AHS Student Ventures to Peru
Last summer Alameda High School student Andrew Zhen traveled to Peru with VISIONS Service Adventures, an international community service program for teens. Zhen was part of a group of high school students who lived in a neighborhood in Urubamba, a small city at the base of the Andes Mountains, and took part in community service projects in outlying rural villages.
The teens worked alongside local farmers in the rural village of Yanahuara to build 250 yards of cement irrigation canals. This was part of a multi-year project by VISIONS and local partners to help rural families irrigate their farms by minimizing the loss of water, a valuable resource in these remote areas. In the village of Chakkuar, the teens helped build a brick and mortar kitchen, cafeteria and bathrooms onto an existing schoolhouse.
The experience also focused on cross-cultural exchanges and outdoor excursions. The group learned about Peruvian culture during internships with local weavers, beekeepers, potters and other artisans. They also visited historic and popular sites, including the Incan ruins at Machu Picchu, Cusco’s ancient cathedrals and central plaza, and an artisan market on the mountainside of Pisaq.
“The students who attend our programs tend to be interested in trying something new, working with people on hands-on projects, and expanding who they are in some way,”said Katherine Dayton, VISIONS executive director.
VISIONS Service Adventures has been running high school and middle school volunteer travel experiences since 1989, and is well known for programs that are centered on ambitious projects in a cross-cultural setting.