Milpo (Millpo): A native indígena village in poverty
Trip from Ayacucho to Milpo (Millpo), a native indígena village without telephone, without current and without tap water on 3680 m over sea level up to death by starvation and death by cold
Map Ayacucho-Milpo (Millpo)
For outsiders the trip from Ayacucho to an indígena village is an adventure. In Ayacucho a central bus station does not exist but there are meeting points for any direction from where little buses ("combies") are starting. The meeting points are at the entrance of the town at the highways.
But there is no bus stop signal. Ciriaco Sosa and I we are at the meeting point for the West at the road to Lima ("Via de los Libertadores") at the last urban petrol station.The town hasn't done anything to form a bus stop there. Benches do not exist, shelters or roofings do not exist. Instead of that there are market-women, or a family has prepared corn beverages ("chicha") and sandwiches to sell them to the waiting passengers.
There are no timetables. So, it can be that you are waiting two hours for a combi, or there is no combi this day, can also be. So there are many people waiting and one never feels alone and little talks are normal in the sunshine. All people on the bus stop here speak Quechua, and this lifts up solidarity. But these are not more than "spontaneous friendships".
People here are comfortably surprised that there is a white man who can speak Spanish well. Ciriaco and I have missed the first combi to Milpo because we were 5 minutes late. So we have to wait 1 1/2 hours for another one. According to Ciriaco also taxis can be taken to Milpo, for 90 Soles (about 30 Dollars).
2. Approach from Ayacucho to Milpo (Millpo)
The combi will be "stuffed", is overcrowded and absolutely supercharged. It's an old, little Unimog with four wheel drive. On the first part of the way the combi takes some more people so the circumstances are more "stuffed". After some kilometers the gearbox is not working any more and we have half an hour rest on the road: People go for a slash to urinate. I don't make any photo yet because I want to dedicate the film to the village Milpo and not to a combi in difficulties. The Unimog is in an inclination and is saved by stones on the back wheels. When we go on again the stones are not put away from the road, this is simply forgotten. But it's better I don't say anything. Now the combi only has a first and a second gear and has to go on the road like this in the second gear...
The country road to Milpo (Millpo) is a total catastrophe with huge wholes and meander tracks. Traffic signs do not exist. So, only the population of Milpo knows that there is a way to Milpo. For me it seems strange how a normal taxi can drive here. Only now I realize why they have an Unimog. The "rain tracks" are "glaring". It seems the state of Peru has forgotten this "village" totally resp. it would be better for the state of Peru that this village of Milpo would not exist at all. And the indígenas have no money for road repairs when they don't have even enough to buy the food for the winter.
Country wall bordering fields
These walls are typical for the indigena's agriculture.
Country wall and brook / creek, fields in the background
The natural landscape is singular when only would be no cold.
Ciriaco Sosa, big photo
Ciriaco absolutely wanted to show me how people are living without current, without tap water and without telephone.
Ciriaco Sosa going on the path
Pure nature is
The people had to march the last part
About 1 km before the village the Unimog is stuck with gearbox damage. The last part of the way we have to walk.
Indígena mother with daughter about 4 years old
These are direct descendants of the Incas. It's not sure if the little daughter will survive the winter. At the other side the adiposes of the mother is a guaranty that she will survive a famine. That's why adiposes is a sign of safety in the indígena's world and is not a disgusting element.
The hats are a sun protection for the head and for the eyes to be protected from the ultraviolet radiation. But the hats are also wared when there is no sun. It's clear that sports are not possible with these hats. The hats also are a sign of the origin. Sun glasses I have never seen in the indígena's population.
3. The circumstances and housing conditions in the settlement with scattered buildings Milpo (Millpo)
In this height of 3,680 m over sea level oat is the only possible crop say the indígenas.
Oat, closeup view (unfortunately fuzzy) Frozen potato field
In the end of 2006 the potato fields were frozen because there were temperatures badly too low some times. The people in Milpo don't know how they will have enough to eat without potatoes (May until October 2007). The theme is repressed and they put up with dead children. The media report about the frozen potato fields but the government takes no measures.
There are some possibilities to help the indígenas when fields are frozen, above all because between February and may are three months time to take measures. One could bring yucca from the Peruvian virgin forest to the indígena settlements, so there would be no hunger any more. Or it is possible to produce special winter food like a good whole-grain bread, chocolate or at least bring gas bottles.
