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THE ISLAND OF TAQUILE

Inca legacy

Here everything is shared, we speak in Quechua, we dressed as our grandparents did and we believe in the laws that the Inca bequeathed " , the weaver in love had said

The boats seem to sleep in the rustic jetty of Taquile.

The passengers already jumped to the mainland and they begin the ascent of the stone steps. They suffer, sweat, hate the height, they lean on the arches, they try to laugh at the picture of the memory and they feel envy for the inhabitants' of the island that go up and down with calisthenics steps the endless stairway.

"Good morning, good morning", they repeat to the comuneros of Taquile, when crossing the chain of tourists that fight - boldly - to arrive at their town, located 35 kilometers to the north of Puno (capital of the department of the same name) a distance that they cover after a trip of three hours on the lazy waters of Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world (3,809 m.s.n.m.).

Taquile is a solidary, strong and jovial community that conserve values, customs and traditions of the lacustrine towns. "Here everything is shared, we speak in Quechua, we dressed as our grandparents did and we believe in the laws that the Inca bequeathed us", the weaver in love had said, when the spinner was swallowed by the darkness of an adobe house.

Ama Sua (do not steal), Ama Quella (do not lie) y Ama Llulla (do not be lazy), the Inca sovereigns ordered hundreds of years ago. Its rules are followed until today by more than 1,500 residents of this island of farmers that love the prodigal land of their terraces and artisans that express their inspiration in splendid fabrics.

"We respect those laws... yes, sure they work, why do you think that there are no judges or policemen here. The authorities of the community are those that decide when somebody acts bad", the weaver explains who doesn't move nor is moved when saying that the maximum penalty for offenders is exile.

But the judges and policemen are not the only thing that they lack in the biggest island in the lake Titicaca or Puma of Stone.In Taquile - that has an extension of 6 square kilometers - there only are no asphalt roads or vehicles that vomit smog, green fields with slender eucalyptuses and cypresses brought in the decade of the '50, prehispanic remains of an adoratorio to the earth and the sun and vestiges of a neighborhood of the Incan time.

The motors of the boats start up. The travelers leave mainland, they return to the fragile stability of the lake. Several hands rise in farewell sign. Taquile is left behind. It becomes a green mound about to be swallowed by the dark outpost of the night.

Texts and photographs: Rolly Valdivia Chavez



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