the summer of 2010, we, a group of 14 engineering students from the University
of Michigan, got the chance to travel from our home University to the village
of Chupani to work on projects installing mud stoves inside villagers homes to
help relieve the health problems associated with indoor smoke pollution, and
constructing a weavers hut to promote equality for the women of the
village. The experience that we had over the next week was
adventure began with a 13km hike from our van’s drop point to the
village. While strenuous at times, we were rewarded with many
excellent experiences when we arrived. Waiting for us in the village were
tens of curious school children excited to see what these strange, fair skinned
foreigners who did not speak Quechua were doing in their home. Over
the week and through the language barrier, we managed to become great friends
dinner on the first night, we prepared for bed and were shown to our
huts. The huts were made of big rocks and mud. They had a
roof made of straw and no windows. Our beds were a layer of straw, with alpaca
hides over it, and one more blanket over those. We also rented sleeping bags in
Cusco and cocooned ourselves in those for extra warmth.
next days were filled with lots of laughs and even more work. We
divided our time pretty evenly between carrying logs, collecting rocks, and
using these materials to construct the weaver’s hut and building the mud
stoves. We fueled this work with the villagers’ surprisingly tasty
meals which usually included some form of potato, and even guinea pig as a
special treat one afternoon.
last night consisted of a bonfire and even some tears as we knew that our
amazing week in Chupani had come to an end. We said our farewells
(translated between English, Spanish, and Quechua of course) and the next
morning as quickly as we had arrived, we were gone once more.
truly could not have asked for a better experience during those 7 days and
would like to thank Rufada for such a special experience.
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