This happened to be our last weekend here in Cusco. After our emotional goodbyes at Camino Nuevo, we had a visit to a local orphanage planned. Unfortunately the visit was cancelled, so we decided to take a trip to the Machu Picchu museum. We learned more about the rediscovery of Machu Picchu and learned about the Incan culture and tradition. Later that night we had dinner at Cafe Daría where Enrique performed circus acts for children and families from Camino Neuvo. We said our last goodbyes to Celeste and her family, Enrique, Sachi, and Jesus.
Saturday started bright and early. We made our way to Plaza de Armas at 430 am to meet our tour guide for Rainbow Mountain. There we participated in a 10k round trip hike that brought us to an elevation of 5036 meters at the highest point! We were all challenged physically and mentally during the hike to the summit. Hiking at an elevation of this level is something that none of us had ever experienced. It felt like we were dragging our feet through mud stopping often to catch our breath. About two hours into the hike we all finally made it to the top. Whether it was by foot or by horseback, we were successful in our trek. Our tour guide taught us that different layers of minerals stacked on each other through time. When opposed to oxygen, they each change to a specific color. The rainbow mountain of Peru is only one of three in the world. The other two are in China and Argentina.
Sunday was our last full day in Cusco. We spent most of it relaxing and shopping in Plaza de Armas. Later that night some of us walked to the local mall called Real Plaza to see a different side of Cusco. It was a very westernized shopping center with familiar names such as Adidas, North Face, and Columbia. We decided to spend the last of our soles at an arcade and some ice cream. We came home to have our last dinner together with Patricia and went to bed early to catch our flights in the morning.
Cusco has been a beautiful experience for us all. The people, the culture, and amazing scenery are all things that we will all never forget. The people we met and interacted with on this trip will always hold a special place in our memories. We are grateful for this opportunity to work in an environment that challenged us and allowed us to grow as medical practitioners. The experience of immersing oneself into a foreign community has been so valuable and words cannot truly express our gratitude for this chance to gain a new perspective of practicing medicine. Thank you for all who supported us on this trip. We wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without your help. Muchas Gracias.