Our Plan to Help one Small Village in Peru.

Our Plan to Help one Small Village in Peru.


Adios Adventure Travel

Our Plan to Help One Small Village in Peru

 

Adios Adventure Travel is a small tour operator in Peru with an office in the US. On a recent trip to Peru, one of our local guides, Klever, and Victor, our young Inca Trail cook, took me to visit the village of Kallipata, to meet our Inca Trail porters in person. Klever knows that I have participated in many service projects and medical mission trips in Peru. Our goal was to survey the needs of the villagers with the intention to organize a medical mission trip. After all, why shouldn’t we support the families who ultimately support our company and the groups who travel with us?

 

If licensed guides are the face of our company, the porters are the backbone. They are essential to the success of every multi-day hike, not just the Inca Trail. They carry all the equipment, including up to 11 lbs of personal gear for each hiker. They set up camp, prepare and serve meals, and as each hiker arrives in camp each day, the porters greet them with individual bowls of warm water and towels for a quick wash.

 

It’s difficult for anyone other than guides to communicate directly with porters because most travelers don’t speak Qechua, their native language. Some porters speak enough Spanish to communicate with guides and Vidal Jaquehua, Adios Adventure Travel co-founder and logistics coordinator. Language barriers and limited contact (porters hike ahead to have everything ready when you arrive) make it difficult for visitors to get to know them.

 

 sustainable travel 

 

So Klever, Victor and I took a trip to Kallipata. Victor comes from the village. He is the son of a porter named Mariono. And Victor is the bridge between two worlds. He is an affable young man in his early 20s. The first time I met him about a year ago, he barely made eye contact. But there’s nothing like 4 hours in a small car on a kidney-crushing road to create a bond. We chatted in Spanish, as well as English, (Victor’s 4th language he is still learning). Klever comes from the village of Cachiccata, in the Sacred Valley. He is a natural born leader and is an advocate for the people of his village. Many of whom he claims are his extended family. Both young men donated their time and coordinated the logistics to accompany me.

 

From Cusco, we drove 4 hours one way, beginning on pavement and eventually driving more than 2 hours on gravel and dirt. At one point, the men got out of the car to push it through a small creek situated in a sharp turn. We finally edged up into the only open space in the village. The soccer field. And the porters came up to welcome us.

 

Klever guided everyone to sit on the soccer field and we began introductions and explanations for our visit. I soon realized that their priorities were not what any of us had anticipated. The porters described their needs in order of priority:

 

1. the most important need was help to build shelters for their livestock.

2. access to dental care

3. school supplies

 

I asked them to show me an example of the shelter they needed. We paraded to a 3-sided mud brick building with a tin roof. They had the mudbricks, the lumber and the building know-how. They needed help with funding to buy concrete, nails and corrugated roofing. And they could use a hand withbuilding the structures.

 

adios adventure travel

 

Next we walked up to the local Catholic church. Anyone who has worked on service projects in South America knows the important relationship with local Catholic infrastructure. And like most villages, the church was the newest building in town. This church had an adjoining wing with rooms on 2 floors.We entered the huge meeting room and sat around the perimeter to discuss our plans. Klever was an amazing facilitator, listening to each porter, translating and interacting between all the men and me. Victor lingered nearby, ready to help with anything. I noticed he joked and laughed and interacted with everyone.

 

A woman wearing a bowler hat entered the rear of the room wearing the traditional bundle on her back. She spread the bundle on the floor and pulled out enamel plates, which she loaded with boiled potatoes. And roasted guinea pigs. Victor served Klever and I a plate each. The guinea pig face sneered at me, frozen in time. And their little paws jutted out waiting to be torn off and eaten. Klever ripped a leg off and started eating it. Then whispered to me, “aren’t you a vegetarian?” To which I replied, “YES!” He motioned to Victor who whisked away the plate and returned with boiled potatoes. To my relief, the guinea pig was shared among the porters.The lead porter eventually asked me what my favorite food was. I thought about this carefully before I said, “huevos.” (eggs)

 

We all decided to choose one person in the village to be our contact person. And I gave them some homework. I asked them to list the items they needed to build one shelter and to estimate the cost. And they could send the information through Victor on Facebook.

 

Soon it was time to load up the car. Leftover guinea pig parts were wrapped in paper and placed in the rear of the car. (Right next to my backpack!) There were hugs, smiles and 80 kids poured out of the small school to chase the car down the road.

 

adios adventure travel

A woman ran out of the house nearby and scurried to the car before I closed the door. She handed me a bowl of very hot hard-boiled eggs. Any doubts I had about the ability of a small company to make a difference, were banished by the time I left. I’m sure our small company can assist one small village with a few small projects that will have a huge impact. When we go back to the village to help build the shelter, I got a feeling I’ll be eating lots of omelettes.

 

 

Jacquie Whitt

Adios Adventure Travel
Co-founder/Director US Operations
 

 

About TIES


As the world's oldest and largest international ecotourism association, TIES seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, sustainable travel..

 

 

 

> The International Ecotourism Society 

 

ESTC


The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will highlight global challenges and local opportunities, supporting sustainable development of tourism and promoting solutions that balance conservation, communities and sustainable travel.

Connect to Us   


Become a Fan of TIES   Share Your Videos with TIESLinkedIn   Pinterest

   Google Plus Vimeo