Monthly Archives: August 2007

Andean Mountains: The Sacred Valley of Peru

We have been taking day trips into the Andean mountains… today, on route in our journey; the taxi stopped in the middle of nowhere and went to speak to some people on the side of the road. The taxi driver was gone for awhile then came back, rolling a spare tire that he had borrowed from someone building an adobe house… that sets me up for an optimistic drive into the mountain back roads of the Sacred Valley…

The pavement far behind us, we continue gaining elevation on the steep, bumpy boulder roads, the air thick with dust and the one lane traffic winding through the mountains higher and higher until finally, there were no more mountain peaks looming above us, we were driving on the top of the mountain range….

We finally arrive at a small village -a textile community which rarely sees tourists (my kind of traveling)…The community was dressed in their traditional colours, felt hats for the women and woven beaded hats the colours of the rainbow for the men, colourful cloths to carry their bambinos (babies)…The whole community was like a big family, they weave together, about 50 or so adults…their weaving looms set up in the center of a common yard. Someone is responsible forwinding wool into thread, a section of the yard was set up for dying the lama wool various earthy colours (they use salt and men’s urine to cure or set the colour in the wool) …I will never look at another hand woven cloth the same again….

The community is more like an interdependent family… everyone helps each other, and everyone is responsible for taking care of the village elders. It is a sign of respect to great the elderly as mama and papa, as everyone elder is considered everyone’s mother and father.-Back to the textile community…baby lambs were bleating, puppies and a rooster were roaming around with the numerous small children laughing and playing…When the village stopped working to eat lunch…a large soup pot was carried out of a common room, the whole community was fed, and we were served the smoked soup also… (a clear broth withquinoa, wheat berries, some chewy meat and vegetables)… I was told it was called -in translation… old hen soup….  a rooster was hanging around the soup pot and an older lady kept chasing it away from the soup… hmmm. I wonder if the roosters’ relative ended up in the daily soup??We did get a flat tire on the bumpytravels back to the valley… glad our driver had the foresight to imagine that his thin tires would not last for the journey home.

The Andean People of the Sacred Valley in Peru

I was honored to witness an Andean celebration yesterday, with the procession line heading through the town market of Pisaq, everyone adorned in various colours of sacred dress, the elders and tribal healers wearing proud ceremonial headdresses of feathers, bones, leather and beads… Men and young boys playing wood flutes and young girls wearing woven headbands, huge smiles and carrying armfuls of sage.

I have met so many amazing people in Peru… a wise older woman, bent from years of living, perhaps 4 feet tall, her face lined from the sun and from the memories of a long life… and her eyes….I approached her and made connection, her eyes drew me in….she allowed me to photograph her… not in a way in which she was posing, but instead she connected with some distant memory and truth inside of her, gently smiled and let that truth show through the photo…

There are many children in the market, dressing up in their traditional clothing holding baby lambs or a tiny dog, who want to sell a picture… we pay them to capture the ‘traditional’ looking moment.

The Andean people are so striking, beautiful, their woven alpaca and wool clothing, traditional felt hats (women wear flowers in their hats if they are single and looking for a suitor!), gentle eyes, quick to smile and faces full of character… I often see them traveling with enormous packs on their backs, carrying a pile of eucalyptus leaves tied together, or a child under a colourful blanket.

It is common for the women to travel daily, (from high up in the mountains, down the steep mountain slopes) to the village in the valley, every day to sell their wares…Extremely fit and used to the high altitude, they can almost run up and down the mountains, traveling light footed on the tips of the narrow, steep stairs, (which have been painfully carved out of rock and set into the mountain over many years) They do not fight to balance like me, as I rest my feet carefully on the flat steps themselves (and at times stumble from the steep grade), but instead these skilled hikers balance on the point of the stair and run resting their feet only on the tips of the stairs… definitely Andean acrobatics and sure footing.

Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary Essential OilRosmarinus officinalis

Rosemary essential oil is an effective topical application for clearing congestion in conditions of allergies, colds and flu,diluted in a steam or hot bath, it helps to open the sinus cavities. It is a stimulant used to enhance mental capacities and combat fatigue, uplift the spirits and used topically for aching muscles, arthritis, rheumatism or sports injuries. Topically it can be added to shampoo to help stimulate circulation to the scalp and for hair loss. Avoid use in pregnancy, if epileptic or suffer from high blood pressure.