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THE UROS

The Town of the Lake

The individuals that compose this floating community affirm they are the owners of the waters of the Titicaca

Six kilometers of the lacustrine port of Puno is a surprising archipelago of 40 totora islands (rush species that grows in the marshy lands of South America), inhabited by the Auroches, descending direct of one of the oldest cultures in the continent. The individuals that compose this floating community affirm they are the owners of the waters of the Titicaca.

It wanted to censor the cold with a penurious and frayed blanket, but its intent was in vain, because in this floating world, in thisworld almost in drift, it is impossible to cut that frozen freedom.

The wind numbs their legs and cracks their coppery and wrinkled cheeks; then, with a stranger expression that mixes the rage, the resignation and the habit, he decides to wait for the lukewarmness of the Sun in complete silence.

And he seeks to find a solitary corner that serves as barrier against the cold ah, but it is so difficult to find it in their reduced
He sits down near the bank with the desire of observing the perpetual romance among the slender totora rafts and the deep blue waters of that legendary lake that dampens the highland. Suddenly, the fishermen returns: "pejerreyes" and "carachamas" are part of their booty.

The man looks at them, he greets them reluctantly with an cordial expression, he comments that before there were more species in the lake and he shows them the net that is repaired in silence. "Soon it will be ready", he says with a tiny piece of happiness... and the rejuvenated knots leave his hands like the beads of a rosary.

Momentary din in the island of the Auroches. A spark a href="http://www.enjoyperu.com/multimediagallery/photos/htm-eng/los-uros/uros18.htm">
of restlessness for the arrival of the fishermen and the arrival of a handful of travelers; then, the "children of the lake" leave their totora shacks. The children - blushed cheeks, vivacious eyes, rough knacks - chase through the islands; while the women - jet black braids, prominent cheekbones, polleras and hats - offer and finish off their multicolored rainbowed fabrics.

Only the man in a frayed blanket - my name is Carlos Quispe - continues buried in the silence and in his routine wait for the Sun. "It is quite cold", he declares without stopping to repair the net, without looking at those recently arrived, without making him tire of the children that jump to his side. "Our life is very difficult, but we continue here, as our ancestors did."

The origin of this town got lost in the labyrinths of the history, but one presumes that they descend from the Pukinas, one of the oldest communities in America. The Auroches that inhabit an archipelago of 40 floating islands located 6 kilometers from the port of Puno and Puno 3,812 m.s.n.m, are considered owners of the lake and of the water; also, they are said to have the black blood.

"We are kot-suņa or people of the lake", proclaims Don Carlos, after explaining that its islands are not natural, but rather were built by them, in patient, skillful and endless interwoven of totora roots, until forming a called layer Khili, on which they build their rustic shacks.

With the experience of their years - I won't tell him how many they are, but they are many - the man that repairs the nets, admits that his town fights to conserve its traditions and that the totora, the fishing and the sale of crafts, are its main sources of subsistence.

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Totora islands

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Puno, Peru Pictures - Photos & Multimedia Gallery