For the month of March I will be living in Patacancha, an indigenous village high above the town of Ollantaytambo. While here I will be working through Awamaki, an NGO devoted to preserving the rich textile tradition of the area and improving the wellbeing of Quechuan weavers and their communities. The above menu contains links to pages with galleries and essays documenting various aspects of life in Patacancha. Most of these pages are works in progress, so please check back soon as I make weekly trips to on the market shuttle to update the site (and shower.)
In the past decade Patacancha has seen an influx of modern elements, such as electricity, a school that is a model for the region, and increased - though modest - tourist traffic. Yet in most ways its people live as they have for centuries, through subsistence farming and animal husbandry. One only has to hike a short ways into an adjacent valley to leave even modest developments behind and truly step back into history. It is a place of great poverty, and yet the people of this region have thrived for centuries, cultivating a lifestyle that while humble and difficult, inspires respect rather than pity. It is a way of life deeply connected to the mountains that tower overhead, the animals they depend on, and the deep cultural heritage they draw upon.