Los Uros

Tuesday – March 29, 2011 – The Los Uros Island

We spent today on Lake Titicaca visiting two of their wonderful and unique cultures.  The first was the floating islands of Uros.  We took a boat from the hotel to one of the islands where we were met by several of the family members (Each island is a cluster of 3 -10 family units).  Eliseo then provided a demonstration (through a model development) of how their islands are created; from the root base, the layers of reeds and then the houses.

It’s hard to image living in a world like theirs; limited electricity, no internet and no running water!  They cook on outside stoves made of rocks, they fish, cultivate vegetables and work constantly to maintain their island home.  Tourism and the sale of their crafts helps to maintain their lifestyle.

When we departed the island, we were serenaded by the song “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” – in English!!   We then boarded one of their reed boats and were rowed across the waterway towards another island, where our (motorized) boat picked us up. 

The people and this culture are amazing!  If you get to this part of Peru, don’t miss the opportunity to visit one of their islands.  Modern times and the lure of the city for their youngsters will threaten the continuation of this culture.  See it before it’s gone! 

 

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Wikipedia: The Uros are a pre-Incan people who live on forty-two self-fashioned floating islands in Lake Titicaca Puno, Peru and Bolivia. They form three main groups: Uru-Chipayas, Uru-Muratos and the Uru-Iruitos. The latter are still located on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca and Desaguadero River.
The Uros use bundles of dried totora reeds to make reed boats (balsas mats), and to make the islands themselves.[1]
The Uros islands at 3810 meters above sea level are just five kilometers west from Puno port.[2] Around 2,000 descendants of the Uros were counted in the 1997 census,[3] although only a few hundred still live on and maintain the islands; most have moved to the mainland. The Uros also bury their dead on the mainland in special cemeteries.
 The Uros do not reject modern technology: some boats have motors, some houses have solar panels to run appliances such as televisions, and the main island is home to an Uros-run FM radio station, which plays music for several hours a day.
Early schooling is done on several islands, including a traditional school and a school run by a Christian church. Older children and university students attend school on the mainland, often in nearby Puno.

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