their own farm. And over the next two weeks we would completely exhaust the menu! The people at El Albergue went out of their way to make us feel at home, often creating meals for us that weren’t even on the menu. I still think they have the best coffee in town, too.
Over the next few days, we acclimatized ourselves to the altitude and new surroundings, explored Ollantaytambo and met the Ponce Meza family, where Ashli lives while in Peru. It was obvious how much they had welcomed Ashli into their family, and it was an indication of how generous and hospitable the people are in the Sacred Valley. Right away, they gave us dinner at their house with the whole family – Ruben, Lourdes, and their 3 kids, Ruben, Ruby, and Nelson. (see photo)
We also explored the surroundings. In addition to the Ollantaytambo ruins, we made a trip with Ashli and Mosqoy’s volunteer, Katheryn, to the ancient garden terraces of Moray and the salt mines of Maras.
TO BE CONTINUED…