Photographer's Note

Day 8 - Our tour boat stopped on this small Island, of probably 1000 square meter max, belonging to the Uros Islands (they're a group of about 40 floating islands). The community of this island belongs to one familly; they're a group of 20 or so people. So at the moment we went off on the island there was as much tourists as islanders on this small space. I would like to have stayed overnight and enjoyed more time with the locals without this massive presence of tourists, but as I was not feeling on my best shape we had decided previously to stay at a hotel instead. I remember seeing about three couples, an old lady (see WS) and a group of children. The chief told us that they decided to separate from another island (they simple cut their part and form a new island) about 3 years ago.
While some of the Islanders were taking care of the little artcraft fair they settle down on the main 'plaza' for the tourists, others such as this couple were going on with their lives preparing their meal. The food as you can see is cooked with fires placed on piles of stones. The parts of totora, the low bush-like tola and the resinous moss like yareta are both used for fuel, and the soft heart of fresh totora reeds -- similar to asparagus --accompanies most of their meals (see WS). Looking at they cooking I thought about how they make fire in such a place, the risk of putting fire on everything should be high. Effectively, in the midst of so much water, their stoves cause devastating fires.

Here an interesting extract from a text of 1994, by Miranda France: " Uros families are extended in that married couples set up house near their parents, or in-laws, and continue to eat with them and share many tasks. Husbands are often deferential to their wives.
Uros men used to fish around the islands at night, but depleted stocks have driven them deeper into the lake, and now they go on three-day missions once a week, leaving their wives in charge of the house, and of the family business. Their small two- and three-man boats, also made of reeds, make graceful picturesque arcs in the water and are sometimes fitted with small sails to take advantage of the frequent winds.
The women rise at dawn and draw water from the lake, then spend the day washing clothes and dishes, untangling fishing nets and making woven sheets of totora for new huts. Once or twice a week, they barter the fish for rice, potatoes and sugar, in mainland markets. The islanders' diet is fairly good: they eat fish and birds -- the latter caught by their dogs -- and they cultivate potatoes in shallow soil laid over the earthy roots that support the island."

lotis, robertosalguero, cobraphil8, syd1946, Joffre has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Flavia J Soares (Flavia) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1871 W: 87 N: 2339] (10352)
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