It’s not often that an experience can blend adventure and enjoyment with productivity and benefiting others. Thankfully, for the Ramapo College community, such an endeavor awaits nearby.
On Wed., Oct. 3, an informational meeting was held for an upcoming trip to Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, in Peru through the travel agency Choose a Challenge. The group works with charities, in this case the Andrew McDonough B+ (sometimes spelled as Be Positive) Foundation, a charity for childhood cancer that helps fund medical costs for afflicted children.
Alexa Yarmelle and Gabby Gialaboukis, representatives from the cooperating organizations, came to speak to those interested. They detailed the activities of each day of the nine day trip as well as sign-up information and the travel expenses.
The trip is set to embark Aug. 6, 2019. There are two initial fees of $245 each and then $4,000 which is covered mostly through fundraising. Half goes towards the charity while the other half covers the actual expenses.
Included in the trip’s cost are the flight to and from Peru, in-country transport, accommodations, meals, guides and more.
Gialaboukis of Choose a Challenge said, “All your stuff will be carried by mules or porters. You’ll only have your backpack.”
The first three days of the trip are in Cusco, Peru, where students will have the opportunity to get tours, sightsee and just generally do whatever they desire with their time. The following six days are the hike to Machu Picchu, each day having designated distances and locations.
Some days are more strenuous than others with the adjustment to higher altitudes and time allotments for the daily hikes.
The ninth day allows for exploration of Machu Picchu (which was only discovered in 1911 and still has much mystery surrounding it) and a relaxing train ride back before the returning flight to the U.S. the next morning. For students who would like an extended stay, there is an option for a flight out to Huacachina, Peru for five extra days of leisure. This extension is an extra $675 not included within the fundraising goal.
Justin Evangelista, a junior at Ramapo College, is the on-campus coordinator and manager of the project. He went on the Choose a Challenge-hosted trip to Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa last summer after seeing an advertisement on Facebook.
He said fundraising was made possible online with the support of occasional B+ check-ins. Evangelista also expressed his regret that more advertising hasn’t been done on campus due to the lack of “club” status for the group he leads, as it is not technically a Ramapo-sponsored event.
Yarmelle, who came representing the B+ Foundation and is a program manager, said that for anyone who is undecided to consider this: “It’s an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than yourself.”
The trek has a limited number of spots, being capped at 20 people, and is not limited to Ramapo students. Those interested can visit the Choose a Challenge website chooseachallenge.org or contact Justin Evangelista at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.