Part 2 of Peru Independence Day July 28.
Women of Peru, I saw them in many roles. Roaming the streets and mountains of Cusco with alpacas and baby sheep for some photo money. Pacing along with guide horses at 5000m altitudes, carrying babies wrapped in the shawls on their backs, wearing sandals made from recycled tyres with no socks, while tough hikers in Goretex shoes sat on horses with tired faces.
Ploughing rocky fields while wearing heavy pollera skirts at altitudes where even seasoned cyclists struggled to breathe.
Spinning sheep wool into yarn by hand everywhere they went, be it walking from one place to another, visiting someone, waiting for a bus, or having a gossip. Not a single moment wasted.
Making new clothes from old with trembling hands, and collecting beans in remote locations with no dwelling in sight.
I saw them in remote places, doing different things, and wearing different things, but if there was one common thing in all of them. It was the hat they proudly wore. It is as if it was glued to their head and would not shift no matter what they did.
Whenever I saw them, I wished I had a hat too. Not to look cool but only so I could tip it for them.
I wrote a few lines for them.
Strong like llamas,
swift as vicuñas,
gentle like flowers
tough as mountains,
soft like a whisper,
colourful as a rainbow.
They are the women of Peru.
Whenever I see them,
they are waving to me
like Lilies of Peru in the wind!