Day 67: Living with The Locals

Fri. 19th October 2012

Our house for the nightThis morning we were awoken by the sunlight streaming through the thin light curtains. Before we had time to stir there was a knock at the door from Janelli advising it was breakfast time. Our room is upstairs and the bathroom outside and downstairs – toilet and sink plumbed in for waste but not water in! A bucket of water is for flushing the loo. The shower is also plumbed but no shower head or water in!

Breakfast comprised of home baked (deep fried)  bread like yesterday and a boiled egg. Again we ate at our high table with Janet, our mama watching over us. Everyone else had already eaten.

We were then put to work. Dave helped build the wooden roof framework for a new house. Well he tried sawing but that was hard work at such an altitude. He then helped by standing on the wood whilst the men took it in turns to saw. Dave did come in handy when it came to putting the roof timbers up on the building as the short Peruvians could hardly reach! I was jealous of the beer Dave was given, even though it was not yet 10am.

The house Dave helped to buildI was given a knife to help with peeling potatoes. As the family was feeding their neighbours and also the men helping to build the house the red tub needed to be filled with peeled potatoes. After 1 1/2 hours peeling with a knife my hands were quite sore! Various ladies did come and help me peel and they were much quicker than me.

Others in our group helped their families by taking their sheep to graze or also peeled potatoes. Two of the fellows got to move some of the mud bricks in wheelbarrows, which was really hard work as the bricks are heavy and the altitude did not help.

Peeling spudsAfter a while we were told to sit outside along with the men who were building the house and were bought a bowl of vegetable soup with pasta and potatoes in it. Yes they were some of the potatoes I peeled!!

Once our work was done we went for walk and soon found we were to be accompanied  by Sebastian. He took us on some paths around the village and there were amazing views across the lake.

We had been instructed to be back by 11:30am for lunch, which comprised of boiled potatoes and fried cheese. Far too much potato (as we had been warned), we were quite full.

Mud bricks dryingIt was then time to say goodbye to our family – we hope we have been good children as instructed.

Again we were impressed by G Adventures and their initiative with the locals. However the children are leaving the community for the city and our money is helping them to improve their standard of living. It is a double edged sword and it will be interesting to see how this project is in, say five years time. We are glad to have done the homestay – at least here we can really say that we got to understand local life. Neither of us would wish to become subsistence farmers though!

Our new friend SebastianThe boat took us back to Puno and minibus to hotel. At the hotel we caught up with another G Adventure group who had stayed in the same village as us last night. They are doing the same tour as us but in reverse order. It sounds like Bolivia and Brazil will be as good as Peru. We hope so.

Once back at the hotel, we arrange for a change of room to one with a working shower, which we were grateful for.

Whilst Dave began his blog writing I took the opportunity to go and see the main Plaza in Puno. The cathedral was quite impressive. However there were very few tourists walking around town, so I felt a bit conspicuous.

As this is our last night with Shiry we had a farewell dinner and Tomas gave a great speech as we will miss her when we move on to Bolivia and the next part of our trip. Some of our group will be leaving too. This was followed by the promised (threatened) visit to a Karaoke bar. I had been suffering from a headache on and off all afternoon so we left the others in the noisy smoky bar and bade goodnight.

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