Marysol Cuadrado wasn’t going to let scoliosis stop her from seeing one of the seven wonders of the world.
The Cal Poly Pomona senior sociology student not only ventured to South America via the Peru Summer 2018 Faculty-Led Study Abroad program, she navigated the ancient stairs of Machu Picchu 7,972 feet above sea level.
Cuadrado spent nine days in Peru, visiting both Lima and Cuzco, during a study abroad course in collaboration with the Kellogg Honors College led by CPP professors Suketu Bhavsar and Kent Dickson. Participants studied Peruvian history and culture courtesy of visits to places like the famous city in the mountains constructed by the Incas in the 1400s.
Marysol celebrates at the top of Machu Pichu.There was some initial concern about Cuadrado’s ability to participate in certain activities on the trip given the neuromuscular disorder that causes weakness in her arms and legs.
“I do believe that it would be amazing for people with disabilities to experience this,” Cuadrado said. “But I also know the insecurities of thinking it’s not possible.”
“A guide was arranged to accompany Marysol alone at Machu Picchu and she was able to walk the whole site with his help despite staircases and many ups and downs, thus fulfilling one of her lifelong dreams,” Dickson said. “Of course there are many other things to say, but this was an especially successful aspect of the planning for which we were grateful.”
The plans to accommodate Cuadrado’s disability allowed her to participate in all aspects of the trip and made the travel easier.
“I was very pleased and very impressed with how Marysol was accommodated at every stage of the trip,” Bhavsar said, “from hotel rooms that were more convenient for her, as well as her transportation at times using taxis while we walked, and other small bits of miscellaneous assistance.”