Students aid education in Peru

Christina Liu, Staff Writer

Over spring break, Spanish teacher Katie Swetnam and six Diamond Bar High School students travelled Peru to help build schools for girls.

Swetnam first planned to visit Urubamba, Peru last spring. Hearing about Education First Tours from math teacher Shari De Cambra, Swetnam notified the company what sort of trip she wanted. From there, the company connected them with the Sacred Valley Project and planned out the trip.

“I hope for students to just see what it is like to live somewhere else, to kind of see the things we take for granted are actually a luxury,” Swetnam said. “I think that it was important for them to see how the rest of the world is in regards to different opportunities for different genders, and the education opportunities.”

Freshmen Celine Shen and Ashley Jong, sophomore Ernie Perez, juniors Faizah Ahmed and Katherine Reyes and senior Charis Doi went on the nine-day trip.

After touring Lima, the capital of Peru, students worked on the service project for three days. For the project, which was still in its beginning stages, the Brahmas worked with students from Michigan and Atlanta to cut down trees and make bricks for the construction.

While in Peru, the group  also toured Machu Picchu, an ancient site of the Incas, and the catacombs. While touring, Doi met kids who were selling keychains to fund their education.

“Seeing how much they wanted to go to school really changed me in a way,” Doi said. “Simple things that we for granted here is something that they cherish a lot there, so I think that was really amazing to see.”