Lima and Sacred Valley, Peru

Mission Trip:

October 24- November 1, 2018

Travel abroad, get out of your comfort zone and join Smiles for Speech for an opportunity to make a difference! This adventure of a lifetime includes 7-days, 6 nights exploring the culture of Peru while volunteering to work side by side with children with special needs at a school, hospital and various non-profit organizations. Become a part of making the world a better place!

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Lima

Our first visit will be to Colegio La Alegria en el Senor, a Center for inclusion located in the La Molina District of Peru that educates, trains and rehabilitates disadvantaged, young people with physical disabilities. You’ll join an inspired community of like-minded people such as: speech-pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists and educators in sharing methods of helping children with various special needs/disabilities while spreading smiles and joy.

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Urubamba

We will visit children at My Small Help and the Kiya Survivors/Rainbow House whose projects focus on providing support, therapy and love children with special needs as well as abused and abandoned children and their families.

During our mission trips, our goal is to serve not only the children and the families we visit, but also their communities. You will have the opportunity to experience agricultural life, traditions, and culture first hand while helping families improve their quality of life by participating in workshops such as: ceramics, chocolate making, Chicha (typical maize drink) preparation, bee keeping, flower growing, weaving, coffee processing or guinea pig raising.

Our last 2 days will be spent enjoying a spectacular and scenic journey to Aguas Calientes and Macchu Picchu.

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“I was reborn on my mission trip with Smiles for Speech. I was able to recognize myself and my spirit in the families and kids we visited. I think they made more of an impact on me then I did for them.” — Irene


Sample Accommodations

Package Includes:

  • 6 x nights /  7 days accommodation
  • Transportation to the Colegio La Alegria en el Senor/Neoplastics hospital/Peru Association for Laryngectomies  in Lima
  • Round trip flight from Lima to Cusco
  • Transportation to Urubamba-NGO’s My Small Help/ Kiya Survivors/Rainbow House
  • Chichumba Community Tourism Tour
  • Train to Aguas Calientes
  • Machu Picchu entrance fee/permit/tour
  • Excursion and hike through beautiful mountains of Machu Picchu

“I joined Smiles for Speech because I wanted to change lives… but every life I touched changed mine. “  — Jendayi


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Mission Trip Cost: $1390

NOTE: You only have to book your airfare by September 30th  to be registered. No deposit required. Pay your balance by October 15th and you are on your way. Email us at hello@smilesforspeech.org to  tell us a little bit about yourself and share why you would like to join the mission trip . *based on triple occupancy.

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Mission Trip Leaders

Sandy Dorsey, Founder of Smiles for Speech

Sandy Dorseyis a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist that for over 15 years has provided speech and language services to wide ranging populations, from early intervention to high school students in New York City. Sandy has witnessed first-hand how children with special needs from disadvantaged backgrounds do not always receive necessary help for various reasons.  Driven to close this gap and make an impact, Sandy founded Smiles for Speech, a humanitarian, education based organization dedicated to increasing awareness of this disparity while working with children with special needs and families within their communities to enhance their ability to reach their full potential by promoting self-esteem, self-expression and confidence.

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Ana Berrios is a bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist, born and raised in Puerto Rico and trained at the University of Puerto Rico. Her interest in working with culturally diverse people motivated her to move to New York City in 2014 where she currently specializes in Early Intervention. Prior to becoming a Speech Pathologist, Ana volunteered and taught a Spanish course for an NGO in Brazil for children at risk.  She enjoys working with infants and toddlers and their families to support and enhance children’s developmental skills as well as parent education. This will be Ana’s second adventure to Peru!

Thanh Dinh is a Canadian-trained Occupational Therapist currently working with the geriatric rehabilitation. He received his Master of Science in Occupational Therapy in Canada at the University of Western Ontario. Thanh relocated to New York City in 2015 to begin his professional career, where he gained experience working with children and adults with physical, mental, and intellectual disabilities. He has a strong desire to help others while traveling and immersing himself in new cultures around the world.


Q & A

How many people will attend this mission trip?
We will travel with around 8-10 volunteers.

