Discovering the Nascans: Nasca Lines and Lake Haucachina

During much of the blogging experience I have been able to recount many of the experiences that we have had in Lima and in the community. On Tuesday during my layover in Panama I was able to gather some ideas together to provide you all with a better idea of a very interesting cultural and tourist experience-a visit to the majestic Nasca Lines. I hope you enjoy!

August 21, 2011

Last weekend the Doc and I packed up and headed out of the city. We decided to head to Nasca, a small city known for the remarkable Nasca lines.

Nasca is a city located about 450kms from Lima. It is an oasis, located 50kms from the coast. It is surrounded by the dry arid hills and sand dunes, the most prominent being the Cerro Blanco (White Hill), the tallest dune in the world.

Home to 30,000 residents, the city of Nasca has experienced a period of great growth, with the growing interest in the Nasca lines and other tourist sites.The city represents a nice mix of archaeologists, historians, local Nascan people (Nascans) and tourists. The Nascans still feel a connection to their ancestors. During our visit we saw a cemetery located near a significant ancient ruin that the Nascan people wtill walk to, to bury their dead.

We had an amazing time. Through a connection with Jorge Seminario from KUSA Bus Lines Peru, a man who arranges our transportation when we are in Lima, we were introduced to Josua Lancho (Professor Labcho), an energetic historian native to Nasca. Professor Lancho was a joy to be around and he kept us entertained with his stories, He seemed to know just about everyone in the town and he was greeted by just about everyone he saw around town. Lancho is an avid Nascan historian and as a result we were able to see artefacts from the Nasca, Guarni period at the museum of Antonio Antoleni, the Nascan aqueducts made a favourable impression on us. We even helped transcribe a document for Josua who is currently working on contributing his own theory on the creation of the Nasca lines. More than 70 lines exist. By taking an airplane flight one can see 16 images, including a monkey, humingbird and astronaut.

The Nasca lines we designed by the Nasca culture (400 AD). As we learned, historians debate the impetus for their creation. One theory states that they were created so as to be used during religious ceremonies to the gods. The other prominent theory was that they were designed for astronomical and cosmological purposes.

The highlight was our visit to Cahuachi. Cahuachi with its white walls stretches over 24km2. It is home to the largest ceremonial dig in South America and it is one of the largest in the world. When we arrived the archaeologists were busy uncovering and rebuilding the ruin. They had to stop at 1:00PM as the temperature becomes unbearable. We found out later that only a small portion of Cahuachi can be uncovered to ensure that it can be maintained. The rest remains underground.

The visit to Cahuachi corresponded with the serendipitous visit of Adine Gavazzi’s (archaeologist) to Cahuachi. Adine Gavazzi  has visited over 500 Peruvian ruins, which she has documented in her book, Arquitectura Andina. It was fascinating speaking with Gavazzi. When discussing her book, she explained that she hopes the book will help build awareness to the pre-columbian Peruvian cultures. It is her life goal to help the Peruvians learn about their history so that they can value the developed cultures that preceded the Spanish. It was an amazing experience being able to visit an archeological dig and speak to the members in charge of the dig.

After our nice time in Nasca we headed to Lima, making a morning stop in Ica. In Ica we enjoyed visiting Lake Huacachina, climbing the dunes and tasting Peru’s drink of choice, pisco sour, at one of the many vineyards. We then headed back to Lima to prepare for our busy week ahead.

The Nasca cultures are enchanting. I was left amazed by the Nasca lines and left in awe of such an advanced culture.

If anyone has the opportunity to visit Nasca and Ica I would highly recommend it. Your visit is sure to be enhanced if you stop by the Oro Viejo Hotel and tell them you are looking for Professor Lancho.

I hope these photos give you a sense of our wonderful experience in Nasca and Ica.

