pulmones más anchos
November 21, 2010
I need pulmones más anchos (lungs with more capacity) to live here. Holy goodness. Today I went with la hermana Deidy, the youngest nun that they have here in Perú (31) to visit an old farmer that lives by himself. He is 85 years old, and lives 45 minutes away from Chuschi, which is the nearest town. I should clarify that it takes 45 minutes to get from Chuschi to his farm, but about and hour and a half to get back. (You have to climb back up the mountain). It is a beautiful view as you are walking down, but it is pure rock and gravel.. we almost fell about 10 times each.
Deidy warned me as we were going down to visit him that he lived in a shack. He has enough money to buy a house but he doesn’t want one, he feels most comfortable living next to his chakra (crop). When we finally arrived, which included jumping over two stone walls, climbing through a grove of cactus, and over a barbed-wired fence, we were greeted by the sweetest old man I have ever met.
Don Gregorio, the man, then invited us to come to his house and sit down. I was in shock when I saw how he lives. Don Gregorio lives in a teepee which is smaller than the size of a twin bed, and about three feet tall. It is constructed of a wood frame, and then he places grass over it for protection.
(Below is a picture of his house)
Don Gregorio speaks very little Spanish, but he understands it. Between his understanding of Spanish and Deidy’s understanding of Quechua we were able to communicate for the most part. We spent just over an hour with him, just talking to him. His wife died, and he has two sons that live in Lima, but never come to visit him because they are embarrassed of how he lives.
He has three dogs, and one of them has just had puppies three weeks ago. There were five of them, and as he has nothing, the puppies are starving to death. Don Gregorio told us that he is going to give the puppies away this coming Friday to anyone that wants one. They were SO CUTE. If I could have I would have adopted one, not even kidding (David you should be grateful that it is so expensive to fly dogs to the states).
After visiting with Don Gregorio, Deidy asked me if I wanted to go down to the river. I said of course, not thinking about the fact that we would have to climb back up. So after another 30 minutes of trekking down the mountain we finally arrived at the river.
The river is where all of the locals go to wash their clothes, and many go to bathe as well. We tried to avoid the naked bathing people, but it was almost inevitable. The view was breathtaking. The sky is so blue and pure here, there is no noise, and no contamination at all.
We then crossed the only bridge within 40 miles, which we decided was not too smart of an idea, as it literally swayed and creaked as we walked across it. Thankfully cars can’t get to this bridge, as there was a landslide that closed the road.
After enjoying the view we came to the realization that we needed to climb back up the mountain to get back to Chuschi. Over two hours later we finally arrived. On the way up we discussed how don’t understand how the people here climb up and down practically every day. As we were struggling up the mountain, a woman passed us, not breathing hard at all, with a one-year old child on her back. We decided that the people here have to have much larger hearts and amazing lung capacity.
I can’t believe that my time here in Chuschi is almost up. I will leave here at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, spend the day in Huamanga (Huamanga is better known as Ayacucho, which is also the name of the province. However, people that aren’t from the city get offended if you call it Ayacucho because they technically live in Ayacucho as well) and then take the bus back home to Lima at 9:00 p.m. One of the nuns is going to go with me, and we are going to spend the day in Huamanga sightseeing, as it is a beautiful city, and hopefully going to some the artesian markets.