Who can attend?
We welcome those with a sense of adventure and a heart dedicated to helping children with special needs from disadvantaged communities.

When should I plan to arrive at the center?
We will leave the hotel on the morning of October 25th at 8am to make our first visit.

How do you assign the rooms?
Rooms are assigned on a first-come-first-serve basis based on when you make your deposit. We will match according to you who you would like to share a room with.

What airport do I fly into?
Please book your flight to the Jorge Chavez International, Lima, Peru to arrive the morning of Oct 25th.

Are transfers included?
You are responsible for your airport transfers to and from Lima.

What can I expect the daily program to look like?
Each volunteer can choose which activities to attend. However, a day will look something like this:

  • Breakfast
  • Scheduled Visits
  • Lunch
  • Free time / optional planned outing
  • Dinner

Have a question? Email Smiles for Speech at hello@smilesforspeech.org

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A Sojourner’s Journal: Still Exploring Russia

Still on the Russian experience with Cosmos

 

July 22, 2017

Went out of the city to a flower festival today. It was held at the park of one the old palaces. I forget those palaces though. Lot of squirrels running. Luckily, I remembered an old trick and got them to come really close to me.

It rained quite a bit and, at one point, got so cold that we had a bit of a snow/hail hybrid.

July 24, 2017

Tried Starbuck coffee today. Wasn’t bad but definitely not worth the cost. Had a double cheeseburger at McDonalds, tastes really good but I’ve seen single burgers bigger than that.

Sent entirely too much time/coins on a scissor version of a claw machine. Won zilch.

Found a simulation gun arcade and shot a bunch of western thugs.

 

July 26, 2017

Bought a cup of berries and visited the Summer Garden today. Why are so many statues of bare chested women?

Lunch at KFC.

 

July 28, 2017

Lunch at Rock Pub, excellent cheeseburger. Need remember to write an article about this place. Details:

Instagram: @rockpub_spb

Address: Nevskiy Prospect. House number 38

 

July 30, 2017

Happy Navy Day

That’s a lot of navy/soldiers/I don’t even know.

Ships! So many ships!

Found a place called The Maze of Fear. Got sent in with another lady and a guy. Suddenly it became the maze of humour to me.

Dude in a monster mask jumped out at us. Pretty sure I terrified him when I hugged him and kissed him on the cheek.

A Sojourner’s Journal: Still in Russia

Cosmos continues with her experiences in St. Petersburg, Russia;

July 16, 2017
I went to the St. Basil Cathedral with Nancy today; was somebody compensating for something? Because you could literally fit a giant in here.
Got treated to shawarma afterwards, the garlic sauce worth killing for.

July 19, 2017
Went to this really old bookshop today, place had a marble staircase. Went to the park afterwards and got myself a cup of mulled wine; was good.
On the way back to the apartment, a pair of break dancers performed in the subway car.

July 20, 2017
Wanted to visit someplace called the Chocolate Museum today; turns out it’s just a chocolate shop. Passed a violinist playing a song from Anastasia; wish I could play like that.
Saw an old mosque and had a pretty decent lunch at Burger King.
I am now sick. Literally. I have a cold.

July 21, 2017
Still sick. Still going to the zoo though.
The metro station next to the zoo looks like a spaceship.
Zoo was awesome;
The wolf slept through everyone staring at her.
The lion was posing a like a runway model for a photoshoot (Nancy thinks he was just selecting lunch)
The jaguar and snow leopard could care less.
I saw a sleeping Sam Winchester.
Saw a tiger pace around before he tripped and promptly hid to hide the shame
Owl face. So much owl face.
The python just slept through everything
After the zoo, I let a dude put a snake on my shoulders. It felt like something cool wrapped in cling film and after that another dude put a macaw on my wrist. Bird walked up my arm and on to my shoulders. The claws kinda tickled.

Found a place in a park with a maze and models of famous buildings in the city and historical dudes at a table. This is the tallest I have ever felt.

