We are here in Cusco a hodgepodge of heartbreaking globalization and ancient Inca echoes. The students are in that place of ethical predicament as the hundreds of gringos and Mexican/ hamburgers/ lasagna food stands sprinkled throughout the city provides a callous contrast to the ephemeral mystic land of the Q’ero Nation.

We walked through the grand Apu’s -mountain spirits- of the Asungate area, listening to the wild wind that came from the flutes of our Q’ero guides. The high mountain air and steep passes was no match for the magic of Q’ero music. They continued to dance and play their instruments as we marched on to the beat of the remaining 3600 Q’eros. The rolling hills looked like the backs and shoulders of great beasts bowing before the towering white peaks known as the Apus. We ate Alpaca cooked on hot rocks buried in the earth, we told stories of our lives in the flickering shadows of candle light, and we closed our eyes in meditation as the great Andean wind danced in our hair. It was one of the most incredible times I have had as a traveler and I am lucky to have shared it with my companions.

JB is Back! Erin got the group to close their eyes, during that first night in Cusco, and perform a group hug. When they opened their eyes JB was in the middle of that hug with a fresh smile on a clean shaven face. JB brings a new and bright energy to the group, at a perfect time when the wear and tear of the adventure kicks in along with the anxieties of readjusting to home life. Thanks JB’s fam for sending him back, we are lucky to have him.

So from here we are off to the almighty Machu Picchu for two days, and then back to Cusco for a night and a goodbye Peru. We will head back to Bolivia and to the high city La Paz on the fifth for some last minute shopping. For the remaining four days we will relax back at the program house Sorata. ISP presentations, reverse culture shock talks, and a lot of goodbye preparations. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this group is truly amazing, inspiring and compassionate. It will be a heart stirring last couple of weeks but we will do it together. I hope all of you out there are proud of these ten students; they’ve been through a lot.

Love to the home-land and the friends and family of our entire group.