L. Shuttleworth

The Palpa Oasis - on route, Lima to Nasca.
Nasca residents mill around the main square.
Inside the cockpit - Nasca Lines
Astronaut, Nasca Lines, Nasca.
Spot the curly tail - Monkey, Nasca Lines, Nasca
Contemporary cemetery located minutes from Cahuachi. Nascans bury their dead in a location that maintains a connection to the past.
Magnificent Cahuachi!
Adine Gavazzi (archeologist) signs her newest book, Arquitectura Andina.

Impressive Nascan aqueduct

Artefacts - Antonio Antoleni - Nasca
Sand dunes - Huacachina
Buggies await passengers to head to the dunes.
The oasis of Huacahina - Lake Huacachina

The distribution in Pacifico de Villa

When we arrived eighty people were waiting inside the community centre of Pacifico de Villa, waiting to receive the water filters. A team of Rotarians, including current president Ken Clay and past president Rosanna Carlini arrived in Pacifico de Villa ready to distribute the 140 filters.Handing over 140 filters, a daunting task for many was handled with such organisation and care by the Rotary Club.

The distribution began with Rosanna expressing her joy at being able to visit Pacifico de Villa and thanking the community for receiving their Rotary club. She then explained how the filters were to be maintained to maximize their performance. The filters which consist of a plastic bucket and a specialised pot. The water runs through the pot and collects in the bucket. The filter is said cut down 98% of the germs in the water and if maintained carefully the filters will last up to four years. Following Rosanna’s words the Rotary Club began the distribution of the filters. With an ease of purpose, care and determination the Rotary Club handed out the filters. Each person on the list was given a filter in return for 10 soles. Members of the Rotary Club were on hand to assist with the training in the use of the filters. Concerned community members who had heard abou

t the filters, but who were not yet on a list, relaxed when they were assured that they would receive a filter. In other cases families who had not brought the money with them were happy to find out that the next distribution would take place within the next two weeks. By 12:30 the Rotary Club had handled out 140 filters, and promised to return to distribute filters to the remaining families who would like a filter.

It was a very successful day. The Rotary Club was a joy to work with. Along with providing the filters the club’s experience working and living with the Peruvian people was a great help in insuring that all needs of the people were met.

Thank you very much to the Rotary Club of Lima Sunrise and Ricardo Grados of Cristo Rey School for such a successful distribution. It was a pleasure to partner with you during this project.

We look forward to your next visit to Pacifico!

I have included some photos of the distribution.


L. Shuttleworth

Lima Sunrise Rotary Club prepare to distribute water filters
Solidarity in Action's Larry Shuttleworth explains how to maintain the filters and community members look on.
Lima Sunrise, Cristo Rey and Larry and Javier pose with the community executive Luis Serna (top left), Francisco Pizarro (top right - second to the right and Domingo)

For more photos visit, Thank you Meagan Pagitt from Lima Sunrise for posting the great photos on photobucket!

SIA, Rotary and Cristo Rey bring water to Pacífico

During a community meeting in the shantytown of Pacífico de Villa, Javier, Solidarity in Action (SIA) Peru’s Regional Coordinator explained the possibility. Heads turned, families began to chat excitedly as they learned about the opportunity to have access to clean water. Water filters arranged by the Sunrise Rotary Club of Lima and SIA would allow families to have two litres of water every 30 minutes. The water filters are guaranteed for two years, require minimum maintenance and if looked after properly, can last up to five years.

Many people throughout Lima struggle to have regular access to water. Even when they do have access to water, they need to treat or boil it before it can be safely consumed. Many people spend hours a day just preparing their water before it can be used.

Solidarity in Action, the Rotary Club of Lima Sunrise and Cristo Rey School in Chorrillos, Peru have partnered together to provide 140 natural water filters to families in Pacífico de Villa at a discounted and affordable price. The Rotary Club of Lima Sunrise had access to 200 water filters. They had attained these water filters and wanted to provide them to the people in Lima in the lower economic bracket (classified as D and E under Peru’s classification system) at a discounted price of 10 soles (roughly US$3.25).