A Sojourner’s Journal; The Destination – Russia

Cosmos continues with her Russian story;

July 12, 2017 – St. Petersburg

So, I got in last night and proceeded to:
Eat
Shower
Sleep

First day here: Well first thing is we took the subway into town. One thing I noticed about the city centre is that the entire place follows a pastel colour pattern; ivory, peach, pale green, you name it.

Then we went to the Kazanskiy Sobor which is this huge old cathedral/museum. And I mean huge.
After that we took a tour bus around the city, it was pretty fun, the tour guide said that if you spent 1 minute looking at each painting in the Winter Palace/Hermitage Museum it would take you about 60 years to go through all of them.

July 14, 2017
I went to the Hermitage today! But first I had to wait in line for a very long time in the blithering cold but I still got in and it was worth the wait.

Cool fact: kids under 18 and students (if you have proof) are allowed in for free. Still have to pay if you want to go on a tour though.

I know I wrote a piece once where I stated that I would never get tired of being surrounded by luxury; well that isn’t true anymore. I mean really? The Malachite Room alone…

There were also special exhibits on the top floor from other countries. Although my favourite parts, were the really old pieces and by old, I mean stone age and iron age. Primarily the weapons.

July 15, 2017
Turns out that here you have to pay for plastic bags when you shop, which is a great idea. I mean, if you pay for it then you’re going to keep and reuse it instead of just tossing it.

Went to an ice-ring today and proceeded to epically fail and nearly break my arm on the wall. I was later informed that I should have rented skates for boys which are much easier to balance on for first time users. When I told NJ about my arm, she laughed at my pain. I need new friends.

I found a shop that has knifes. And crossbows. I wanted one. My wallet said no.

What To Do On Your Baecation

You and bae are all set up and excited for your baecation. You have agreed on your budget and your travel plan, know your destination, worked on your packing list and you are now wondering what to do on your trip? You need to know beforehand the activities you both want to undertake and also leave room for spontaneous activities but having an itinerary is a must.

See below some activities we have picked out for you and your significant other.

Be adventurous

Baecation is a time to tryout new things and to have adventures with bae. Enjoy that! Be prepared to look silly trying new things. Laugh about it and allow yourself to truly enjoy the experience. Try bungee jumping, skydiving, ziplining, paragliding, and anything your destination has to provide.

Get wonderfully lost

You do not have to have it all together on your trip. Make things flexible and be spontaneous. Get lost in the city, on an island, anything. Lose the map and explore the city.

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Hit the beach

If you chose a destination with a beach, then by all means put on your swimsuits and hit the beach. Tryout all the activities the beach has to offer.

Go hiking/ camping

If you chose a destination that offers a great place to hike and also camp out, then why not give it a shot. Go on a mountain hike. Camp out in the beach or at the seashore. With bae by your side, you won’t be afraid of any monsters.

Do some yoga in open air

Stretch out, control your breathing and strengthen your body and mind through yoga/ meditation. Try out new poses together. Laugh at each other when you fall and just stay healthy.

Go for an early morning jog or run

Enjoy the sunrise, talk without pressure and stay healthy by going for a run or a jog.

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Dress fancy and go on a date

Take time out and really dress up for a date night. Wear fancy clothes, heels, makeup and take yourselves to fancy restaurant or hit a cool bar.

Try local delicacies

You cannot visit a country without finding out what the locals eat, how they eat it and where to find the best delicacies. Get adventurous and go all the way.

Go shopping

This would not be much fun for boo but girl, this would be your territory. Shop for yourself and boo, get some souvenirs for family and friends.

Go wine tasting

If the country offers this, then by all means you should include it in your itinerary.

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Enjoy some “me” time

Baecations are not always a fairytale. There might be little arguments and disagreements. There might also be that moment when you or bae will need your space at least for a while. Use this opportunity to visit places you wanted to see, go for a meal, explore the beach, shop or do something cool.

Have a relaxing day at the spa

Nothing spells bonding than two people in love indulging in a couple’s massage. This relaxes you while it provides you two time to just enjoy the company of each other with very few words.