But the Peruvian government or the government in Ayacucho are not doing anything for the indígenas. Already the country road is in catastrophic conditions and is a big problem for any transport. There never was a representative of the government in Milpo (Millpo). Instead the government representatives with their high salaries are making holidays abroad...
Fire house and dormitory house
From far away one can divine which "living standard" one can find in Milpo (Millpo). And this is only one village of innumerable villages of the population of the high Sierra systematically neglected by the Peruvian government.
The cottage left is a kitchen house with a fireplace, the cottage right is a dormitory.
She is the population of the two cottages. Two dogs are guarding her. There is no retirement home.
Grandmother before the fire house
Here it seems the Stone Age has been stopped: No water, no current, no telephone. There is no door.
Kettle in the fire house, and the photo has got a finger fault Kettle with fire place in the fire house Kettles hanging from the ceiling
The ceiling is black of the soot.
Grandmother before dwelling house, tearing wool
The dwelling house has no windows, only a door with windows without window panes. The grandmother cannot afford window panes. It can be admitted that in the night the door is covered with blankets.
The grandmother gets some work from Ciriaco Sosa to tear wool. By this she can make some Soles for food.
Dwelling house 01, things for the household with a chair Dwelling house 02, clothe bag with clothes Dwelling house 03: clothe bags with clothes Dwelling house 04: Rucksack / backpack and sleeping mat hanging on the roof
The grandmother sleeps on the mat on the bare earth soil.
Nature lovers who love the cold would enjoy these conditions. But all has to be brought by oneself, in an overcrowded combi...
Dwelling house 05: A post on the ceiling is replacing a wardrobe, and there is a finger fault on the photo
A "wardrobe hanging on the ceiling" is very often in families in poverty because the money for furniture is missing. And furnitures are very expensive in the Sierra because wood is rare and because hardly anybody can give away furniture for a low price.
Dwelling house 06: Cups hanging on the ceiling
Also a chest of drawers or a kitchen unit is missing. So, hooks on the ceiling are serving for saving cups etc. to spare out room on the ground.
Dwelling house 07: Roof construction with grand mother before the house
When you see this the first time there is coming up the question why the inhabitants of Milpo (Millpo) let the grandmother live with these conditions. But the other families have hardly money themselves. So, help is very restricted.
Milpo (Millpo): Center of the settlement with pasture
The center of the village of Milpo consists of about 10 to 12 houses. Before horses are on the pasture in a huge zone without fence. They keep contact to the humans and it seems they don't flee.
The nature lovers may find Milpo a paradise. For the indígenas it's the bare poverty only.
Ciriaco Sosa with a grandfather Grandfather's face without teeth
the indígenas don't know any dentist. There is no money for that. Old indígenas without teeth are normal.
The indígena grandfather with feet without socks
Indígenas never have socks. One can see the furrowed feet of the grandfather.
As a child already the indígenas are walking around without socks in their shoes. But bare-footed they don't walk to prevent injuries.
Girl with baby on her back
As a little girl they learn already to bear babies on their back. Here it seems it's the big sister bearing the little sister on the back. As a big daughter the girl will bear more weight on her back and later it will bear her own children on her back.
The movements of the the babies on the back are relatively flexible. And the babies never lose the physical contact to the mother. More simple and better it's not possible it seems.
Baby carriage was never seen in Ayacucho. Only the rich have such things which keep the babies from the physical warmth of the mother.
Girl with baby on her back, closeup
The red cheeks are not a sign of gladness but are sign of frostbite by the cold in the night. Nobody knows if the baby on the back will survive the winter...
4. The return journey from Milpo (Millpo) to Ayacucho
As the Unimog could not be repaired there was only one single combi back to Ayacucho this day, and this combi was starting on 1 p.m. already. By this there was no time for other photos of the Milpo population, and Ciriaco and I had to crimp into the combi already now again.
Photos of landscape
Indígenas in the combi, closeup
The combi is "stuffed" again. The indígenas have a sorrowful expression in their face, and it's not possible to take a photo from everybody.
Flock of sheep
Meadow with little forest in the background
Miserable road conditions and heavy erosion on the slope of the road
The indígenas have no money for road fortifications. The slopes are not saved. By this the rainwater is eroding the earth and this is the result, bizarre erosion pictures. So, break-offs of the slopes are regularly.
