Amanda Peterson - Incan & Wari Archaeology in Peru
My name is Amanda Peterson and for a month I had the rare and beautiful opportunity of learning with the Inca Project in Huyro. At the time I was a third year undergraduate student at the University of Arizona. I have always been a woman of many passions, and meeting and tasting the world has been heavily weighted all my life. Even writing this story floods my heart with so much joy.
Returning to the desolate desert city of Tucson after a month in the lush forests of the Sacred Valley has been a bittersweet transition. I cannot tell you I chose Peru or the Inca Project for any specific reason other than my desire to feel something different than the comforts of my little life in Arizona.
I still consider Huyro and my fellow volunteers to be of familial nature. The lines you cross and bonds you build while at Establo – the volunteer house where the Inca Projects volunteers live, have left an unwavering impression on my heart. We would all take turns doing chores around this refurbishing horse stable, whether it was dishes or feeding the chickens. We would spend every Friday sweeping and mopping the entire place, and do not get me started on bathroom duty. But you know it, this life becomes second nature faster than you would imagine.
Since you do not have electricity, you learn to shower at the hottest part of the day, and to cover yourself in bug spray before you step out if you care to avoid being eaten alive. You learn to accept your sweaty, smelly body and those of others around you. You learn to read by candlelight, prepare all the food you eat, and appreciate the little you have there and the lot you have at home. Most importantly, you learn to accept the diverse qualities and lifestyles of the world.
I’m sure you want to know about the actual volunteer work you do while in the Sacred Valley. For starters, bring working gloves! I was the only person who brought them, and I was the only one without blisters on my hands. You spend most of the days working with machetes, which is good fun for any woman interested in coming out to Peru! We would scale the Andes, or any mountain in close proximity. We had the opportunity to find several ruins that needed a good clearing, including the Inca Trail. Wild brushes were cleared, and the day’s work was very rewarding. You learned what it felt like to really work honestly.
One day, Dan (our supervisor) had us women digging trenches to clear the water line in the back. I was thigh high in mud and had to just throw that outfit in the trash because there was no way I was going to bother scrubbing that clean to any avail. And to answer your question yes you do your own laundry and most people do see your undergarments. As I already stated, lines are crossed down there.
So come on down to Huyro, where you’ll learn to live and love, work hard and play harder! Say hello to the dog Mayu for me!