A strangers family
A special memory from the top of a mountain.In 2009 I was on an around the world trip and spent four months of it travelling around South America, one of the countries being Peru.
I did not want to be another gringo hitting the Machu Picchu trail so I went up north to a lesser-known ruin, Kuelap fortress.
A great Chachapoyas ruin, laying on the slopes of the Andes, 3000 meters above sea level.
I hiked up the mountain, and I did not see anyone else until I reached the top.
At that time it was raining and getting dark and I did not want to see this
Out of the blue from a small path between the trees a woman pulling a small horse appears. She invited me to stay with her and her family, overnight, until the rain had cleared up. I crawled on to the horse and she pulled me a little way down the mountain to an old mudstone house.
We were greeted by four very excited kids of the age of five to twelve, a girl and her three brothers. There was no electricity here and the oldest brother would lead his kid sister and brothers down the mountain on the horse in the evening when it was pitch black to attend school.
The oldest boy had burn scars on most of his body from spilling boiled water onto himself when preparing food for his younger siblings. I learned that their father had left many years ago making the oldest boy put on the male parenting role.
This little family put me up in their home, made me food and gave me a bed.
Just a stranger on their mountain that they opened their home and heart to.
A gesture and warmth that I will never forget.