The Rotary Club had received the water filters months before, but they had struggled to find the best way to distribute them to populations in the greatest need. SIA, through founding member and Board member, Angus Shuttleworth, who is also a Rotarian and a member of the Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore, offered a solution. When visiting the Rotary Club of Lima Sunrise during his recent trip to Peru, Angus heard about these filters and he immediately knew that SIA would be able to find people who could benefit from the water filters. He was sure that the filters would offer a sustainable solution to the water shortage problems for the people of Pacífico de Villa. SIA began the steps to have the water filters sent to Pacífico.

Following the community meeting, Javier, left sign-up sheets with Luis Serna and the Pacífico de Villa leaders. Within two days, 120 people had signed up to receive a water filter. Yesterday, Friday August 19, Ricardo Grados, education director at Cristo Rey School and a good friend of SIA and the Rotary Club of Lima Sunrise, arranged for the drop off 140 water filters to the community centre in Pacifico de Villa.

Tomorrow, members from the Rotary Club of Lima Sunrise will participate in the delivery of the water filters to the families of Pacífico.

Follow us on Twitter tomorrow (@VolunteerSIA) as we deliver water filters to families in Pacífico de Villa.

L. Shuttleworth

Recently, SIA's Larry and Javier delivered a water filter like the ones that will be available to people in the shantytown of Pacífico de Villa.

An unannounced visit and a surprise invitation

If we think back to when we were younger, most of our closest relationships were with people who were lived just down the road. The community would never stretch much further than beyond the main road. However, the interactions that we have with the communities in South America are different. Children in the communities and the Canadian participants build strong relationships and in many cases they become attached to one another in a way that they never experienced before. However, for most of the year these relationships are separated by about 6000 kilometres.

What happens then when we leave the community? How do the friendships sustain themselves once we leave the community? Do the bonds we made begin to loosen? An announced visit to the community and a surprise invitation changed my understanding of our relationships and our community.

Above the busy bus “terminal” in Pacifico, the soccer field remained empty, there were no kids to be seen welcoming us, or preparing for a visit to the park. Just a few shouts could be heard as kids called to one another between the makeshift houses. It was a far cry from the one hundred community members who bide us farewell the previous F

riday. I was not disappointed. I like making announced visits to the community, either alone or in small groups. It is as if we get a genuine snapshot of everyday life in the community.

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No me olvides – “Don’t forget me”…

It has taken me almost a week, but I think I am now able put it into words.

No matter the promises we made, they could never be sure that we ever would return.

When we were greeted by children they would cling on to us, almost in desperate. As if by holding us they could keep us forever, never leaving them alone. The goodbye was much harder. The image of the child from Ampliacion Pacifico, who whispered in my ear  “No me olvides” (Don’t forget me) as we said our goodbyes in 2010. It is not easy saying

goodby to someone who you may never see again. Many times we have left communities in tears, both the Canadians and the local communities. Communities left in the balance and the unknown. I have always felt that although we gave everything we could during our two weeks, it was not enough. I never felt comfortable leaving the communities in this feeling of the unknown.

I am no closer to resolving this concern, but I feel that we are moving towards something. I think with every visit we are getting closer to helping the community realise that we will

continue to support them. The goodbyes are shorter the hugs are becoming more relaxed.

Follow me in my next few blogs as I try to express and grapple with what I have been feeling.

There is always a lull that follows an SIA trip. As is the case with many intense experiences once they are run their course it takes time to regain your feet.

However, this time it was different. After an emotional goodbye I was prepared for the upcoming lull.

The remaining SIA team left the airport in silence. Nat, Kathryn, Calyn and I, all deep in thought and all visibly missing our friends. Everything seemed to indicate that we would experience an anticlimax.

Feeling that we needed to continue the experience, we decided to visit the community. On the way to the community we stopped in for a visit to Virgen del Carmen, the orphanage where the SIA May participants laid a floor. The orphanage is also the site of Calyn Pettit and Jen Bolus’ building leaders program, Project Karma (August 15 – August 19). Follow

Calyn Pettit and Jen Bolus at

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