Staying with the Aymara

Eva Piccozzi stepped into the past when she visited the Islas Flotantes, (floating islands), and stayed with an indigenous family on the larger Amantani Island in Peru. Her GoNOMAD article A Homestay on Lake Titicaca describes the beauty of simplicity and the things you might miss about home.

“After lunch we walked to the top of a hill to the temple of Mamapacha (the mother earth) to watch the sun set below the lake. Native women sat hunched around their sales display of alpaca woven hats, scarves, and sweaters, while their children ran between the legs of the foreigners showing off their braided string bracelets.

A couple of boys walked alongside of us as we ascended the hill, blowing Andean folksongs through their wooden pipes. They played in perfect two-part harmony, while the hikers trudged along gasping for air. We watched the sunset from the temple of Mamapacha, from the same location in the sky where the Inca had watched it a thousand years before as they made sacrifices to the gods.

That night I didn’t sleep well. I kept awaking to the sound of the wind rapping against our tin door and broken glass window. At around four o’clock in the morning I got bundled up and walked outside in complete darkness to find the outhouse.

The farm animals generated the only noise on the island at that hour. The waves calmly curled onto the shore, and I felt as though I was floating along in a peaceful dream world.”