I have visited all of the students in their homes, and have decided to not skip out on visiting Johnny’s family as well. I felt like I had spent that whole week on a bus because between the Nazca trip and the many buses to get to Johnny’s house, my other permanent home was the cramped seat of Peruvian bus companies.
We arrived to Johnny’s village at 4AM and then had to hike for an hour in the dark to get to his house. After some sleep we went sightseeing in the beautiful mountains (on horses!!! I rode a horse!) and drank fresh milk. Part of the trip consisted of getting to know his family and his surroundings, and so we visited his many uncles and aunts and were well fed in every house.
It is both heartbreaking and beautiful to see the houses of all the people. The people live completely different lives- in dirt houses, with no electricity or water...they go to bed with the sun and they rise with the roosters. It is a simpler life, but also a much more difficult life. In just the few days that I was there, I cannot say I was living in luxury and comfort. If I had to spend my life there, with my Western customs, I would have a list of complaints and difficulties in my life. But when you ask the students if they perceive to have any difficulties in their lives- they never say they do. They work in the fields in the mornings before school, don’t have the ability to pay for their education or any form of luxury in their lives, they often have many struggles with their parents, illnesses or other problems...but even after all of that, I haven’t had a single student complain a lot when asked about difficulties in their lives.
The second day of the trip we went to the nearby ruins to enjoy the festivities that were going on that week. The ceremony occurred with a beautiful backdrop of impressive mountains and beautiful ruins. To get there we had to take a truck which loaded all the people in the back. It was by far the scariest moment of my life and I had never so seriously thought I would die. The bus drove along a tiny, bumpy, and unfinished road. At one point it got to a really muddy hill through which it could not pass very easily. To the left of us was a massive cliff and the truck swayed left and right as it passed the hill. We were all convinced we would flip over. As the bus swayed left and right, dangerously close to the edge of the cliff, the people were screaming and crying out for God. The whole truck was falling on each other and holding on to each other’s tshirt as people around me screamed out “I have not done anything wrong. WHY GOD??” I was petrified. Thankfully, we passed the muddy part and safely arrived to our destination.
The rest of the trip went without a glitch and we had returned safely back to Ollantaytambo.
Enjoy the photos below!
Picking corn for lunch.