Go on strolls and watch the sunset/ sunrise

Nothing says romance than holding hands with your significant other while walking the shows of a turquoise blue sea with sun rising or setting. This is simply picturesque!

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Staycation

When you get tired of all the activities and the outings, you can take a day out and just stay in bed. Indulge in each other, talk about your feelings, plan the future, etc. Just stay indoors and order room service.

Pack some adult games

Pick up some adult games for the days and nights you two decide to stay in.

Go Dancing or take a dance lesson

If you visit a country or city that loves dancing and take dancing seriously, use the opportunity to learn some dance moves and then go dancing to show off your moves.

Take photos

Make sure to capture all your moments together or apart. Share on Instagram with hashtag #baecation, print them out or keep them in your couple album.

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Take the baecation up a notch

If you still have time and can easily explore the country’s neighbouring countries and cities, do it! Travel for so many hours to see the perfect beach, monument, mountains etc. Just get on a bus, a car, or a train and go see it with bae. Time flies by and if this opportunity has presented itself, take it!

PS: You and bae must stay off your phones and enjoy your time together.

Photocredit: Woman Beyond Borders

What To Pack For Your Baecation

Your baecation destination has been decided on and you are now wondering what to pack? First make a packing checklist so you will not leave anything behind. While working on this packing check list, take a look at our list and why we believe the below should be packed for your baecation.

Swimsuits and sunscreen

For the beach, poolside, island hopping or water sports, swimsuits are a must-have for you two. Though it is mad fun lying in the sun, would be a better option to apply some sunscreen before doing so.

Sunglasses

For comfort, protection and to class up your outfit or to spy other guys without bae realising.

Trainers / Sneakers

Wherever you may find yourself, you should find the time to exercise (go for a run, hit the gym or do a bit of stretches). So, pack some trainers and workout outfits.

Comfortable Shoes

We all know beauty is pain but not on your baecation. Pack some really comfortable shoes for those days when you and bae wake up feeling adventurous.

Scented lotions and oils

These would be perfect for massages and just feeling each other out.

Games

A board game, deck of cards or dating games may sound boring but think of all the many ways you can spice things up.

Camera

Capture all the beautiful moments, landscapes to create memories wherever you go. Or you can just use your phone if you feel a camera would be too bulky.

Toiletries

You may never know when they will come in handy. Pack some tissues, hand wipes and sanitizers.

Blankets and snacks

If your baecation is a roadtrip, would be great to bring a blanket for chilly nights on the road and some snacks to munch on.

Gift for bae

Whether the baecation is a special occasion or not, you would want to bring a small gift to say thank you or act as a reminder for the time you two spent on the trip.

Extra packing tips for her

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When it comes to clothing, it would be great to pack simple but versatile basics into one bag that is if it is a weekend getaway. But as your baecation would be longer, you can include various other items. So. the below are must-haves for every woman on a baecation.

You will need;

  • Day outfits for exploring (this could be trousers, shorts, t-shirt or shirts or blouses, flats, sunglasses, shoulder bag or crossbody purse).
  • A date night out (slip or form fitting dress, low heels or wedges, clutch and a jacket) for a flirtatious evening.
  • In addition to your swimsuits, you will need shorts or lacy cover-ups, flats, hat, tote or straw basket.
  • Painting the town red, bar hopping etc., you will need pants with low heels and a classy top (sequins should be amazing with a jacket).
  • Pick the right lingerie for each day / night. See-throughs, lace, anything sexy but not uncomfortable.
  • Simple accessories or you can always go for those that make a statement. Depends on you and your destination.

 

Makeup Kits

It does not really matter where you go, makeup is a must pack for every woman. Just stick to the essentials – waterproof mascara and eyeliner, light foundation, lipstick and gloss, makeup remover and highlighter.

Money

Usually on baecations, your man does most of the paying. He will take care of dinner, activities, transportation, shopping and souvenirs etc. Although you should expect this, it would be really nice of you to treat him to some really cool stuff and for unexpected money situations.

