June 9, 2013

The Life on Uros Island

Wow, time flies!

Graduation has come and gone. My post-graduation, celebratory massive amazing trip to Peru also has come and gone. One more week until I start my new job and all I can say is... I'M EXCITED! Before I dive back into reality, I really need to put down some of my thoughts about this trip to Peru. It has always been on my bucket list to go to Machu Picchu and we did see these great Inca ruins and trek on the Inca trail. However, what really touched me more was the second half of the trip to Lake Titicaca. My minor dabbling in Anthropology in college taught me that in order to understand a culture, you have to see it yourself, experience it, immerse yourself in it. While this short trip didn't allow for me to go all Margaret Mead on the many people on Lake Titicaca it did show me quite a bit about how other people live.

Near the city of Puno, Peru on Lake Titicaca are a group of islands called the Isla Uros (Uros Islands) where the inhabitants live on floating reed villages. How to explain? Pictures are worth a thousand words so here goes....

The Uru people live on these man made islands, and survive on the benefits of the lake's tortora reeds for just about everything: dried reeds create structure for the island floor, huts, boats and are a means for bartering on the mainland. 

Reeds are also a source of nutrition; the white root is chock full of vitamins, minerals and medicinal benefit. Each island houses about 3-4 families. What's really interesting it that all of the local Uros people were obviously overweight/obese. With a diet of the lake's fresh fish and reeds, its hard to understand why....a pandemic of hypothyroid? Genetic disturbances? The tour guide framed it very simply...it's hard to get any exercise on an island that's 100 steps in any direction.

The local "economy" if you will, seems to subside on tourism, since we saw many similar tour boats docking on the islands on the morning when we arrived. 

We didn't stay long though...once we didn't seem interested in buying the souvenir handicrafts that had been laid out for us, we piled onto the reed boat and were jettisoned off to the next island on the Lake..... 

P.S. Read this book again: http://www.amazon.com/Material-World-Global-Family-Portrait/dp/0871564300/?tag=toofyoga-20