Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The boy from Machu Picchu

Tello’s explorers were no strangers to hardship. Many of Tio Hernan’s stories tell of the constant challenges the expeditions faced in finding provisions and eating well on scant resources. On the 1942 expedition to the Urubamba valley (also known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas) located close to Cusco and the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, they met a young boy who turned out to have a particular flair for making ends meet.

In this story Hernan describes the ingenuity, creativity, and drive for improvement that many Peruvians still pride themselves on today. 

But he also writes about a far less attractive social phenomenon, and the obstacles and harsh conditions that eventually blight the life of a resourceful young man.

The boy from Machu Picchu
In which we learn more about the expedition's young camp cook and his unfortunate fate.

There are some interesting ruins at Corihuayrachina, linked to Machu Picchu by a very well conserved granite paved Inca road. We had just set up camp there when we realized that we were running very low on provisions. So we sent a peon to buy more from the small town which is situated down in the valley near the famous ruins.

The next day climbing back up the hill, burdened with his purchases, came not the peon but a small boy of about fourteen years of age. He explained that his brother had been taken ill, and so he had come himself to bring us our provisions.