Extra packing tips for him

You may want to pack;

  • Cool shorts or jeans and t-shirts for exploring during the day. Throw in a beach hat.
  • Flats will come in handy when chilling by the poolside or lazing about at the beach.
  • Pack shirts comfortable enough for sightseeing and/ or sharp for the evening.
  • Pack several clean / new underwear. Yes! Something cool, fresh and most importantly clean.
  • Do not forget to pack extra socks and really cool shoes or trainers for date nights or bar hopping.
  • A jacket for when it is chilly or when she is chilly. Will score you some points.

 

NB: These are the essentials for a baecation but do not forget to bring any items that you would normally bring on a trip.

Photocredit: Maryykim

My Last Night in Togo

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My heart is still in the streets of Togo

Togo is my little sanctuary where I go to unwind and leaving for Ghana always makes me very emotional. So on Monday which was my last day, I stayed in my room half of the morning thinking about the things awaiting me in Ghana. To be honest, I was not happy about it. I did not want to come back home. I have such freedom and liberty in Togo that I did not want it to end.

 

The morning of my last night

When I finally dragged myself out of bed, El had already made breakfast – oats with honey, fried eggs, tea, baguette with butter and jam. She works from and she was hoarding the living room so I had breakfast on the balcony which did not have a spectacular view. But still something to reflect on and that was what I did. After breakfast, I stayed in my room reading some poems on her kindle and slept a bit.

 

The afternoon of my last night

The last time I was in Togo, I wanted to visit the Grande Marché but most shops at the market do not open on Sundays so I was not able to visit. So during my four days in Lomé, I added it to my itinerary. I needed to get some traditional prints and souvenirs for some friends and family. I told Ellen about it and she suggested the secondhand market with was closer to us and much cheaper. I remember I visited that market in 2006 and well, I did not mind revisiting memories from the past.

I could not go with Ellen though because she had to work. I had to go to with Olivia, one of the most interesting people I met in Togo. I was excited to go with Livi but the problem was; I speak basic French and she speaks basic English so communication was going to fun as hell. I remember telling El that Livi and I will have to resort to sign language. The Airport City where we live is not far from the Market but the 600 CFA the Cab driver charged was a bit on the low for me.

The second hand market is like Ghanaian Makola Market and Cantamanto merged together but with more parking space. We all know how noisy markets are but this noise was pleasant in my ears – rawness of the Togolese French. There was a big building where traders were selling their goods. The market is really an easy place to get lost so Livi took my Togo number just in case we got lost. We spent about three hours there searching for the specific items I needed and in good quality. I bought so many items from the market and they were all new.

Unlike the Ghanaian market where you can try on clothes before buying, some traders in the market refused to let you try on clothes with were alright. We later went in search for the black soap I fell in love with from my last visit and also some sheabutter El needed. When we left the market, I had gotten many stuff yet spent so little. I said this to Livi and she told me that many people cannot afford these stuffs, they are too expensive.

And before I forget, Livi and I did not resort to sign language. We understood each other very well.

 

The evening of my last night

El gets out of work after 7:00 pm so we decided to have dinner afterwards. We were not in the mood to cook that evening so we decided to go get something and dine in. we however did not know what to eat. After some thoughts, we settled on some Lebanese dishes. El told me about Le Phenicien restaurant which was a 30 minute drive who makes very good Lebanese meals. So we called Ali who had been in Togo for a while and knew almost everyone there. He ordered for our meals and offered to drive us there.

Le Phenicien restaurant is beautiful – the lobby has a bakery, icecream parlour and sitting area. There is an inner room for dining. When we got there, the owner came to greet us and El passed a comment about how we will get served quickly because the owner knows Ali. And she was so right. Within 10 minutes, our food was in our hand and we were leaving the restaurant. Ali and I however feasted on some icecream and also got some croissant for breakfast the next day.

The ride back home was convincing Ali to join us for dinner which he did. We even got him to write a poem for the very first time and I must say, he is a natural. After Ali left at 10:30pm, El and I just sat there and talked about our dreams, desires, weaknesses and the fact that I should move to Togo.

That night in my bed, I told myself that maybe, I should move to Togo.

 

Love,

NJB