Country road with fields and panorama
For nature lovers the landscape is a paradise when there was no cold.
Country road with primitive ditch
The ditches are primitive without any stony pavement or cement. In the background a cattle herd can be seen blocking our way.
Cattle herd 01
Cattle herd 02 Country road, ditch, corn field and panorama Slope of the country road with heavy erosion, closeup
Stony pasture, an indígena with cattle
Pasture with cattle and field walls Field walls
In general the field walls are also a shelter for little animals.
Pasture and field walls of stone
Combi with a living pig on the roof
On a hamlet on the way there is a pig brought onto the roof. The indígenas have no fear to fix a living pig and to transport it on the roof of the car. Animal protection does not exist, as there is no human protection in Peru, too, because human protection is only for the rich.
Overcrowded combi, front view
The police lets pass the overcrowded combis. The police knows about the conditions and has no other choice. For a traffic with European standards all road conditions would have to be improved first. But the state is nor ready for anything what concerns the indígenas...
The indígena, and a hamlet in the background
Steep country road 01
Some parts of the country road are this steep that a part of the people has to leave the combi so the combi can pass the steep passage, because this Japanese combi has got only a two wheel drive.
Steep country road 02, miserable road conditions Ditch in natural meanders
The landscape would be a paradise for nature lovers when there was no cold...
Two more indigenas
The combi is not full enough yet. From now on I only have a "standing room".
Full combi, side entrance
The combi's driver
His driving work with an overcrowded combi on the miserable country road is worth more than an appraisal.
Indígena grandmother with a lamb on her lap
The indígenas have a very personal relationship to animals. The lamb on the lap of the grandmother is no single case.
The mothers with babies also suckle their babies in the bus. Soothers don't exist. In whole Peru I never have seen any soother. The soother is the mother's breast itself. This is nature and soothers are not the nature...
On the Via Libertadores, indígenas waiting for a bus
After we reached the big road "Via Libertadores" between Pisco and Ayacucho Ciriaco and I left the combi to wait for a bigger bus. We walk back a little where is a restaurant for lunch. Indígenas are sitting there and waiting for a bus, too. Their luggage is traditionally in rags on the earth. the indígenas pack all things into rags which can be taken on the back. Suitcases do not exist.
On Via Libertadores, a poster says there is a development project for agriculture
When I ask the woman if the project is also realized she says that there hasn't been done anything since the poster is fixed there. The Peruvian government often announces projects which are not realized then to make jokes with the population...
On Via Libertadores, wall of clay
There is always the question how long the clay walls will resist to the rain.
On Via Libertadores, Hostal / Hospedaje (hospice) Vallejo
This little restaurant on the Via de los Libertadores is a traditional place to go for a slash to urinate and to buy provisions. The toilets are only wholes and nothing more. The rooms often have no window.
On Via Libertadores, indígena clay house
On Via Libertadores, French cyclist, metal huts in the background
The French cyclist indicated he had been 6 days on tour with his bike from Lima to Ayacucho and now would look for a calm hospice.
The huts with corrugated sheets in the background don't seem to be very airtight. But on the Road "Vía de los Libertadores" it's not that cold any more.
On Via Libertadores, student's bus 01, Peruvian women
After lunch Ciriaco and I were taken by a student's bus. The students had on their jackets because some of the window panes were broken and not repaired. One can call this also "automatic air condition".
The students were from the faculty for agriculture of the university of Ayacucho. They told they had been in the Sierra to look at special stone formations. Speaking about the problems in the Sierra they at once said that the training program at the university is not at all speaking about the problems of the country.
On Via Libertadores, student's bus 02, Peruvian men
I said to the students that in Peru a good whole-grain bread made of spelt or amaranth is missing, that the nutrition in the Sierra has to be another one that in the planes of desert on the sea or in the virgin forest, that there is missing a good chocolate and honey. They agreed in all points, as well the leader. But if the indications are given up to the department of agriculture and to the department of economy is not ensured.
So, when will be the first representative of government to look what is happening in Milpo to improve the conditions there?
But some of these natives also like to spend their money for beer and don't make any step further. I've seen it with my proper eyes. IQ70 does not want more than that.
And many stupid parents in Peru are deliberately so they will be stupid for ever. I have seen that with my own eyes.