Here are a selection of images and videos that describe the harsh reality of people living in the Andes. Though the images can describe more than words, still I will try and describe a bit of the experience. Certainly, after a month of actually living in the conditions of the locals, I can really appreciate what it means to exist like this.
On our first mission, we slept in an adobe building, with dirt on the floor covered by sheep skins, dry meet hanging from the roof, below freezing temperatures and no heating. On the second mission our facilities were better, though the viallge was more remote. Children, and teachers, walk up to 2 hrs one way to gte to school, many times using sandals made of car tires. One family would come at night, walking for 30 minutes, just to participate in the rosary. The hunger for God is impressive. Below you can see the children of this family, Julio, Sinaida and their little brother whose name I forget.
The hunger for food is also present, with the basic diet being potatoes and alpaca meat. Living conditions for locals are similar to medieval Europe, mud and stone walls, no floor, indoor smoke for cooking and warmth, thatched roofs and no water or electricty. Most of the people, especially parents and young children only speak Quechua, while middle school children and teenagres learn Spanish in school, though Quechua is promoted too. When we talk about helping the poor, this the people I have in mind… Thanks to Caritas and the Prelature of Ayaviri for their great work.