homestay Lake Titcaca

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homestay Lake Titcaca

Postby madelle » Tue May 04, 2010 11:26 pm

Hi,
I am really looking forward to the homestay on one of the islands on Lake Titcaca. I was just wondering if someone could give some heads up on things we should bring for the guests, for ourselves, if they can speak any English, or anything else you think think would be cool to know or advice, tidbits of information that might be useful to know while we are there. Do you have to walk a fair distance to get to their house? Do most of them have kids? Whatever..I just would like to get more of a feel of what this visit will be like.
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Re: homestay Lake Titcaca

Postby graybeard » Tue May 04, 2010 11:39 pm

On our trip our GAP guide had the group stop at a market to pick up foodstuffs prior to getting on the boat. He gave suggestions as to what would be useful and cost guidelines. English? Not really. Lots of smiles and gestures. Spanish is the second language and the first is the original language of the island. (Sorry, I forgot the name of it. I'm sure someone else here will supply this.) Strictly outside and down the path "facilities". Open fire kitchens. Yes, depending upon which family you are with, the walk can be 1/4 mile or more. Interesting experience. Never saw that many small children at the homestay island, but lots of cute kids when we stopped on the Uros island on the way back.
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Re: homestay Lake Titcaca

Postby keng » Wed May 05, 2010 8:03 am

Did it myself last year. Great experience. We stayed with a family, Celia and a couple of small kids. Spoke as much english as I did spanish which is a little more than nothing. Non the less we had a grat time. Food was very basic veg soup and mains. Only had coffee so if you drink tea better take your own. Infact I found it hard to get a decent cuppa anywhere in South America. I'm Going to Ecuador next week and taking my own box of tea this time, Hope this info helps
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Re: homestay Lake Titcaca

Postby eric » Wed May 05, 2010 4:37 pm

Hi,

As well as everything else you were thinking of as gifts etc,
take along a handfull of picture postcards of your home town etc etc.

Regards

Eric / London / England
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Re: homestay Lake Titcaca

Postby TravelFun » Wed May 05, 2010 8:08 pm

The local language is Quechua...I knew basic Spanish when I went plus our guide gave a leaflet of basic words translated into Quechua which helped.

Alot of smiles. laughs and laughter also takes you a long way. :P
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Re: homestay Lake Titcaca

Postby madelle » Wed May 05, 2010 11:57 pm

Thanks everyone for your comments. It is all usefull stuff to know. It sounds quite unique. If anyone else has anything to add please do so.
I was also wondering how many people from our group stay at the same place.
What are the sleeping arrangements like? I'm sure they are rather primitive which is fine. I just find it cool to know beforehand
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Re: homestay Lake Titcaca

Postby Zuleika » Thu May 06, 2010 3:21 pm

I really REALLY enjoyed my homestay visit!
It was fairly basic with the loo being a hut down the end of the garden and sitting round the mudfloor kitchen to eat etc.
I don't remember their being any electricity either, so dont forget yr torch. That said my room was pretty comfortable considering, not really primitive at all - I'm sure they go all out for the guest rooms and it wouldn't surprise me if their own rooms are nowhere near as well decked out. I found it very cold at night, due to the altitude, so take warm clothing.
When you get there you find a hat that they have knitted for you to wear before you go off to 'play' football etc - you should wear it as its their way of identifying you when they come and get you for dinner - as we all look the same apparently!!!! Leave a little money for it when you leave as a nice gesture. Its a nice souvenir.
You are usually approx 2 per family to share things round in the community. We had several cute kids with our family.
We had the best evening - we had to dress up like them - they helped us which was great fun, lots of giggling all round - then we all went for drinking and they taught us dancing at the village hall - MUCH fun!
I LOVE PERU!!!!


PS - its a few years since I went now - i hope its still just as good! - Let us know when you get back!
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Re: homestay Lake Titcaca

Postby madelle » Sun May 09, 2010 1:40 pm

Thanks Zuleika for your very informative response. I am getting increasingly exciting about it all. It still seems miles away from where I am at the moment but a wonderful thing to look froward to.

