Visiting the Children of Cusco

As a traveler, I like to take my time learning about the place I’m visiting and digging past the “tourist” stuff to see the “local” side. Don’t get me wrong, I love to visit the tourist stuff on my travels, but I always want to see what more a place has to offer. One thing I absolutely love about Gate 1 Tours is they almost always have a way for you to get a local perspective of the place your visiting ( Dinner with Locals, Cooking Lessons). On this trip, I participated in every option they had including visiting a local preschool in Cusco. Shortly, before our trip Gate 1 created a partnership with a local preschool in order to help them get supplies that they need, and give back to the community. They asked all the travelers in our group to bring any items we were willing to donate with us.

For those that wanted to participate, we had the opportunity to visit the local preschool and meet the children, while dropping our donations off. I love that we had this chance while we were in Cusco, and I was surprised that more people didn’t participate.

Local Preschool

Local Preschool

This preschool was set off the main road, behind multiple homes. Most of the children had arrived by the time we came, but we could still see parents walking some of their children to the school. When you walked inside the school it was one big room. On one side they had tables and chairs set up for their main learning area. On the other side of the building they had a play area set up.

Best Buddies

Best Buddies

One of the boys arrived late, but insisted on sitting next to his best friend. One of the teachers found an extra chair, so they could sit next to each other.

Snack Time

Snack Time

The children were very shy when we first got there. The longer we stayed the livelier they became, and then we really were able to see their personalities! They were a great group of children, and their antics with each other put a smile on our faces.

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The teachers were kind enough to go over the current lessons the children were learning. From conversations with the teachers and the parents we spoke to at our dinner, there is a huge emphasis on teaching English in the school system. They want to give the children of Peru more opportunities, and English is a main factor of that. During our dinner our tour guide was telling us that it wasn’t always easy, because by a certain age the children surpass their teachers in speaking English. At that point there isn’t much more for them to do until they get university, where they are around international students and better trained teachers.

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This little boy was not shy at all! He seemed to be the most confident out of all the children, from the beginning. When it was his turn to introduce himself, he stood up, puffed his chest out and happily exclaimed ” I’am Anthony”. He then pointed to each child and named them before sitting back down. He was happy to tell us all sorts of stories while we were there.

All the donations from our group

All the donations from our group

The children really only cared about the snacks and candy that were brought, and they happily ate them while we were there. The teachers were especially happy about all the supplies we brought. I hope all the supplies we brought will help them out. This was a wonderful, eye-opening experience. It makes you happy to have what you have.

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29 Comments

  • Hung Thai says:

    Amber, I LOVE this post! I go on Gate 1 tours all the time and I love their involvement in the community. In Costa Rica, we visited a school just like the one you visited in Cusco. We all brought gifts and the children were wonderful. That was one of my favorite things that we did on that trip.

    I am starting a charitable book project and I think this story would be an excellent addition to it. Please give this a chance: http://upupandabear.com/project-alpha/ then let me know. I look forward to hearing from you!

    Thanks,
    Hung
    Hung Thai recently posted…An open invitation to travelers everywhere: Project Alpha charitable book projectMy Profile

    • aflagel says:

      Hung Thai,
      Thanks for stopping by! I was very impressed with Gate 1, and I loved how involved they were with the local community; including the fact that all the guides on our trip were locals. I’m very intrigued by your charitable book project. I will definitely take a look at it!

  • Charu says:

    Absolutely beautiful stuff here. And can understand how enriching this experience must be for you

  • Noel says:

    Sounds like such an amazing trip!

  • Eugenia says:

    Great initiative! Gate 1 tours does a really great job and visiting a local preschool in Cusco seems like a really meaningful option! Helping children is essential! As Dalai Lama said “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”Thanks for sharing such a touching post!

    • aflagel says:

      I love that quote, and it’s a great one to live by. I was very impressed by Gate 1 and all the options they had to interact with the local culture. Hopefully what we part was able to help the preschool.

  • lex says:

    my best part of this is the side were the little boy who wasn’t shy stood up to say about himself… brave little kid he is… in all.. the post is awesome and a great one…

    • aflagel says:

      He was so funny, he had us laughing! He stood up several times to let us know something and then went back to the snacks 😉

  • Krishna says:

    wow…this is very inspiring! I am visiting my home country and will be traveling there..so I am going to steal your idea and do something similar! Also loved the smiles on those cuties when they saw the gifts!

    • aflagel says:

      Aww thank you! Items that they needed are so much more afforable and available in the U.S, so I’m glad we were able to help! They especially loved the candy and treats!

  • Sheri says:

    I have never been but this is a great post that I will be sharing! Thank U

    • aflagel says:

      Thank you for stopping by . . . and for sharing! Peru is a wonderful place to visit, if you get the chance!

  • Adina Mera says:

    Great post! I, too, prefer to get to know the local stuff in addition to some tourist stuff. It’s good to mix and match in order to really get to know what a place is about!

  • candy says:

    You have changed my outlook on traveling. Your a wonderful caring person. Loved pictures of the children.

  • This sounds like such a great opportunity! My husband and myself like to see new places and try to help out along the way as well. It’s usually volunteer work for the parks but this gives us another avenue!

  • MParker says:

    The pictures were so real. I loved the read. Thank you.

  • Laci says:

    This is so amazing I have always wanted to-do something like this and I will one day when my kids are grown !

  • Joanna says:

    This is amazing! I wish I had done that when I went to Peru. I did it however in Delhi, at a school in the slums and I have arranged everything by myself, It was a hard journey, but when I met the children I couldn’t stop my tears…

    • aflagel says:

      I can imagine. We saw kids begging in the streets instead of going to school. It breaks your heart.

  • As someone who has never traveled outside of the USA I absolutely love the glimpse into how other cultures live. Thank you for sharing your experiences – they were wonderful to read!
    Meg @EveryMomDay recently posted…Easter Egg MaracasMy Profile

  • GiGi Eats says:

    What an absolutely incredible experience! I am speechless! I need to get my travel on again!

    • aflagel says:

      I’m so glad I was able to go on this trip and have these experiences. Go get your travel on!

  • What a wonderful article! I’ve never done a gate 1 tour but may have to after reading this. Thank you!

    • aflagel says:

      They are a great company, and I highly recommend them! They have independant and dependant trips. They offer some of their trips on groupon, so you can get some great deals with them.

  • shanne says:

    Much respect for what you do and jealous of you ability to travel and see such things.

  • Rhonda Swan says:

    What a touching post. Keep up the great work and live unstoppable!

  • The school system in Peru is not very developped at the moment. English is on the curriculum, but as you point out, there are no professional English teachers. Even the ones that had studied to teach English speak bad English and they usually get a job through connections. Most of the schools (especially the ones far away) work with volunteers that come for a few months and teach English.
    If you are interested in writing more about educational needs in Peru, let me know. I live in the north of Peru at the moment, where the situation is even worse.

    • aflagel says:

      Thanks for stopping by! I was only in Peru for a short time, but I loved it. I definitely need to visit again and see more of the country. I would be interested in hearing more about the need in Northern Peru.