Journey Up the Winding Road
My hands caught a chill as I gripped the metal bars of the truck we stood upon but moving them was far from an option as my body violently swayed back and forth. The dirt road ahead seemed to weave on forever -- switchback after switchback. Slowly the half constructed buildings melted away and were replaced by fields of potatoes and greens. Men and women worked the fields, their small hunched bodies identifiable only by the radiant ponchos they wore. The ponchos were a sure sign they are from the high mountain community, Canchacancha. That is our destination for the first day working with the Llama Pack Project but we still have a long drive and trek before we reach the village. Yet, these villagers are far from home working the fields. This is their usual day though. They rise early to make the downward trek, a minimum of 6 miles, to lower lands where more crops are able to grow. Their feet only clad with sandals made of tires and backs weighed down with provisions for the day. For hours, they bake in the sun working just to ensure their families livelihoods. Then, a steep ancient Incan trail is their only way back to their huts. This is their lives and they are so far from mine. This drive put so much of my life into perspective. All of my "problems" faded into mindless complaints. Instead, I was able to focus on the moment and wow was it beautiful.
By Celia Gottlieb