Christmas in Raccachaca

Last year we hiked the Ancient Inca Trail to Vilcabamba and ultimately visited Machu Pichu, the ancient  capital of the Incas. We discovered that hiking over the six days at 4,000 meters altitude offered challenges that only the ancient tradition of chewing coca provided relief from, as well as strength to endure the climb. Most impactful was meeting the local indigeneous people who remain passionate about their Inca heritage and still live an ancient lifestyle devoid of modern convenience and in almost total isolation. Our guide Raul advised that to pass over the villager’s land we would do well to bring simple gifts of rice, oil or other foods rarely accesible to the villagers while Raul carried a cache of pencils and paper books as gifts for the children who did not attend school. At our first encounter the children ran up the hill from seemingly nowhere in anticipation of a fresh batch of pencils and coloring books. As we paused to greet them and hand over their gifts we had an opportunity to absorb the sheer magic of the moment; a memory that will stay with us for life. Later that day we descended into a lush valley cut by a rugged  river, fed by a rocky waterfall. At the intersection of this prime real estate was a grass shack  inhabited by an elder couple. “Simone”  was alone while her husband had made the three day trek into town. We were invited in to her home where we gifted her the simple food items we had purchased. Simone offered us coca tea and we sat in her kitchen hut, warmed by an open fire where she cooked her meals and furnished only by a pen in one corner which housed a dozen guinea pigs. We invited Simone to join us for dinner and later that night she walked half a kilometer to our tents guided by a candlelight. One of the Hikers had a wind-up flashlight that he gave her and it was then we realized Simone had never seen an electrical flashlight before – she was absolutly delighted with her new form of light. After dinner the discussion turned to the profound difference that these simple technologies could make in lives of Simone’s and the children (if they had access to electricity and lights). So, our goal this Christmas became the creation of a fund for the villagers of Racachacca. The purpose being to provide funds so that the children can attend school in the town (which requires them to stay in a carehome in town) and to provide simple solar electric systems that would allow them to read and such after dusk. If you are interested in helping please contact us, as we welcome sharing this opportunity to enrich the lives of the villagers of Raccachaca. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and the hope of health and happiness for you and your family in the New Year.

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