A heart-warming tale in Peru…
The Uros are no ordinary islands, but are man made out of reeds that float on Lake Titicaca near Puno in Peru. My story concerns a boy who I met there in late 2001.
The young entrepreneur had drawn his own picture cards using paper and coloured crayons. Perhaps the tools of his craft had been a gift from another traveller some time before and this had inspired his business idea?
The Uros people live mainly through fishing the lake and making items out of reeds to sell in Puno. Tourism is also an important source of income with several souvenir stalls (made out of reeds naturally) selling reed gifts and coloured textiles.
Clearly the young man was expected to contribute to the family coffers before being old enough to take up his fishing career and hand-drawn cards were his particular thing.
The look of delight on the young man’s face when I handed him a small sum for one of his creations, was quickly surpassed when I produced a boiled sweet to give to him. That smile will always live with me.
The lad ran off excitedly to tell his mother his good news and I carried on with my visit with a warm glow.
Around an hour later it was time to go. As I walked back to our waiting boat, I passed the young man who was now sat cross-legged singing to himself.
On closer inspection I could see he was playing with an object, pulling it in circles around him. He was looking longingly at the object that he held, a tiny yellow sphere. It was the sweet, still in its wrapper.
Have a great Festive Season and enjoy the magic of giving and receiving.