Tuesday morning was back to the campsite. Being sick, it was a rough 800 foot hike. Once I got there I headed straight for the bathroom then tent. I repeated that all day. So basically I missed out on everything Tuesday. The group went to the local kindergarten in the morning and had a blast. A highlight was the entire school (20+ kids) versus the two Alex’s in tug of war. It was a draw. The work in the afternoon was cleaning the bamboo stalks and attaching them to the roof beams.
Wednesday was the final day to finish the galpones. I started the morning going to the highest house with Aubrey and Larry. The elevation there is 12,796 feet. We cleaned bamboo, talked with the family, and took pictures with Natalia, the little girl who lived there. After a while, another family stopped by to help. They had a little boy who was blind. I wondered if his blindness was something that could have been avoided if he had received proper medical attention at the time it happened.
This reminds me, I have my GPS with me since I am learning how to use it for the motorcycle trip. I have the waypoints for several spots that anyone could probably look up on google to see exactly where we are.
Our campsite: S 13.20848 W 072.19336 12,440 feet
Larry and Aubry’s house: S 13.20925 W 072.18987 12,796 feet
Lower Huilloc: S 13.20335 W 072.20247 11,669 feet
Wednesday morning Alex was feeling really bad. Molly took him down the mountain and into the clinic in Urubamba. I didn’t realize what an ordeal this would be until later. In the afternoon, I worked at Emma and Maya’s house since they both weren’t feeling so well. It was hard work hauling endless amounts of baro (mud) and tejas (roofing tiles). The weather also started to turn as it got pretty cold, rained some, and actually started hailing several times.
That evening Maya was feeling terrible with severe stomach cramps. Nothing we were doing was helping so I made the call to take her in. We hiked down the mountain which took about 30 minutes, then had to wait for a taxi for another 30 minutes. Then it was an hour taxi ride to Ollantaytambo where Molly was waiting to take her another 30 minutes to the clinic. We are really in a remote village!! So I took Alex (who was feeling better) to a hotel in Ollantaytambo. It was really nice to have a bed and warmth for a night, and we even ate at the Blue Puppy (a restaurant we ate at way too many times last summer…).
Thursday was inauguration day! That is the day where we present the families with the guinea pigs and have a celebration. So we went back up the mountain with Molly, Maya, Alex (both doing much better), Max, Gabe (my boss), Mo (another Rustic guide) and all the guinea pigs for the families. This time, I finally got to ride a horse to the top. Whoa. I honestly thought I was going to kill that thing. It was so steep, rocky, treacherous, and slippery. But the horse made it, and in retrospect it was a fun little adventure.
Larry, Aubrey, Kris, and Natalia
We first dressed up in traditional clothes so we looked just like all the people we had been working with. We also did the traditional dance where the guys whip each other with rope. Alex got the best shot on me, but it didn’t hurt too badly. After that, I went with Maya and Emma to their house since I knew their family the best. We presented the guinea pigs, broke the pot of cheecha, and put the bull statues on the top of the structure. The whole time it was pouring down rain. But we hung out in their house and burned cow chips to stay warm (they didn’t smell too bad).
Breaking the Cheecha Pot
Finshed Galpone with Bull Protectors on Top
Then it was back down to camp for the big dinner. We had guinea pig, chicken, rice, potatoes, tortillas, and a bean salad. The food was good, and it was fun to share the meal with all of our families. Several kids from the kindergarten class also performed the Goose dance for us, it was really cool to see the traditional dance. Earlier in the week we actually bought books written in Quechua that told the history of the dance to donate to the kids.
After the Dance
After dinner we had a huge soccer game with all the guys from the village. The field was very wet and I went down in a puddle. It was fun, but we were so cold and wet all we wanted to do was get into a tent, play cards, and warm up. Emma went down with the rest of the crew because she was still not feeling better. Little did she know how happy she would be to do that…
The weather is one thing that has been totally different this summer. I expected it to be colder at the high elevation, but all the rain is very unusual for this time of year. In 8 weeks last summer, it rained once for about 20 minutes. It has already been two days of lots of rain so far. It apparently never rains during this season, so it is definitely strange.
Tomorrow we say goodbye to our families and head to another campsite. I will be sad to go. One thing I like about this village is that it is so remote organizations never come up to help them with anything. I am proud of the kids for putting up with the long hikes in order to help them out.