Sunday, 7 February 2016

A final blog from the travellers

Lucy, trying to take it all in.
(Ed. After seven weeks, the travellers have returned home. Many attempts were made to persuade the younger members of the party (aged 10 - 16) to write a blog but Lucy was the only one who proffered some thoughts. We will return to Risteárd's blogs next week.)

A day in the life of Martin Carrillo – Lucy Perrier (age 13)

Edward (Asst. Guide), Dad and Martin.
This profile is about a day in the life of a Peruvian guide for the Inca Trail.

His name is Martin Carillo and I will introduce him to you. He was
born in Cusco, Peru in 1975.  He grew up in a big family with six brothers and two sisters. His childhood was not the same as ours. Most days he would walk through the mountains with all his brothers and sisters to visit his grandmother’s house or go to school.   “We would walk for hours and hours”, Martin told me.  

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Walking is an Indian tradition and his family has a lot of Indian origins so that explains the common walks in the Carrillo family.  The walks made him want to become a guide, but not just a guide in a museum, a mountain guide so that he could enjoy the outdoor life and the beauty of “mother nature”, one of the favorite things he liked to say!   

The Inca Trail is a four day trek from Piscacucho, Kilometre 82, around 100 km from Cusco, the Quechan capital of Peru.    The Quechans were an old Indian population who built Macchu Picchu and other ancient sites in parts of Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador.  The Emperor of the Quechans was the Inca.  The day in the life of Martin as described here will be the first day of the trek with a group of walkers from abroad

Martin wakes up at 5 am. He says goodbye to his 10 year old daughter Urpi (Indian for dove) and to his partner of 20 years.  He is always sad when he leaves for his four day treks but he knows that this work and the salary he makes will allow his daughter to have the education she deserves “I am very very proud of her” he says with a tear in his eye.  He takes the bus to the hotel in the centre of Cusco where his group (us!) has been staying for a few days in order to get used to the altitude.  Cusco is at an altitude of 3,200 metres and for most Europeans it will be difficult for them at first.  Once he greets the group he helps them put their rucksacks and three bags of clothes they need for the trek into the van driven by Hugo that will take them to KM 82, the beginning of the 42 km trek.

After a two hour drive the van arrives at Piscacucho KM 82.  The group is all ready to go and a little nervous about the challenge ahead.  But Martin is full of stories about the mountains and the land around and gives the group last minute advice about how important it is to drink lots of water and to wear sun cream and hats at all times.  Once the group is at KM 82 Martin introduces them to the team of 14 helpers who will be with the group on the trek.
Having a little rest along the way.
There is an assistant guide, Edward, a cook and 12 porters who will be carrying all the gear needed for the trip.   Each porter will carry up to 30 kg of equipment like tents, gas canisters, sleeping bags, food, tables and chairs.  They have amazing strength and sometimes are quite small men who do not look as strong as they are.  Most of the porters are also small farmers on a piece of land.  But they are poor so they work as porters whenever they can to get extra money to feed their families.

Once everyone is ready to go Martin sets off with his group.  It is nearly 8:30 am and this first day will be quite short so that the group gets used to the trekking.  Everyone has a set of walking poles as the trek will mainly be climbing uphill or downhill.  The poles help in both directions.  Martin walks in front with great speed accompanied by the faster people from the group and Edward walks at the back to stay with the slower people. The porters run ahead to get to the campsite before the group so that they have time to set up the tents. During the day Martin stops many times to explain about the history of the Quechans. He knows so much about the Quechan culture because he went to university to learn about the ancient Peruvians. Martin went to one of the best universities in Cusco. His parents had to raise nine children, and they weren’t very rich so it was a great achievement that they were able to put him through university. After his many years in university Martin was qualified to be a guide for Machu Picchu and many other museums. “I am very proud to know my culture well” he quotes. 

Thank you Martin.
When Martin and the group arrive at the campsite they greet the porters and then relax after the long day walking. The cook prepares dinner and they eat at about half six and then go to bed to wake up early the next day.

Martin has been working as a guide for twenty years and loves his job. 

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