By Experimenter Robert
Huacas del Sol y la Luna
The morning after arriving at our homestays, we met up at the Colegio and took a bus to the Moche Valley. We visited the ancient city of Moche, which was once inhabited by the pre-Incan Moche people and was the center of the Moche culture. All within the Moche Valley. Our group heard the word “Moche” a thousand times that day.
Accompanied by our guide Mercedes, we visited a museum containing numerous artifacts from the ancient site, like feathered headdresses and intricately carved statues showcasing Moche culture. Afterwards, Mercedes guided us through the Huaca de la Luna, a temple that was used by the Moche for religious and spiritual purposes. There was another temple – Huaca del Sol – that was an administrative and political hub but we were unable to explore it for reasons I do not know.
The Moon Temple was filled with several murals illustrating the many aspects of Moche religion, including one displaying the face of their deity. There was also a Sacrifical Zone where citizens were ritually murdered for the gods, and I’m proud to say that I was able to show the group what a Moche sacrifice looked like.
Unfortunately, some portions of the Huaca were damaged by graverobbers and looters from the surrounding neighborhoods in Trujillo. Thankfully, those managing the site have reached out to the citizens and in an effort to teach them why the city of Moche should be preserved. Overall, the visit made our first day in Trujillo both fun and enlightening!
University and Muelle de Huanchaco
After an interesting day of visiting sites such as the National University of Trujillo, the administrative offices in the city center, and an anthropological museum, the group visited the nearby beach – Muelle de Huanchaco – to celebrate a few birthdays. Some family members from the group’s various homestays were able to attend, and I was able to meet a couple new faces.
Everyone in the group was eager to finally see the beach, and having a party there was just the cherry on top. We all had a lot of fun, especially those in the group who have never seen the Pacific Ocean. Despite it being winter in South America, the weather that day was perfect for a beach hangout. Luckily, there was a playing field, or cancha, nearby where we played a bit of fútbol and volleyball. Additionally, since Huanchaco was more of a tourist area, there were also some shops and vendors selling souvenirs. Someone from the group even bought a cool sweater from one of these shops for under 25 US dollars!
Towards the end of our get together, we sang happy birthday and enjoyed chocolate cake accompanied with empanadas and pan dulce. As the sun sank into the ocean, I conversed with my fellow group members and their adoptive Peruvian relatives, all while eating a metric ton of food. I came back to my homestay family tired and covered in sand, but I was also glad to have made so many good memories (and to have taken so many beautiful pictures).