Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The simple, yet happy lives of the locals on Amantani Island

I'm back from a 2 week hiatus. Well, my two week South American 'adventure'.

The highlight being trekking the challenging Inca trail over four days and arriving at the spectacular Machu Pichu, the lost city of the Inca's. Amazing stuff.

The lowlights? There were many. Mainly frustrations like road blocks due to farmers strikes, train strikes, almost having a car accident.. oh, and getting caught in the middle of a football riot. Fun and games.. but part of the 'experience'.

But this isn't my facebook page so I won't bore you with my personal journey and pull out scrapbooks and slide shows of my trip.

Though I did want to share my other trip highlight, and that was spending a night with a local family on Amantani Island.

This beautiful island on Peru's Lake Titicaca is home to just under 4,000 people. This was a real eye opener and a very moving and humbling experience.

The locals there have no electricity, no running water, no real income and survive on almost entirely locally produced goods, which usually involves no meat. The staple diet is vegetables, rice and pasta.

Their existence is simple, but they are happy.

Their lives are uncomplicated, and they live long.

So what are you on about Jonathon? What did you learn?

That we can occasionally turn the crackbery, errrr Blackberry off and the world won't spontaneously combust (hard for me to get my head around before this visit).

That even the most basic existence can truly make people happy.

That fundraising from the frontlines really is the best way possible. Now, I wasn't there to fundraise, but boy can I tell a story about these amazing people having visited there? It prompted me to again think of the need to get closer to our work in order to tell stories.

This really was a humbling experience. I was completely disconnected from the rest of the world living with these people for a day. They reminded me of the importance of good health, family and the need to smile.

Some subtle but important life lessons and reminders amidst lots of doom and gloom.


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