Sunday, 29 May 2011

Weaving in the hills

The more immersed I become into the life in the village, the more isolated I feel. I´m never going to be able to understand the mysteries and unravel the secrets. Even If I lived in Patacancha for the rest of my life I would still be an outsider, because I don´t share the same blood as the mountains. I can´t explain it any better. There is a mystery that runs deep within the veins of these people. Like an invisible thread that holds the fabric of their existence together.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Weaving in the bean fields

This week I managed to finish my first warp and Felicitas taught me the next pattern up. I took the sheep up the valley alond the river with Felicitas and her 3 year old. We ambled over rocky paths and settled by the water to harvest their broad bean crop. I could hear the wailing of the llamas and their bells ringing from the other side of the valley. On our side of the river the valley slowly curved upwards and was scattered with horses, boars, buffaloes, sheep grazing on the potato patches. Women were dotted about the animals keeping order, cooking potatoes and feeding their babies. We rested amongst the long grasses and wove until an old woman hobbled down to us with a bundle full of earth fired potatoes for lunch. The two women softly nattered to each other about husbands, gringos, weaving, children whilst the children rolled around with the stray dogs.

Weaving- weeks 1 and 2

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Áfter a week in Patacancha, a village with about 80 families at 4000m high in the heart of the Sacred Valley, I´ve returned to Ollanta for a hot shower and to satisfy my need for fresh avocados. The family i´m staying with work so hard, but are always happy and content. They never get angry or worked up and they laugh so readily, even though their farming life in the mountains is grueling. The village plant and harvest their potatoes at different times, so that they can all help one family at a time. The women share out weaving commissions, to make sure they all get a fair share of the profits. People depend on eachother outside the family unit to survive. They look after each other as if they were their own flesh and blood. The women breast feed each other´s babies and wipe their noses on their skirts. They feed others if they are around, and the kitchen door is always open to passers by who need to rest. They cant offer much, but rice and potatoes for every meal still tastes delicious. The family has three kids. The two eldest girls are 10 and 6 and go out to the hills every day in the bitter cold to look after their flock of sheep. They make fires out of dung to keep warm and cook potatoes for snacks. They are already miles ahead of most of us. I can´t begin to describe my respect and admiration for these people.