Ccaccolla, Peru: Living like a local

We arrived in Ccaccolla after a short drive from Ollantaytambo. Our driver parked in the “main square” of the town and we all filed out of the vehicle and were greeted by middle-aged Peruvian women dressed in traditional clothes, each holding a lovely colourful bunch of flowers. Our guide Grecia, translated that they had all welcomed us to their village. Then one by one each described the guests or said the names of the guests who would be staying with them. I heard one of them say “vegeteriano” and I thought, “yep that’s who I’m going with” (mind you I am not an actual vegetarian, I’m just picky with my meat, so this works better…).

Dani (the other vego in the group) and myself were handed flowers from this lady and we were told to follow her. We didn’t walk too far as she her house was in prime location – right on the main square! She showed us to the room that we’d be staying in, so we left our luggage and then followed her to the kitchen. She made us lunch – which consisted of a soup followed by rice and boiled vegies. She kept us company and we tried to have a conversation (neither Dani nor myself speak Spanish…) and I think we actually  did quite well! I asked her about her family and children etc and she replied using hand gestures and spoke half in Spanish and Quechua (native language before the Spanish invasion).

After lunch, she walked us to our room and dressed us in traditional clothes – which were very colourful! She then told us to go down to the main square where we would meet the rest of our group. A few minutes after we arrived, 2 other girls dressed similarly joined us. Slowly, the group had all arrived and were all dressed up. We went for a short walk with all of our mama’s (our hosts) and they explained how the weaving industry in this town came about and how the proceeds allow their children to get an education. After this informative walk, we went down to the football arena and played football in our outfits with the local kids. Some of us, mainly us Aussie’s, did seem to take it seriously – being very verbal (and occasionally screaming out Müllerrr to a German girl!). It was a lot of fun. We all went back to our mama’s houses and had dinner over conversations with the family members (well attempted to anyway…).

The next morning a few of us hiked up a small mountain and watched the sunrise – it was a nice sight! After breakfast, we all were taken to the hall where all the looms were located and were informed about the various patterns of weaving. We were also told that a woman should weave in order to be chosen for a good wife. We all then had a go at weaving using the looms – even a guy from the group had a go and all the mama’s laughed at him!!! We all then went to an area where they showed us the natural products for colouring the wool and how the whole process took place. Stalls enclosed the area and we were able to purchase scarves, gloves hats etc – which were all made from alpaca wool.

All in all, it was a nice experience to see how the locals lived and how they earned a living…