We had agreed to install playground equipment at a very rural school in the highlands (14,000 feet above sea level) located above Cuzco, Peru (10,000 feet). It is the ancestral village (Choccayhua) of the mother of our hosts, the Cardenas-Torres family. The long journey to the installation site was made in a very small car. There were 2 of us (my grandson and I), 4 from the C-T family, plus the driver. All 7 of us were packed into a compact car about the size of the Mini-Cooper.
The trip to the village included multiple stops. At the first, we waited for the truck carrying the playground equipment to catch up with us. At the second, we stopped at a scenic location to check out a high mountain lake. And at the third, and most interesting, we walked across a reconstruction of an Inca hanging footbridge.
For the latter, we stopped at a small parking lot located above the bridge and hiked down to one of the abutments. We took turns taking pictures as each of us crossed the ravine on the bridge. It was a fun experience at a beautiful location. My grandson had a great time on his crossing.
Past the footbridge, the road devolved from pavement to gravel. Travel slowed.
Our last stop was Choccayhua. As we arrived, the villagers started to congregate. The elders had selected the site for the playground equipment and the village work crew set about assembling the swing set and digging holes for the legs of the playground equipment. We ended up with a large crew. It was gratifying to see so many villagers turn out to help.
We installed monkey bars, a climbing tower, and a 4-seat swing set. As the beer started to flow, the work slowed a little, but the installation was eventually completed. And then it was time to celebrate.
Lots of short speeches, exchanges of gifts, and refreshments. My grandson and I ended up with a large felt hat, a heavy coat, and a colorful sash. I took a lot of photographs. As it began to darken, I began to worry about the trip back.
Our trip back to Cuzco occurred in the dark. For the first few hours, we were on a different road. I’m sure the scenery was gorgeous, but it was difficult to see. I need to go back during daylight hours. We didn’t get back to Cuzco until midnight.