The Old Folks´ Home (Chucuito, Peru)

As part of my work with Project Suyana, I´m spending a chunk of time in a home for elderly in the city of Chucuito, Peru.  About a 20-30 min ride from Puno depending on construction, Chucuito is a fairly small town next to Lake Titikaka with Aymara roots, and the elderly home (asilo de ancianos, lit. elderly asylum, not too flattering in translation) is a refuge for those who either don´t have family or their families cannot take care of them.

 

Initially financed by the government, the home itself is on quite beautiful grounds but they are not particularly kept up due to a lack of financing.  The abuelitos that live there are not particularly nimble, and the few staff there already have a handful taking care of the residents.  They invited me to stay there and I took up their offer, since 2ish meals a day and free accomodations are pretty great notwithstanding the elderly moans at night. Since quite a bit of things needed work, I got my hands dirty and tried to get a former greenhouse stripped of its decaying plastic roof, did some painting, and restored a chicken coop. There were actually a handful of hens running around, but they would not lay eggs since the dogs scared them and the coop wasn´t safe since the fence has come apart. Below are some pictures that I took and some that the daughter (Mariela) of one of the staff (Maria) took.  Personally, I think Mariela´s are more charming. I will slowly be adding pictures as my stay lengthens, and I´ve also uploaded a video.

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An additional video that shows more detail on the chicken coop can be found here: The chicken coop project at the Asilo de Ancianos (Elderly Home), Chucuito, Peru

Painting a room, little did I know it was the one I was to be sleeping in
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Once a greenhouse, this building fell into disrepair.  One of my first projects at the asilo was to strip off the plastic and clear the area to plant some crops.
Julio Moises, Mariela, and me clearing weeds.
Abuelitos Rosendo, Sabina, and Honorata taking a snack break. It´s amazing how quickly they can work if your first judgment is based on the stability of their gait (like mine was).
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And this is how it looked after stripping the plastic.
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And this is after raking.
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Abuelitas Sabina and Honorata feeding the hens.
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Abuelita Sabina in all her glory.
Dinner time with abuelitos, which usually consists of a piece of bread and some mate (a tea made of various herbs).
The chicken coop before repairs.
The chicken coop before repairs.
And this is the chicken coop after repairs.
Chicken coop before.
And chicken coop after.
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With a post I had just replaced, the wall was awaiting reconstruction.
Adela, not working hard enough.
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Slowly building up the wall.
Still, slowly building the wall.
The wall, all finished and topped off with concrete.
Maria, the cook, helping with the wall construction.
Mixing mud, used to hold the rocks together that we were building the wall with.
Clearning out weeds from the chicken coop with the abuelitos.
Abuelito Julio Moisés ready to engage in some fisticuffs.
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Another part of the wall that had collapsed.
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The other part of the collapsed wall, nice and built up.
Painting a room, little did I know it was the one I was to be sleeping in
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Mariela´s shots are on the next page...

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