From October 15-27, the Cardenas-Torres (C-T) family, teachers and students, villagers, my grandson Rees, and I installed playground equipment at 5 pre- and primary schools in or near Sacred Valley, Peru. Two sites were near Calca, and the other 3 were located high in the surrounding mountains.
The playground equipment–swing sets, climbing towers, monkey bars, monkey rings, and teeter totters–was constructed by David C-T and his friend John. Coordination was handled by 2 of John’s sister, Marcia and Amparo. The man in charge of installation was the C-T patriarch Martin.
For Rees and I, the interesting part was the installation work. To get to all but one of the sites, our playground parts were transported in a 50-year-old Ford truck driven by the 70-year-old Martin. Which was great around Calca, but made for hair-raising rides on steep mountain switchbacks.
At the work sites, C-T father took over management of the installation work. Martin being a bit of perfectionist worked in our favor. He also worked very hard digging holes and mixing concrete. Additionally, he made sure Rees kept busy. Particularly encouraging was the support we got from the local students, teachers, and villagers. At 2 of the schools, the local students performed for us. That was fun.
In all, the following playground equipment was installed:
- 3 swing sets
- 3 climbing towers
- 3 sets of monkey bars
- a set of monkey rings
- 4 teeter totters (1 with 2 rockers)
It was a busy 2 weeks. While, David and John fabricated equipment, Rees, Marcia, and I (and frequently Amparo) toured the nearby Inca archaeological sites. Rees was particularly excited about exploring Machu Picchu. We also visited an impressive local museum and a very picturesque drainage with thousands of active salt ponds.
The C-T family was a great host. They even provided us with a room to stay in. And gifts on our departure. Life is good.