Peru Attractions: Ollantaytambo
(Alice Springs, Australia)
Ollantaytambo. Peru - © Veda
In the Sacred Valley - © Veda
Ollantaytambo archaeologic ruins - © Veda
We are all very fortunate to be travelling the world.
Perhaps it's a great idea for us to think about showing gratitude in some small way to the communities with which we have been able to share such wonderful experiences.
I had that opportunity in the beautiful village of Ollantaytambo situated in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, not too distant from Machu Picchu, Peru.
Many of the Quechuan Indian people from the highlands in this area suffer poverty, poor health, malnutrition and domestic violence. We often don't see this - but it exists in all the beautiful places we travel to.
These occurrences are a worldwide problem.
Hearts Cafe in the Plaza de Armas in Ollantaytambo was started only 3 years ago by 79 year old Sonia Newhouse from the U.K. as an income producer for her project to help the local Quechuan women and children.
Sonia has had to adjust to the 2,800 metre altitude to continue her work of providing school materials, housing/shelter and basic medicine for the mountain communities.
Her cafe is an excellent place to eat and is run by Quechuan volunteers - Sonia doesn't like to create dependency by just giving - we can learn from her that we need to be aware about allowing people to build/retain self esteem by contributing something themselves to creating a better situation.
Well, this all sounds like some sort of lecture!
But I just loved Ollantaytambo and the friendly Indian people there - and Hearts Cafe blew me away.
I was living in nearby Cuzco at the time, so I made two trips to the Cafe; on the second run I took school classroom materials and dumped them at the end of the cafe dining area - there is a space there for useful donations!
A great endeavour this little cafe - I could get my contribution straight to the coalface! - minimum management fees, no hidden expense accounts or "malversación" to deplete the funds!
So guys, take a trip to the Sacred Valley, in Peru - it's stunning!
I am sure there are lots of other opportunities to give a little help to people or organisations along the way.
I've included a few pictures of the Inca constructions.
It's very interesting, we are told that the Spanish conquistadores never overran Ollantaytambo.
The fortifications (still standing) were built high on sheer mountain sides and presented too much of a challenge for the Spaniards.
About the Author:
David (Veda) is an indefatigable traveller.
He lives and works in the fringes of Tanami desert, in Central Australia, helping Australian Aborigines to be better prepared to face the demands of the working world.
Veda (Swami Vedamurti Sarawati) is a devote Tibetan Buddhism practitioner.
He's currently planning a retreat with Dzogchen master Namkai Norbu Rimpoche at Tilba Tilba, New South Wales, Australia.