Personally, I think one of the highlights of our trip was our home stay in Luquina Chico and our quick tour of one of the floating islands in Lake Titicaca. We started the day early on our way to the port on tuk tuks.
On the floating island we visited, there were 6 families living there. Every month, these families elect a President and he usually stays on the island while the other husbands either go to Puno for work or go to a different part of the lake to gather more reeds. I think our guide mentioned that during winter or the rainy months, they usually add more reeds to the island about once a month and during the dry season, they add reeds every 15 days.
Santos, the elected President of this one floating island, explained to us the process of gathering the reeds, securing the island so it doesn't float away, where the children go to school and showed us some of the textiles they make by hand on the island.
fter our brief visit to the island, we made our way to Taquille island for lunch. It was a very steep climb to get to the top but it was definitely worth it especially with the breathtaking view.
Late in the afternoon, we finally got to the peninsula where we would spend the night and they welcomed us by kicking our butts with a friendly game of soccer. We got a chance to watch them dance, a dance they usually reserve for festivals, and then we got the opportunity to do some dancing as well (the hip movements associated wit he dancing was honestly very exhausting).
After the initial festivities, we went with our new papa Gabino, to have some dinner and to meet the rest of the family. Gabino is a quiet, distinguished and hard working man. We found out he is a 72 year old widower with 4 children. His youngest daughter, her husband and their 3 children, live with him. Since our stay coincided with Mother's Day, we brought a box of chocolates for Janet as well as a couple of little toys for the kids.
Most of the families on the island either have a cow or a small flock of sheep. Some people in our group got to milk a cow and some of us got the chance to become sheep herders. Gabino had a small flock of sheep and there were about 4 lambs in the group. I immediately decided that my favourite one was the black sheep of the family.
Considering that the main staple in their diet are potatoes, we had our fill of potatoes that weekend and we also got a chance to dig for them the next day (I realized digging for potatoes is a lot of hard work and will try not to take them for granted any more).
After our busy morning and one last meal with our family, it was time to say good bye. I know we were only there for less than a day but Gabino and his family have left a lasting impression on me. They support their families with hard labour and they work tirelessly every day. They live very simple, happy and content lives. That's something I should always keep in mind especially when I get overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of every day life