Monday, June 27, 2005

G*d-damn Uros

We just noticed this quirky little story on the inhabitants of the Uros Islands, a group of floating reed islands inhabited by pre-Inca indians off the shores of Lake Titicaca in Peru. The BBC has a short thing on their dying way of life, although given the precariousness of their situation we'd say they've had a fairly good innings.

We visited the islands about eight years ago, as a backpacker, and it was one of those situations that made us reallise that we're not cut out to be a world traveller, at least not the sort that visits the poorer sections. Roughing it we don't mind, heat we don't mind, but we can't escape, no matter how much we try the feelings of guilt about our comparative wealth.

Yes, buying some of the reed sculptures would probably have done them more good than agonising over inequality. But we didn't really feel that being herded around an island peering down at the sculpturess did either of us any good. And on another note, we could be wrong, but the islands are always sinking, and the Indians have to constantly replenish the reeds on the islands to keep them afloat.

We'd imagine that the task has been made much harder on one of the islands because of the presence of a huge Seventh Day Adventist church, which is a fair bit heavier than your average reed hut. But we probably should check that slander of religion a bit more carefully.


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