I just stumbled onto a very interesting looking documentary from a Montana filmmaker about the life of an Inca Trail porter: Mi Chacra (My Land) by Jason Burlage of Bozeman. I hope to be able to make it to Missoula on Feb 19 for the film’s screening in the Wilma Theater at 5:30 as part of the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. Spread the word and get out and check out this film.
I feel it is always very important to learn about the people you will travel with and who live in the areas you visit on your trips. This film looks like a good opportunity to learn more about the porters on the Inca Trail, and the people living in the highlands around the Sacred Valley. If you have trekked the Inca Trail, or plan to do so (or just visit Peru and Machu Picchu), you should check out this film.
Some of my best memories of Inca Trail trips involve sharing mouthfuls of coca leaves with the various porters I met along the trail. I would buy a large bag of coca leaves to take on the trip, and soon porters would start asking for some leaves. It was a great way to share a moment and a laugh on the trek.
From the film’s facebook page:
“Raised in a small farming village in the mountains of southern Peru, Feliciano works as a porter on the Inca Trail in hopes of some day taking his son to live in the city. Framed by the seasons, Mi Chacra chronicles one year in Feliciano’s life, from the planting season in his community to the harvest, and through a season of work as a porter on the Inca Trail. The film paints a vivid picture of this man’s world, of the conflict between his love of the land and the work he has learned from his father, and the desire to see his son living what he sees as a better life in the city.”
I am really interested in this film, at least in part because many years ago on a trek I did with Mountain Travel-Sobek (it was a combo Apurimac Raft Trip/Salcantay Inca Trail trek — I was there to guide a raft on the Apurimac and to accompany the group on the Inca Trail), one of our porters died. It turned out he had been very ill before the trek but wanted the work because he needed the cash, so he hid his illness in order to get to go on the trek. I’ve always wanted to know more about the porters since, and have been very concerned to make sure to only work with companies that have strong porter protection policies.
You can learn more about the film here: http://www.michacrafilm.com, or check it out and become a fan on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mi-Chacra-My-Land/61308773565?ref=share