This afternoon, the remaining group in the Chimbote area (Lisa, Ana, Ada, Denise, Amado, and the missionaries: Tessa and Nicholena) traveled with the Pushaq Warmi women’s group to the Pamparomas area. We supported the women’s group as they met here with a small community in the mountains (about 30 people ranging ages from young to old). They gave a presentation covering multiple important topics (chief among them, self-respect and the importance of cleanliness in preventing disease). The Pushaq Warmi group did a great job in conveying their group message and the concepts that they had brought for discussion. Following the presentation, the Pushaq Warmi women demonstrated crafts that could be made out of plastic trash bags to hopefully stem one type of trash in the area. The used bags were cut into strips that were woven together to create decorative hats or other craft items as well as a bouquet of flowers. By the end of the craft session, everyone was excited with the possibilities of what could be created. With some effort, the community will be able to kill two birds with one stone: eliminate a major source of trash while also creating crafts that might fuel a source for business. Our full group was welcomed with open arms and by the time we had to leave (to beat the encroaching darkness for our drive back to Pamparomas), the community was asking for a return trip.
The Pushaq Warmi Women’s Group Conveying Important Messages to a Rapt Crowd
Turning Trash into Art
Tonight, the group is camped out at 9000 feet at Pamparomas in the Andean Mountain range. We’ve left the warm, humid weather that we’d been mired in throughout the week in Chimbote and are all bundled up tightly for a night of fresh, chillier air amidst the mountains. It was an interesting day of travel. Leaving Chimbote, you drive through arid and barren deserts. Those cede to vast fields of sugar cane as you approach the inland mountains. As you begin to rise in elevation, the land becomes greener and you start to catch some of the rain that is so tantalizingly close but eludes Chimbote. The path up the mountains is not for the faint of heart (or stomach). You travel a winding one-lane road that becomes thinner and thinner as you make your way higher. As you climb ever higher, the paved road ends, giving way to dirt roads that have been visibly washed out in areas. The small, packed van hugs tightly and precipitously to the edge of those mountain roads. The mountains froth forth with water in various places from the rains at its peaks, and the van has to ford those small streams where the water crosses. But the pay-off at your destination is worth the treacherousness of the journey. In the mountain community, the mountains open up and you can see out towards a vista that extends towards the ocean. A thick layer of low hanging clouds from the ocean air fills the gap between the mountains, creating a sea of white, complete with waves and ripples. Behind you the mountains stretch ever higher and are topped with their own set of rain-bearing clouds. Hidden from the rest of the world, it would be quite a beautiful and serene place to live. Cows, pigs, sheep, goats, and chickens roam the mountainside feeding on the gifts of the land (in a few places, we had to slow our travel to allow cows to pass across the road). We were also treated to a fantastic (and filling!) lunch this afternoon. Some of the group even ventured to try the cuy (if you don’t know, don’t look it up, you probably don’t want to know). As is typically the case in this area of Peru, the fixed menu (which included a soup, meat, potatoes, and rice) was heavy on food, but light on the wallet, costing only 10 soles (about US$3.33).
Our Intrepid Travelers and Their Steed (not quite the 4WD vehicle one would expect for this trip)
The Vista – Como Un Mar De Nubes
Cuy (thankfully this was only a small piece and I didn’t get the head, not sure I could eat that)
Though the folks from this area are acclimated to the altitude and having to walk uphill/downhill to get anywhere, we’re all exhausted from the few short hikes that we took throughout the afternoon. The children in Pampa were literally running up and down the mountain in circles around us as we struggled at a snail’s pace to make the same climb. Nearly the entire group turned in for the night near 9 pm after the full and thrilling day. Tomorrow, we get to experience the fun drive again as we make our way back down to Chimbote… Here’s to hoping the brakes work!