The day started with Ben's fat study where the subjects took part in a taste test to see if altitude affects their taste receptors. Preliminary evidence suggests that taste is suppressed at altitude, but we will see from the findings.
However taste senses were heightened as few enjoyed billy bear ham and squidgy cheese, that accompanied the usual bread and strawberry jam at breakfast this morning.
The track was calling for the third and final time, with walking boots at the ready we set off at 9am for a memorable day ahead. Being the last test it was typical that everything went perfectly and everyone was very organised! Spirits were high as photos and videos were being taken left right and centre, soon to be put together as our educational video about participating in a 6 minute walk test at altitude. There were variations in performance and walking styles, which of course had to be videoed as some were very controversial as to whether they were a light jog. Although two were still struggling slightly from pooru, it seemed that most have eventually acclimatised to the altitude throughout the time in Cusco and the 6 minute walk tests. The runners of the group couldn't resist a quick 100m race at the end of the session. Tensions were high and a photo finish was prepared as there was controversy over running shoes. Nevertheless it was a clear win for the shod runner, aka James, leaving a barefoot Harry slightly behind!
Off to a hot and sunny Huacarpay (31 degrees) where a ceremony and food was being prepared for everyone. As the gardening gloves and paint covered clothes were left behind it felt strange not getting our hands dirty, but was rewarding to admire our hard work and see how appreciative the children and teachers were. While the food was being prepared, the boys were teaching their amigos the soccer am crossbar challenge, needless to say there was a "language barrier" or their "trainers were too big", so their amigos taught them a lesson instead. While the boys were being boys and burning some energy, the girls got their bronze on and assisted the teachers on the thank you feast. When lunch was served we were able to enjoy the delights of alpaca, chicken and homegrown vegetables, such as potatoes and sweet corn and plenty of salad. This showed how grateful they were for all our hard work, and we were thankful for the food we received, especially the fruity finish.
We then all gathered in our newly restored coliseum where our farewell ceremony took place, filled with thank yous from us and our new amigos. We were presented with a handmade card, recycled denim wallet and keyring and freshly picked flowers to show their appreciation of all our hard work over the 2 weeks. We were then able to give our goody bags to our amigos, although some didn't quite believe it was for them! They all opened them as soon as they sat down and liked everything inside, such as bubbles, doodle pads, pens and pencils and frisbees! There were plenty of photos taken to remember our last day at Hurcarpay and emails were exchanged so we are able to keep in touch. On arrival back at the hostel everyone was eager to walk into the plaza for an English meal at Paddy's Pub, which went down very well!