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Visiting true Inca descendents

Today we made a special trip, winding through a narrow mountain ride, climbing until we got to the village of Willoq. The community, it is thought, maintains a direct line of the last Incas and consequently is one of the last towns where you can see the living culture of Peruvian ancestries.

We were greeted on the street by the music of a flute and drum while the women presented each of us with warm handshakes and little flowers. They invited into a little area surrounded by their houses. Each person, most of them women, were dressed in their finest traditional dress, brightly colored and beautiful. Since we were special guests they had on their best but it was pretty much how they normally dress. There were about 15 of them from two years old to over 80.

They gave us some tea and then we were serenaded by three young girls, which was lovely. Then it got a little crazy as the flute and drum fired up again and each of us were grabbed by the hand and pulled out onto the grass dance floor. I’m not much of a dancer but I was given the special honor of dancing with the community’s head, a fun woman who had even more colorful attire than the rest. It was fun moving around with a couple of cameras dangling off me and the altitude didn’t make it any easier. 

Our guide Fernando has come here for years, for a long time he came every Sunday to help the people. On one visit a young boy was very sick and since there were no doctors around, Fernando knew he had to get help, so he took the boy to a doctor which saved the boy’s life. As we were milling around a very cute little girl around two came out. It turns out the girl was the child of the now-grown boy. Because of Covid Fernando hadn’t been to the village and was thrilled to learn that the reason this little girl existed was due to his helping save a little boy many years ago. It was quite moving.

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