Over the last week, The Link School has been experiencing some of the breathtaking beauty of the highlands of Peru in the Andes. In this remarkably remote and high place (13,780+ feet is the place from which we began our hike up), people live simple lives, growing all the food they need, and producing some of the finest textiles in the world. Their homes are of nearly entirely local materials – stone or adobe, with either thatched roofs, Spanish tile, or tin, and a few small windows, and are only a room or two in size.
I have always wondered what these homes are like, these centers of life for the surprising number of people who live out in these areas, and we were invited into one by our head ariero (horseman – who carried all of our camping equipment on our trek) who is also a well-known shaman, and his wife, who is a well-known herbal healer – Pablito and Margarita.
The picture of the home from the outside, to a westerner, would be one of extreme poverty, yet the home was brimming with sufficiency. It was certainly nothing like I had experienced before. It consisted of just 2 rooms – a kitchen with an eating area that had a shelf and a fireplace in a corner for cooking, and the bedroom with a bed in it. There were 4 people who were living in this home – all sharing the 1 bed.
Upon our arrival, Pablito and Margarita welcomed us in, setting up benches for us to sit on, and bringing in stools. Jimmy, our guide, translated for us as Pablito and Margarita explained a bit about their work as Shaman and Healer. While Jimmy talked, 2 cats and 4 or so Guinea Pigs scurried around on the floor under our feet (a very common living arrangement in Peruvian homes). In the bed was a baby alpaca wrapped in a blanket. I didn’t find out why the alpaca was in bed, but it looked wet and cold (it had been raining a lot), and may have just been there to warm up and dry out.
This visit certainly made me grateful for all the good that I have in my life, and all the good, simplicity and beauty I got to witness in Pablito’s and Margarita’s.