April 23, 2012
I volunteered on a 10 day trip to Machu Picchu with Conservation VIP in November 2011. It was a wonderful adventure for me personally, because I had always, since childhood, wanted to see Machu Picchu and learn about the Inca and walk the Inca trails. The adventure aspect was enhanced greatly for me, however, by being able to spend several days right up at Machu Picchu itself working to preserve the rock walls from damage due to lichens and weeds. We worked around the sanctuary also for several more days doing trail work, planting trees, working in the orchid and butterfly sanctuaries and repainting monuments that help denote the sanctuary lands surrounding Machu Picchu. We were able to make a personal connection with the park rangers and local people and work side by side with those who daily maintain and protect the monument. When I look back on the trip I realize that the most important thing for me was not just seeing the city but being able to give something back to this world heritage monument and to play a small role personally to help in preserving it for the next hundred years. In our work we also were able to learn the history of the Inca civilization and to get oriented for working at Machu Picchu by seeing other ruins remaining in the sacred valley of the Inca. It was an eye-opener to me to see how much work needs to be done to protect the monuments and how little the local people have in the way of tools and money to accomplish major ongoing maintenance of these ruins and restoration of these Inca sites.
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For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
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