Dancing Moose is a Montessori school based in Utah. Personally I had not heard of Montessori before this trip, so here’s a little definition. Montessori education is based on the belief that all children are unique individuals, that they all have immense potential, that they want to learn and be busy. Dancing Moose schools use this in their classroom everyday, and humanitarian work has been in Dancing Moose’s eyes for some time. This year we participated in the first Dancing Moose partnership with Youthlinc. 

This trip was incomparable to any other Youthlinc trip. First off the humanitarians were not primarily youth (in fact there were only two team members below 18). The entire team was made up of teachers from Dancing Moose. With 21 participants in total there were so many fun and diverse personalities on the team. One thing I can say is Dancing Moose is lucky to have all of these educators, they are some of the best people I have met.

We started our trip in Cusco and split our first three days in between there, Aguas Calientes, and Machu Picchu! Everything was breathtaking from the minute we landed. Parades were flooding the city streets for Peru’s independence day, the food at the restaurants was absolutely divine, and the views were stunning, unlike anything we had seen before. Though the first days were beautiful, we really wanted to get to the  Heliconia and begin our work in Palmeras! 

Once we flew into Iquitos and took the scenic boat ride to the lodge, we arrived at the Heliconia which is quite literally the most stunning place on Earth. Carlos, Dañiel, and Jorge took amazing care of us for the entirety of our stay there. The Heliconia is amazing in and of itself, but the staff really made our trip. We really could not be more grateful for them.

The next day we began our village work with the opening ceremonies. We did not have as much time in the village as regular Youthlinc trips, so we knew we had to make the most of it. From day one in the village I knew I had nothing to worry about with this group. They all have the purest hearts and best intent. They worked as hard as they possibly could for the next few days. Through home visits, concrete floors, dancing, typing lessons, lessons with the students, lessons with the teachers, wood working, painting bathrooms, etc. the teachers at Dancing Moose and the citizens of Palmeras made a lifelong connection. The village’s new wifi will allow Dancing Moose to stay connected with the teachers in Palmeras and continue to grow their relationship. I can say wholeheartedly that Dancing Moose and Palmeras have formed an unbreakable relationship and it warms my heart everyday to think about all the people that put forth the effort for this trip. Thank you Dancing Moose, Youthlinc, The Heliconia, and the people of Palemeras for this one in a lifetime experience. 

Dancing Moose Takes on Peru!
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