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Peru 2011


I won’t make any excuses for how long it has taken me to put this post together. It’s been exactly a year since we went to Peru and I am so ashamed it has taken me this long. I am completely head over heels in love with this country.. for many reasons. So it takes a little bit of an emotional toll on me to have to dive my mind and my heart back into the memories of this trip and this country. I believe that is why I have put this off for so long. But here I am, ready to face it and write about this trip. I can already feel the tears forming as I type this.

If you know anything about me at all, you know how much I love Peru. I spent a big part of my life there and it has had a huge impact on my life in so so many ways. I love love the people of this country. They have the most beautiful hearts and humble attitudes. Spending time in this country changed my life so much. It is truly one of the main reasons I am always so grateful for the blessings I have in my life. Most of the people in Peru will never even come close to having what I have. And it’s a thought that will break your heart and humble your soul all at once.

Something I have always wanted to do was to share this huge piece of my heart with others. I wanted to create the opportunity for other people to be able to experience this INCREDIBLE country. I decided I would put together a trip for anyone who wanted to go. This was my very first time planning a trip for a group. I have planned many for just myself but this was a whole new experience! It was definitely super scary at times to feel so responsible for creating an adventure for others to enjoy. And I wanted so badly to make sure they not only had fun, but that their lives were changed in some way. I knew it wouldn’t be hard, because Peru just does that to you.

I set the trip date and let people know that even if they couldn’t go, if they had toys or clothes to donate to please send them our way. Thank you to all of you who donated items because we brought 7 suitcases full of toys and clothes to the orphanage! And even had stuff we had to leave behind. What an amazing blessing that was. They were so so truly grateful for such a surprise.

Seven amazing people signed up for the trip and off we all went on our 10 day adventure.

The first 4 days I had planned for us to spend with the kids at the orphanage. Growing up in Peru I was always involved with several ministries there but my absolute favorite was always the orphanage. The kids there captivate your heart and you never ever forget it. It was the obvious choice for part of our trip. I really wanted this trip to be a fun adventure. But I didn’t want it to only be the tourist things. I wanted part of it to be the real Peru, the parts most people don’t see. I wanted to allow these 7 other people to really feel what I had felt growing up in Peru. And I knew the orphanage would allow them to have their hearts captivated like mine had been so many years before. We spent our 4 days with them playing with them every moment. Reminding them that they are loved and they are precious. Children in Peru are nothing like children in America. These children will cling to you immediately. They want to hold your hand, hug you, laugh with you and never let you go. Just the simplest hug or smile makes them so happy. They don’t need gameboys or xboxs to be happy. They just want love. It will truly change your life. It breaks my heart every time I visit because I just want to take them all home and hug on them forever. These 4 days were amazing. I got to be a kid again as we taught them games like red rover, red light green light, duck duck goose. It was so much fun. It wasn’t easy to say goodbye to them. Our last day we all paid to have a bbq with them. And then that night as we said goodbye and loaded up into our van, they surrounded it and begged us not to leave. Talk about rip you to shreds. We fell in love with them and they fell in love with us. It wasn’t easy to leave. But we did and off we went on the rest of our adventure.

I wanted the other 4 days to be pure fun and excitement. So we hopped on a plane and headed to Cusco – one of the most beautiful cities in Peru. It was one of the places I lived and I knew it had to be part of our adventure. We explored the town, the churches, the food. We stepped outside the city to visit the local ruins. We took a whole day to explore the Sacred Valley (another place I lived once). And of course, I saved the absolute best for last… MACHU PICCHU. One of the wonders of the world. I have been to Machu Picchu three times now (first time was when I was 13) and it never ceases to take my breath away. It is truly the most beautiful and magical place I have ever been. I cannot describe it. And there are no photos that could ever portray it properly no matter how hard anyone tries. It’s true magic cannot be captured. Machu Picchu is one of those places everyone should see if they can at least once. I LOVE IT. I knew this would definitely be a highlight of the trip and of course it did not fail me.

I loved sharing this huge piece of my heart with my new 7 friends. We made memories to last a lifetime and I will never forget this trip. It was so special to me for so many reasons. I was so proud to be able to put together such a fun, life-changing adventure and thrilled to be a part of it. I can’t wait to do it again.

I will let the photos share the rest of the story now.

Our first day there we went to a summer camp that the kids from the orphanage were attending. They took us to a really fun little hidden treasure of water and rocks where you could dive in and swim. It was a great way for the kids to get comfortable with everyone and have a great time as well.

Our super cute hotel near the orphanage:

The next 3 days we spent at the actual orphanage, teaching the kids games and having an amazing time with them.

One of the rooms at the orphanage.

Love this photo! All of us with the children plus their dogs.  : )

I was able to go back to the orphanage about a month after the trip for a couple of photo projects. One being to photograph each of the children individually for the church’s database. Below are a few of the beautiful children who live there. If you would like to learn more about the children’s home please click here. <– you can also make a donation.

Part two of the trip: CUSCO!!!

Cusco is so beautiful, and at a very high altitude. So it can be hard to breathe if you don’t take it easy. But it has some of the bluest skies you will ever see.

Seriously love the kids of Peru! How cute are they??

Little cute guinnea pigs. Little do they know they are about to become supper. (not for me!!!) Yes, this is a delicacy in Peru.

Exploring the Cusco area.

Exploring the Sacred Valley.

Pictures truly do not express the beauty of the Sacred Valley. It’s so majestic. I always feel so much closer to God there. It’s hard to explain.

The little tiny rainbow is there every single day at this time of day.

I don’t know why, but I just love this photo of one of the locals laughing at her little lamb trying to dance. It was so cute.

The sunset that evening was so incredible. The picture doesn’t really do it justice.

But it was like the sky turned into fire.

That night we headed back to Cusco for a night of fun in the Plaza de Armas.

Human planking in the Plaza De Armas. haha

This would be me having a laughing fit on the ground… nothing to see here people.

Just skipping along the cobblestone road, creating memories forever.

The next day we took a long train ride to the bottom of a magical mountain. Then we took a bus to the top of that mountain where the stunning Machu Picchu lay.

Takes my breath away.

So extremely grateful for this trip. I will cherish it forever. Thank you Colleen, Andrea, Jake, Sherry, Krystina, Courtney and Beth for joining me on this Peruvian adventure. I look forward to sharing more memories and more adventures with each of you.


  • AndreaAugust 10, 2012 - 4:28 pm

    Wow. I often wondered what you were taking pics of…. Now, I know. Thank you so much, Courtney. My life was truly changed by this trip. Let me know when you’re ready for round 2, I’m in!!ReplyCancel

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