2. Connect the blocks together securely, using rope.
3. Fasten down with stakes buried into the bed of the lake.
4. Now the the base of the island is complete, create the floor by building up layers of the totora, alternating them back and forth, on top of the roots.
5. Every 15 days add new layers on top of the old ones. (When you need to redo underneath your house – which is also made of totora – simply lift it to one side.)
|A beginner`s guide to making your own floating island.|
|Cutting-edge technology for island life.|
We were lucky enough to stay the night with the Quespe Yanarico family in Amantani. Fredy and Violeta and their children Deigo (13) and Selina (6) welcomed us into their home and gave us so much more information about the island than a guide book ever could.Life on Amantani is hard and although the family has guests once a month, they mainly rely on agriculture for their income. Violeta (who is only 26 – you do the maths) also knits jumpers and hats from alpaca wool. When I bought a hat from her, which had taken a week to make, she hugged me so tightly and was so grateful that I actually felt embarrassed that I`d only paid about 7 pounds for it.
Education is very important to Fredy and Violeta and they pay 50 soles a month (about 12 pounds) to send Selina to a private school on the island, as the state school does not have a very good reputation. Deigo walks two hours a day to the island`s only secondary school and his parents hope that he will become a tour guide when he is older. Tourism really is seen as a way out of poverty here.
As well as giving us lovely meals and a cosy room for the night – the family has no heating but I had so many blankets on my bed I could barely move – they also dressed us up in traditional clothes to go to a dance in the island`s main hall.
|A warm bed for the night and amazing lake views, a girl couldn`t ask for more.|
|Nice outfit, shame about the boots…|
Staying with a family allowed us to experience another side of island life aside from the obvious tourism and although things are not easy for the Quespe Yanaricos it was nice to see how Fredy and Violeta, like parents the world over, are working hard to ensure their children have a better quality of life.
|The lovely Quespe Yanaricos.|