Part One: Barney’s Highlights
After far too long on far too many planes, our first sight of Arequipa was a refreshing thing. After having a rather unusual and undoubtedly foreign lunch we proceeded to potter round Arequipa perusing the shops. Our first taste of Peru was exotic and wonderfully mysterious.
Our trip took us further afield to the small town of Pinchollo, situated in the stunning Colca Canyon. Met by the lovely Señor Franklin and Señor Martin, we were all ready and raring to get to work. We set to work levelling the foundations for a Cultural House; mixing cement, sorting rocks and making the foundations for the local primary school; and digging an irrigation channel. It felt good to finally get to work. We had found our purpose!
On the third day – after work – we were treated to a craft fair put on by the local people. There were opportunities to buy a huge range of items. Many a poncho was bought. After that, a number of the group had the chance to dress in very traditional outfits and dance with the locals. Much hilarity ensued.
The fourth and final day’s work was only a half day – the afternoon reserved for washing, resting and an offering in the early evening. We were involved in ceremony during which we gave an offering to the earth, the sky, the mountains and the river. The local people believe that this would ensure the success of the work we were doing.
Saturday brought the big event of our stay in the Colca Canyon – a trek to the Condor Cross. The trek gave us our first real taste of what walking at altitude would be like. It was undeniably hard but the views were sensational. The condors soared overhead in all their glorious majesty making the whole trek feel worth while.
For me, the stay at Pinchollo has been my favourite part of our time here and I know the memories will stay with me for a very long time to come.