Dr. Roth, Natalie, and Stephanie – the three team members who had already visited Machu Picchu and didn’t want to pay $200+ to do it again – decided to spend their last day visiting Pucutuni, EWB’s first Peru project constructed in 2014. We wanted to ensure that the water system was still operating properly.
Like all our Peru projects, Pucunti was off the beaten track. We had to hike for about an hour before reaching the community, but it wasn’t that steep, at least not compared to Patiñeque! While we visited, there was barely anyone around – mostly donkeys hee-hawing at us for intruding their pastureland. We visited the water tanks and the tap stands, and we were pleased to find the water system functioning properly. Some of the tap stands were in need of minor repairs, but overall, the system was in good shape. We managed to find one family who was home, and when we asked them about the water system, they said that they used it regularly and that the broken tap stand was because of some “foreigners” who had come and broken it. Fortunately, those foreigners were not us.
Meanwhile, the Machu Picchu crew had a very long night on a bus with little sleep. They had early morning tickets to avoid the tourist rush, though when they looked closely, they realized their tickets lasted for 12 hours. That meant 12 hours on a mountain in the middle of archaeological ruins. No one was sure what they would do on a mountain for that long!
According to Simon, “We were all kind of tired and cranky from the get-go.” But they loved it, and the 12 hours really wasn’t so bad. In fact, some of them felt it wasn’t enough time. They enjoyed the sites, went hiking along the trails, and tagged along on some guided tours they didn’t pay for. Wesley also got lost for about five hours. He started calling Dr. Roth and people back in North America for help, but the others eventually found him. Tyler also momentarily disappeared. He was found hiding next to one of the stone ruins, trying to get out of the heat.
Tonight, one of our team members will be flying back and everyone else will be leaving Peru tomorrow. It’s been a hectic week but a very rewarding one. The team is proud of how much it was able to accomplish in such a short time, and we are looking forward to seeing progress on the electrical system when we come back in June. We know how excited the community is about having electricity, and we believe it will bring about positive changes to their lives, allowing them to start small business and giving their children the opportunity to study at night. Jorge, one of the electricians, put it eloquently: “We’re doing something beautiful because we’re giving the community light and bringing them out of darkness.”