Posts Tagged ‘Wilma Cari’

Family Cari on Amantani Island, Peru

15/05/2009

MSI and Family Cari
A Son Helps Build a Family Lodge on a Remote Island

There are times in my life when I’ve  returned to a wonderful place in the world that I’m still getting to know, and by chance, I’ve end up camping in the same field or returning to the same hostel. Only when I  walked into the place, do I remember having stayed there before.

Richard Cari with a Kantuta, National Flower of Peru

Richard Cari with a Kantuta, National Flower of Peru

Richard Cari’s home and the Kantuta Lodge is one of those places. Since I’m on the subject of “chance travel”, the reader might be interested my entry on a similar instance where I was hitch hiking across France and ended up sleeping in the same field I had slept in 15 years prior. But for now, more on Amantani Island on Lake Titicaca.

I’d come to Amantani Island a few times during my travels in Peru. The place and people drew me in. No cars, electricity only a few hours a day, not even cats or dogs, which made the place seem  peaceful. There is hardship on Amantani. The small population living on the 3 mile by 1.5 mile island on Lake Titicaca live at 13000 feet in stunning but somewhat harsh environment. There sustainable crops of Quinoa, potatoes and herbs are rain dependent. There is no irrigation of the crops. People do go hungry, despite the tourism dollars that trickle in from visitors taking boats from the nearby (4 hours!) harbor or Puno, Peru.  Most visitors stay at family homes on the island’s west side, who have formed a cooperative rotating schedule that spreads the wealth and visitor’s dollars so no one family is reaping the homestays.

At Outward Bound we learned as instructors the metaphors of community, and here on Amantani, the population, because of its environment is a clear example of community. The island people work together with the resources they have to create the best possible outcome for all.

Segundino & Marcelina Cari of Amantani Island

Segundino & Marcelina Cari of Amantani Island

Segundino, the island’s vice-Shaman, if you will,  and his wife Marcelina have what was once a small home like the other villagers near the boat docks. But their son Richard went to University in Puno and majored in Tourism. He has come back with a plethora of “tools” and ideas he learned at school, that have transformed their home into the Kantuta Lodge, complete a separate building dining room, with longer beds for Gringos and Gringas and the only hot shower on the island.

Amantani Island, Lake Titicaca

Amantani Island, Lake Titicaca

Richard has done a spectacular job with his new skills making a better life for his family. He is creating a market. I told him I would submit the family lodge Lonely Planet, and even though I’ve not followed through I suspect the word has already gotten out about his good work.

The last time I visited Family Cari, I enjoyed the stay thoroughly. I got to help Richard’s sister Wilma do some cooking and plant potatoes by digging trenches in the garden below the house. I didn’t do very well by the way. Wilma, showing me the digging technique with a short handled hoe, giggled as I’d dig for a few feet before feeling breathless from the altitude. Her mother and father looked on from the house with a wry smile. (more…)