Location: Huancayo, Peru (Central Peruvian Andes)
Altitude: 10,700 ft.
Our journey started when Isabel, our coworker in Peru, found Urbano at a "feria dominical" (Sunday farmer's market) in Huancayo Peru. We were looking for unique artisans and Urbano showed her some of his art in a carved earring. I received some photos of his work and I became fascinated with his talent. After months of coordination, I had the opportunity to travel to Peru and visit his home.
Urbano's wife met me in a park "close" to their house and she suggested walking because it was not too far and the road was not so good. So we began to walk. After 30 minutes walking, I asked how far is your house and she replied, "aqui no mas" - which literally means "here, no more" (i.e. very close). I asked how much time do we need to get there and she said about another 45 minutes.
If you have the chance to visit Peru, and someone says aqui no mas, be prepared that it may translate to something like "very close", but the real colloquial meaning is "a little far."
The walk was nice, but the altitude made it a little difficult and we had to stop several times for me to catch my breath. We finally arrived at their home and met all of the family. Their house is located in a rural area close to Huancayo in Peru. It is plain to see that Urbano is not rich in material possessions but he was able to share everything with us.They served us refreshing organic food and beverages; most of the ingredients coming from his small farm. After the long hike it was perfect! We took time to know each member of this family and learned more about the person who made our hand-carved products.
Urbano works with his wife and other members of his family. Most of them didn't have the opportunity to finish school and have spent their time carving and farming from an early age.
They were not able to migrate to other places, and unfortunately, their resources were very limited. In addition, they were victims of the years of terrorism (in the 1980s and 1990s). Urbano has two children and he wants a different future for them. Urbano has only limited access to basic needs.
In Peru there is a program called vaso de leche that provides supplemental nutrition for low-income families. A family of six receives approximately three quarts of milk and three small bags of oats per month!
Urbano's family has a small farm that produces potatoes and they raise a few chickens.
In the photo at left we have given Urbano two large bags of oats in addition to what he usually receives from the government program. He was very thankful and happy, and we were glad to share his happiness.
Thanks for reading!