Feb 24, 2012
Today we left Ollantaytambo and headed to our homestays in Ccaccaccollo. We stopped at a lovely produce market in Urubamba to pick up $10 Soles each of fresh fruits and veggies to give to our families.
Kristie and I got:
5 onions, 1 cucumber, a bunch of garlic, a bunch of cilantro, carrots, red pepper ($10 Soles)
1 avocado, 3 or 4 apples, 2 mangoes ($10.50 Soles)
All of this for less than $10 US
We then drove for about an hour before turning off the main very winedy, hilly road onto a very winedy, steep dirt road made for only one car at a time. Everyone was a little on edge (literally) as we drove up the mountain. Our driver was great and got us there safely though.
When we arrived, we were greeted by a few lovely women, a couple of kids and men. They welcomed us (translated by our G Adventures guide, Andres) with a beautiful message explaining that they were happy to have us, they welcome us and hope we will feel at home. They are very glad to have us and have awaited our arrival as much as they would any family member. It was really quite lovely and touching.
Each of us then got to meet our Mami (mummy) who greeted us with a hug and beautiful freshly picked flowers … even for the boys! Funny to watch the men in our group receive flowers, the looks on their faces … they really had no idea what to do with them.
Our Mami is Heedia. My understanding is that she lives quite a long ways away, so we are staying with her son, Pedro & wife Fransica and their children, Norberto, HabbyMeil and Deanna. There is also a lovely lady named Ruth who has a daughter named Melissa and I think her husband is Miguel. We’re really not quite sure how everyone is related, we might have the husband’s and wives switched, but it is clear that everyone is family.
Heedia showed us to our room in the home. It is upstairs in the family home. It has two beds with lots and lots of Alpaca blankets to keep us warm at night. It has low ceilings, a small door, wood floor and a couple of windows. It is simple, but clean.
The bad news is, the bathroom is outdoors and is a little bit of a walk to get to.
We had a bit of time to settle in before lunch. Ruth came to get us for lunch that was a lovely quinoa soup with sheep to start and then potatoes and rice as the main meal. They cook with a lot of cilantro here and everything seems to have good flavor. Lori and Monika also joined us for lunch because their Mami was in Cusco for the day.
After lunch we had time to look and touch Francisca’s hand made crafts. She showed us sweaters, scarves, hats, mittens, purses, dolls … the list goes on. These are all hand made and are really beautiful. I decided on a couple of scarves and a hat that totaled $140 Soles (or about $50 US).
Heedia then dressed us up in traditional attire. Get ready for this … as she was tying my skirt on she asked if I had a bambino (child) in my belly. I was a little hurt, but here it is quite a blessing to be pregnant, not offensive like if you asked someone that at home! And, just to be clear, the answer is no … no bambino in my belly! And here I thought I had lost some weight on this trip!
We all met in the main square dressed in traditional attire and headed out for a beautiful evening walk on some of the hills and trails. There were stunning views. It is amazing how high up in the mountains we are. Even more amazing is that they farm so much of the land. They work so hard and walk so far every day! As we went on this walk, the women were carrying a few of our small things as well as their children or grandchildren and spinning yarn or knitting as they walk. They do this all while balancing on small foot paths with sheer drops and erosion on the paths from rain and landslides. Me, I had to be extra careful with every single step!
We walked back to our homes at around 6:30pm and it just started to rain a little bit as we got home. Now, at 9pm it is pouring here.
We were called for supper at 8pm. We had cream of corn soup, cauliflower with an egg and corn crust and rice. Almost all of their food is grown right here in this community. We ended the evening with a mint tea (moonya) … fresh mint that is … it was picked while we were out on our walk this evening! It was very soothing, but made my nose run like a faucet. I have a cold that I’m battling. Hoping mint tea will fix me right up!
The funniest thing about supper time is that almost the whole family was there, the TV was on and the movie Terminator was on. It was fully in English with Spanish sub-titles. When the young boys saw it, they were very excited. Seems they had seen it before!
Now we tucked away in bed, listening to the rain and trying to stay warm. Hoping tomorrow brings sunshine (or clouds) as we have family photos to take!