Monday, April 14, 2014

Playing Catch Up

Since I have only been here for a short time, I thought I should share my recent travels that happened over spring break.

My sister and I were given the opportunity by an American missionary in Peru to go help a village that has a no running water. We were to help change out the carbon water filters and clean the water filtration systems that were distributed among 50 residents of this village. My sister and I along with the mission team spent 3 days on the project. We stayed in a town with running water about 30 minutes from the village. While we were in Peru, we also took up the chance to see Machu Picchu.

This is the way to get around anywhere. I don't know what it is called in Spanish, which is the language of Peru, but we just called it a "MotoTaxi." It cost about 50 cents to ride.

The Peruvian flag flying at a school.

The village was told that we would arrive and pick up the water filtration systems at the local clinic. Once the word got around that the gringos were in town, it seemed like half the village beat us to the clinic. Above is just a few of those that received a water filtration system. The lady in the doorway in the blue uniform is the village's nurse. She informed us of which families had the biggest need for the water filtration systems.

These are the carbon filters that are placed in a bucket. Dirty water goes in the bucket with the filter, water passes through the filter, and water drips out the bottom of the filter into another bucket that is to hold the clean water. The filter on the left is the new filter. The filter on right is one that has been used for 6 months. 

Storms come in off the Pacific Ocean and hit the eastern Andes mountain range. The majority of the rainfall heads back into the ocean while a small portion goes down the western side of the Andes. To help capture the small runoff west of the Andes, dams were created. After the creation of a dam upstream from this village, rivers were diverted to send water to the rural areas. This is the river that runs through the village. It is the life support of all rural villages in this area. The river is a one stop shop for all your water needs. You drink from it, bathe in it, the livestock wade in it, and kids play in it. The cement object to the left is for the farmers. The farmer will open a valve and water will flood his field.

One of the girls of the village was excited to help us with one of the water filtration systems.

We decided one afternoon to take a trip to the market. After passing through the meat market that would have been closed down by the USDA at first sight, we were excited to have sight of the fruit market and the varieties of fruit we never see even at the local H-E-B.

This wasn't the first time these kids have been around Texas A&M Aggies, so they knew to throw a "Gig 'em" sign up when the camera was out. Behind us are some of the villagers who were getting ready to watch the soccer match that the Peruvians invited us to play in; Peru vs. U.S. 

We ended up losing just by a few goals, so you could say we fared well.

This woman was kind enough to prepare us lunch that day. She killed a chicken that morning for us to eat. I don't think they kill chickens too often, so this was her way of showing thanks. The dish was seasoned chicken and fried rice.

We left the village that afternoon and arrived in Cuzco that night. Pictured is the Plaza de Armas.

The following morning we embarked on our quest to Machu Picchu. We first took a taxi to Ollantaytambo to then take a train to Aguas Calientes, which is the base city for Machu Picchu.

The train had a see-through roof. The orange colored plants on the cliff are bromeliads.

We made it to Aguas Calientes. Here, we stayed the night at a hostel. Featured above is two dogs fighting, one in overalls.

The next morning we woke up around 5 a.m. and jumped on a bus to the city of Machu Picchu. The picture above shows the Inca's way of distributing water to their city.

Most people would think that the llamas on Machu Picchu roam wild, but they are all tagged which makes me believe that the Peruvian government placed them here for the tourists.

Not long after arriving to Machu Picchu, we began the ascent of Machu Picchu Mountain, which lies above the city ruins. It was very foggy and humid all morning, which gave me great pictures of some of the flowers blooming along the way.  

After approximately a two hour hike, we arrived at the top of Machu Picchu Mountain. According to the sign, the altitude is 3,082 meters which is about 9,934 feet. The city of Cuzco, altitude of 11,152 feet, actually sits higher than Machu Picchu does. 

It was too foggy to take a decent picture of the city ruins from the mountain. This picture was taken late morning after we had trekked back down the mountain and as the fog started to roll out of the city. Lying behind the city is Wayna Picchu Mountain, which also has ruins on top of it. You can hike Wayna Picchu as well, but you must make reservations for it.

To my surprise, we found workers restoring the ruins. It is kind of an ironic scenario, but when you have a wonder of the world such as Machu Picchu, you'll probably want to keep it for as long as possible. 

The Inca farmed by terracing the mountain like seen above. The city is divided into the agriculture side, which consists of many terraces, and the residential side. 

Close up of the detail put in to the placement of the stones.

Machu Picchu was the final leg of our trip, and after we had looked around the city a little more after our hike we headed towards the exit. It was a pretty exhausting day overall. We spent around 6-7 hours in total just to get to Machu Picchu, look around, hike, look around again, and be back at our hostel. After exiting Machu Picchu, we began the trip back to Lima to catch our plane to the states. We all had to be at school again in two days. The trip was something to remember, so what I'll leave you with is the last picture I took in Peru.


  1. What a beautiful place. Hope to see it one day.

    1. It's a great place. Somewhere I would go back

  2. I'm enjoying your blog, Caleb. Your Peruvian photos are wonderful. I put a link to The Wood Fence on my blog. Hope it brings a few new readers your way.