An Unexpected Educational Adventure at Machu Picchu
Professor Deb Pitton led a group of education and healthcare students to Peru and Machu Picchu in 2010. When rain swelled the mountain rivers, flooding downstream villages, the group was trapped and struggled to remain together waiting to be evacuated.
No One Left Behind, Deb Pitton’s personal account of what was to become a legendary study abroad trip is filled with humor and honesty. She spares no detail when it comes to describing the rewards and challenges of traveling with a group of college students who are seeing (most of them for the first time) a less privileged side of life. Those revelations, which are often noticed and appreciated by Pitton as she describes an event or interaction, form one of the recurring themes of the book. Another emergent theme has to do with the power of nature and how it can disrupt one’s best laid plans; readers who remember the news stories about the Gustavus Professors and students stranded in the mountains of Peru will perhaps share my amazement as the extent of the ordeal is unveiled. Deb does a wonderful job of detailing the many ways she and her co-leader, Mary Solberg, had to improvise, consult, and make immediate—sometimes scary—decisions. Anyone considering leading a group on a study-abroad trip would do well to read No One Left Behind, but perhaps—as the title suggests—the most important idea we are left with is that we all need to look out for each other and stick together—a goal that seems particularly relevant to the times.
—Joyce Sutphen, Minnesota Poet Laureate