Sunday, 31 January 2010

Waterfall a plenty

In the last few days I have visited 2 sets of waterfalls within traveling distance of Cajamarca. The first at is only about 13km and just a stone's throw from the pretty village of Llancora. We went on a Sunday and there were several others enjoying the short and pleasant walk to the falls. From the  attractive plaza and its gardens there is an easily found path at first passing some small bodegas, one of which sold great chicharrones and mote at 2 soles a bag. They were very tasty. The waterfall weren't stunning but attractive enough and it was amusing to watch some of the locals were enjoying trying to get under them.

The next day we visited San Marcos a small and somewhat grubby town about an hour and quarter's drive, 63 km on route 3N South East of Cajamarca. The road is good but we left early without breakfast and I felt a little sick in the back of the Combi which cost us 7 Soles, less than 2 pounds. St Marcos is a small rural and somewhat dusty town but it has a nice square and church and we had a chicken soup breakfast, a variety of breafast that I am still coming to terms with.

At around 8.30 we were collected by Amparo and Ronald is a Combi which looked as if it had seen better days. Amparo is project leader running a Swiss funded eco/agro tourism project in a tiny village of Huayanay about half an hour further up in the hills. The village is set around a grass plaza and comprises 12 families and dwellings including a shop and church. It has no electricity or constant water but has a satellite telephone.

The project for this week is to render 1 of the 2 waterfalls about 60 metres below accessible by creating stone steps winding down a steep incline. The point of this is to attract tourists and this funds to this pretty isolated location.

Luckily Amparo is a highly resourceful person and with wit and charm she helped organise chains of workers passing large uneven stones down to others below who were constructing the path. More or less the whole of the village was engaged in this with women and children passing down some large and very heavy rocks. At lunch time we stopped and had a good meal of rice, fried egg, soup and potato with lots of fruit juice to wash it down.

The waterfalls are really quite attractive and the whole site is a repository for different plant types and some wildlife. Two charming boys guided us to the second lower falls and the views of the valley from here are quite stunning.

At the day's end Amparo convened an informal town meeting where she reinforced some of the aims of the project and outlined new tasks and asked for support for the continuation of the labours. She distribited about 6 small eucalyptus plants to each family. Althouh this species is not native to Peru it grows quickly and provides firewood and prevents the cropping of indigenous trees.

As dark fell we headed back to San Marcos extremely tired but very satisfied by the day's work, made all the more fun by the kindness of our hosts, their good humour and honest endevours. I plan to visit again to help next week.

If you feel like helping in any way with this project let me know and I can put you in touch. Everyone is welcome and every penny spent seems to go to good use; the funding of only $7000 for this and some educational activities is small beer compared to the benefits being acrued.

1 comment:

Doug said...

Lovely pics. What are chicharrones and mote please? I'm hungry you see..