machu picchu – day2
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mother earth

Today, was the first tour-day and the guides took us 30 miles south and east to a rural community in the Urcos region. Community, in this instance, refers to extended families working together for their common good. To reach the community we took the Interoceanic Highway an east-west, two-lane road that spans 1,600 miles from Peru’s Pacific coast, across the Andes, through a large part of the Amazon rain forest and into Brazil where it connects with a network of existing highways ending at the Atlantic.

The Cuyuni community operates a way-station for pilgrims going to the glacier in the adjoining mountain range as well as hosting tourist group like ours. In the above image, the community wise-man and an assistant are performing a ritual to Mother Earth. And the goal of the ritual is to honor and ask Mother Earth for her help with their crops, their animals and their families.

The community is slowly building the tourist side of their business. The tour package included a 2-mile trek through their properties, various ceremonies, a weaving demonstration and lunch. Also, the group is slowly building up a gift-shop that stocks hand-made items that their women have woven. The above image is a table runner I shot while browsing.

A side note: Potatoes were being harvested at various plots in their large holdings. At one point, two community women stopped at a smoldering mound and began to dig into the hot earth uncovering potatoes roasted in the ashes. With their thick roasted skins and natural sweetness they were amazing.