IN Moon Township Spring 2018 - Page 15

interview. “I didn’t think I had a chance to get it, but I took a shot in the dark,” Colin says. He was a little nervous about the trip because he studied French in high school instead of Spanish. His parents were also worried that he might get sick or hurt. But, he got along well with the other students and learned a lot about interacting with people from different backgrounds. The diversity of Peru surprised Colin, since it’s a small country. He met Peruvians from different traditional cultures and experienced many environments, from the cold Andes Mountains to the hot and humid jungles of Peru. Patacancha is about two hours from the nearest city and sits at an elevation of 14,000 feet. One day, the group went on a 10-mile hike. Several students suffered from altitude sickness but Colin felt fine. The students explored traditional Peruvian culture and the environment. Colin learned how to carve wood figures and spin Alpaca wool. Potatoes are a staple of Peruvian food and the students ate it in some form at every meal. They also learned about how shaman use plants in traditional medicine. “Even in tourist towns there is still a culture to that area that most people don’t seek out,” Colin notes. “I thought it was very interesting how the natives in the region utilized everything they had.” The group also visited Machu Pichu, the famous Incan city. Colin toured the abandoned ruins and hiked up to the Sun Gate, which overlooks the city. “You could see everything below you,” he recalls. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” He and the other participants also learned a lot about environmental sustainability. They saw how some Peruvian farmers cut down forests to grow more crops in a process known as slash and burn agriculture. The trip also highlighted the value of relationships, and Colin made friends with many of the other students as well as the Peruvians who hosted them. He stays in touch with many of the people he met. “When you’re with people almost a month, you get to know them better than some of your friends back home,” he explains. “They treated us like family.” One memorable experience reminded him that material possessions aren’t important. The group’s baggage was lost for several days while they were visiting the hot and humid Peruvian jungles. “We were miserable, but you have to just go with it because anything can happen,” Colin says. “Losing our stuff was unimportant because we were experiencing the culture, and that didn’t take away from it at all.” He encourages other students to consider similar opportunities even if it’s outside their comfort zone. Colin wants to return to Peru in the future but also wants to visit other regions that aren’t overrun by tourists. After college, he would like to become a diplomat. For more information, visit ■ 551 Thorn Run Road Moon Township, PA 15108 Phone: (412) 262-1638 Childcare: Dance / Gymnastics: Child Care • Care from six- weeks through Pre-Kindergarten • PA Department of Education licensed Pre-K Program • Deployment of the Creative Curriculum allows for learning through exploration Dance Gymnastics • Programs that start with introductory teaching through competitive dance teams. • From Pre-School through competitive USA Gymnastics Teams • Dance from three- years through high school • Day & Evening Classes • Focus on a skilled progression program • Mommy & Me Classes • Ninja Zone Classes Upper St. Clair Fort Couch Rd. 412-265-1883 Crafton/Ingram 2725 Center St. Karen L Johnson, DDS • Kathy Lopez, DMD • Eric Rackley DMD 412-265-1975 MOON TOWNSHIP ❘ SP RI NG 2018 13