The family we stayed with on Taquile was headed by the ever-smiling father, Patricio and his wife Anastasia. Our friend Patricio has several children, I asked him how many and he smiled and said “enough now”. Some of his children were not on the island, the eldest of them were away studying. Hilda, the oldest daughter seen in the photo, was the one who received us and brought us to our temporary home. This is when we first met Patricio. Having rushed home to great us, no easy task at this altitude I promise you, Patricio was completely black. As is the way here, where the extended families and groups of families called ayllus all cooperate and help each other, Patricio had been working hard all morning helping to build his brother-in-law’s new home.
Later that evening we were taken to the top of the island’s highest hill, and when we returned to the bottom we were approached by a spotlessly clean man wearing a chuyo (as seen in the photo) and a big smile. We didn’t recognise our host until he reintroduced himself.
The family keep a number of animals on their small plot of land, mostly sheep, some of which had had lambs. The family almost never eat meat – the animals are just too valuable. I’m not a vegetarian, but the food served was out of this world. Olluco (like potato but a different species), some potato, a boiled egg and some vegetables all in a stew – with little or no condiment. I have never tasted anything so natural. I have never felt so nourished. No chemicals – no pesticides – no pollution.
We brought with us to the island about 10 bananas and a few mandarins which we gave to the family as gifts – an exotic treat for the islanders, one for which they thanked us for and said they really enjoyed.
We had a good nights sleep in our very comfortable but a little chilly room and bid the family farewell in the morning. Hilda took us down to the dock to catch a boat to another island, Taquile.