The power of reed – The floating islands of Lake Titicaca


On the way back to mainland Puno, we stop off at the floating Islands of Lake Titicaca. These 2.5m deep reed floating Islands accommodate around 30 to 40 Uros descendants (a tribe that predates the Inca’s), is around 10m by 10m’s large in mass, each have their own president, and a ‘lawyer’ which is actually a rusty old hacksaw that the president uses to slice up the reed island whenever there’s an irreconcilable dispute between the islands inhabitants.

What happens when they don’t like their neighbours? They pull up their anchors and float upstream until they find neighbours that they can stand to live near.

This floating tribe uses reed for EVERYTHING – to build their island, their homes, their boats and watch towers, they even eat the reed.

T, as Chris picks up a piece of reed from the floating island’s ground – ‘Chris! why are you eating their floor?!’

Chris, casually chewing – ‘It’s ok, we can eat this’

Local guide, with the islands president – ‘No no no,’ takes away the bad reed from Chris and gives him a new cleaner looking edible piece.

T explains – ‘The reed they eat is fresh. The reed on the floor is a part of the ground that everyone, including the island’s live stock, walks all over and pisses on’

Chris, understanding – ‘Oh, I thought it was the same stuff they gave us earlier!’ then hungrily continues to chew on the new reed.

Why do the Uros people chose to live like this? Most of the villagers go to the mainland to work, then come back home to the island to stay. But if there is no work, this way they don’t have to pay rent or land taxes. They can fish in the lake, catch ducks, and hunt down eggs from the lakes wildlife, even keep chickens on their island.’

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Maria Bomediano Eftekharhashtroudi
    Jan 15, 2011 @ 00:50:44

    Hi Tiara! viewing your post here gave life to my poem below! your Dad & Ally arrived Syd last Thur. I had lunch with them yesterday! regards, Maria

    http://www.poetry.com/poems/emblems-of-the-aztec/8377988/

    Reply

  2. Dale
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 02:32:13

    I like their way of thinking!!

    *searches for camper vans online*

    Reply

  3. Tiara in Transit
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 02:55:51

    ive always said we should build a raft. a boat. an ISLAND!

    Reply

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