On our way we stopped by the river Vilnacota to film the effects of the floods just outside Urubamba. Rubble, broken down houses and submerged cars remained as people were still working to salvage their possessions and clear the damage. People from these area had been temporarily "housed" in tents in a football field. We stopped to speak to the people and were dismayed to discover that the tents that had been provided by the Civil defence were leaking and sanitation facilities were situated in a sunken area in the field. As it was still raining and the Sacred Valley is still experiencing its rainy season we struggled to understand the logic.
When we arrived at the first community, Paucarbamba Arriba, we encountered people who had headed down from the second community, Paucarbamba Muyoc. On speaking to a community leader we discovered that the some priests had donated a number of mattresses which were about to be allocated to those displaced by the floods. The mattresses were being kept in a storage facility which was also where they were keeping the food. Unfortunately this storage facility was right by the train tracks in close proximity to the river.
We voiced our concern via the community president and then travelled to the upper community, Muyoc, to speak with one of the "damnificados" about his experience. Geraldo, told us that much of the aid which is being donated to the flood victims of Paucarbamba is not reaching the upper community where he is living with his family. Eddy encouraged him to speak to the Vice President about this. Unfortunately the Vice President wasn't in Paucarbamba as sadly his brother has gone missing in Quillabamba and he was out searching for his body.
We delivered half of the food which we had purchased at the market and realised that it was true, the upper community had very little in comparison with the lower community who had their storage cupboard full of food and other donations.
Geraldo took us to see where he was living with his family in leaking tents and we encountered our first mini cuy farm in his kitchen. Geraldo then took us to where his home used to be and David filmed him telling us about when the floods arrived and took away his home..
Back at the lower community the sun was out and we joined the community in a snack of Choclo (sweetcorn) and cheese. The people were waiting for the mattresses to be handed out and were making their way back to the upper community carrying them by hand. A number of volunteers had arrived from Cusco who offered to stay and help carry the mattresses. We then continued on to Ollantaytambo to show David the remains of the community of Huayronkoyoccpampa, just outside Ollantaytambo.
Leander and I had worked in the community with the Bullfrogs volunteers a few weeks earlier and were pleasantly surprised to discover that hardly anything remained. The church, which was flooded and falling down, had been razed to the ground and all the houses cleared and salvaged. Thankfully, a week before, the community of Ollantaytambo had come together to help move roof tiles, salvage wood and clear the space alongside the Huayronkoyoccpampa people. Apparently nearly 1000 people have been involved in the salvage operation, including Eddy.
With about 2 hours of film recorded we headed into Ollantaytambo to review the day. We still needed to speak to the community leaders to find out how exactly we could help them. Watch this space!