Visit to floating reed islands, Lake Titicaca
05.05.2010 - 05.05.2010 25 °C
As Mick was unable to leave the Hotel due to a touch of sun stroke I went off with others in the group to visit the floating reed islands on Lake Titicaca, after a 30 minute boat trip we came upon the islands which stretch as far as the eye could see, the islanders are there after fleeing persecution by the Inca's several hundred years ago, they built the islands from the reeds on the lake and floated away from trouble. They have maintained their community until the present day, mostly I suspect because they are not liable to any taxes.
As we approached the islands there were numerous women is brightly coloured costumes beckoning to us to land and visit them, most of their income these days comes from tourism, they peformed a welcome song for us and then took us into their reed houses where we were dressed in their costumes for a photo opportunity.
It was explained by the president of the island that they cut large chunks of peat from the shallow part of the lake and then put a stake through the middle, they then tie the chunks together and because they still have roots they bond together, they then place several layers of reed ontop to make the islands. These days the island are anchored down as they do not want them to float off.
It was quite weird walking around as you could feel them moving beneath your feet. We were then taken in a reed boat across to the school, the reed boats take them 6 months to build for a canoe type and they fill the bottom of them with empty plastic bottles to help them float.
The school children have one classroom and a teacher from the mainland who has to row herself across the lake morning and evening. We left gifts for the children and donations to help them buy a generator to power a very old computer. All in all a very interesting morning.