Friday, 5 February 2010

Hauyanay otra vez

Yesterday I went back to Hauyanay, the somewhat remote village community above San Marcos, Cajamarca. The project had come on well since my last visit and the 150 or so steps down to the waterfall had been completed together with balustrades and strategically places wooden seats to rest on one's return. The next stage is to construct a bridge come viewing platform.

On leaving Cajamarca at 6am I felt fortunate that I had found what I thought was a good seat on a spacious combi. Sitting at the back with my legs stretched into the central aisle was great until I discovered a fold-down seat in front of me and I was at once hemmed in by a fat lady to the right and a heavy man in front. As my knees and backside welded into super-structure of the bus and my near neighbours I attempted to find distraction in the equivalent of Romantic FM which was at least soporific.

On reaching San Marcos I notices a long line of campecino women with their tall hats waiting outside a municipal building for their £20 monthly stipend. I believe it is aimed at bringing them some measure of independence in the prevailing macho culture. I found a cantina serving hot caldo and was offered pig foot or head. I chose foot believing it the lesser horror and left the meat but enjoyed the soup with a little potato and pasta.

Setting off for the village at around 7.30 we arrived to our work. This entailed a 1 mile walk to a small wood of eucalyptus trees in which we cut down tall 'palos' using machetes and then used stones to loosen the bark which was peeled from the tree. We then carried these back to the village. I made 4 such trips and it was hard work. Some of the men (I was allowed to work with the women and children) were focusing on felling a large tree and then cutting it into planks to form the platform off the bridge on which people will walk. This was achieved skillfully with a huge chain saw but the afternoon's work only yielded 5 planks and 25 are needed!
At the day's end there was an opportunity to chat and I learned that one of the men had created a series of 4 line songs 'couplas' about the project and its environmental/touristic aims, to be sung in the traditional way during carnival.

On leaving there was a pretty sunset to compete the day and I returned by 9pm tired and hungry.

Some week later I received word that the bridge/viewing platform had been constructed and I am grateful to Amparo for sending me the fascinating photos which can be viewed HERE

Recently there has been a newspaper article on the sam project and you can find it HERE

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