I would like to bring some gifts from home (Canada) as well as some food stuff from there like you mentioned.
Does anyone have any idea what small thing(s) they (kids or adults) could use that you may have thought it would have been nice to give them this or that. It is difficult to know from here what they could really use or think is a nice gift. Any suggestions appreciated.
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Re: homestay Lake Titcaca

Postby francine_16 » Sun May 09, 2010 4:19 pm

I loved this part of my trip to Peru. Before travelling I just go to the dollar store and pick up stuff that says canada on it or has the flag on it. Usually you can get pens, pencils, and I have even found hackie sacks that are appreciated by the kids.

Have fun and also pick up stuff locally to bring over to the families.
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Re: homestay Lake Titcaca

Postby ballu » Mon May 10, 2010 1:15 pm

The family we stayed with had older boys in their early & mid teens and they had a stack of unused colouring books in their kitchen that people had brought. Just keep in mind that you might not get a family with little kids. I like the hackey sack idea, I wished I had brought a frisbee...maybe a deck of cards would be good?
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Re: homestay Lake Titcaca

Postby damelza » Mon May 10, 2010 9:10 pm

I have just returned from the Altiplano & Amazon trip and really enjoyed the Lake Titicaca homestay. We were in put into groups of 2 or 3 and allocated a family. I stayed in a group of 3 with a father and 5 of his children, ranging from 2 to 24. We stayed in a guest room which was very comfortable with its own bathroom complete with a flushing toilet. This was a palace compared to the rooms the family slept in. Compared to other groups as well I think we had the best accommodation. The local language was Aymara and we were given a sheet with some useful phrases but it was easier to try and communicate in Spanish.

While still in Puno we went to a local market and bought gifts for the families we were going to stay with. We were told the best thing to get was basic foodstuffs (nothing sweet) so rice, sugar, tinned fish, crackers, fresh fruit, etc. We also bought something for children but didn't know at the time if we would be staying with any. I bought a colouring book and crayons which was loved by the 7 year old we stayed with and she started colouring straight away. In the morning when we were saying goodbye I left my torch with the family because they had borrowed it the night before and obviously needed it (there was no electricity).

Dinner was a simple vegetable soup and then vegetable stew with rice followed by tea. After dinner we were dressed up in local costumes and met the rest of our group for some dancing - first by the locals and then by us. It was hard dancing in heavy costumes and at such a high altitude but still a lot of fun. Breakfast was a type of fried bread and tea.

Hope that helps :-)
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Re: homestay Lake Titcaca

Postby madelle » Wed May 12, 2010 5:49 pm

Some great information here. Thank you damelza for your very detailed response. It is quite helpful. It sounds like a lot of fun and gives you a real peek into everyday lives of people there. Since I don't speak Spanish this should be a hoot making myself understood. Maybe the person with me can speak some. But no matter. I love making myself understood in a country where I know very little of the language.
I like the idea of a torch as a gift. Thanks for that tip.

If anyone else has anything to add please feel free.
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Re: homestay Lake Titcaca

Postby krizzie » Wed May 12, 2010 9:51 pm

I just returned from Absolute Peru. I thoroughly enjoyed our home stay. We too were separated into groups of 2 or 3 for our stay and all visited the local market for gift supplies prior to heading to the island. We all pretty much followed the guide as to the types of staple goods that the families would need.

In my home we were provided comfortable accommodations but unlike damelza our “facilities” were shared but accessible from the houses inner courtyard. The toilet appeared modern at first glance but did not have running water attached (and it was sans seat). So each time you endeavored to use the commode you were required to first stop outside and fill a bucket of water to take in with you. When finished hold the flusher and dump in the water. If you were lucky you only needed one bucket - if not then everyone knew it when you had to go back outside for a second bucket and try again. I found this same situation in other parts of Peru so it really wasn’t a big deal and makes things that much more interesting.

Our Tour Leader also provided a list of common phrases and we found it entertaining to try these out with our family but for the most part communication was a hilarious combination of very poor Spanish and charades!

The food they prepared us, although simple fare, was astonishingly delicious considering the near medieval conditions of the kitchen.

Our home stay family included one 9-year-old child, Juan, who was friendly but shy, AND amazingly talented as we found out when he played in the musical group that entertained us during the evening dance!

NOTE: Should you end up staying with host mother Esther and her family and get the room facing the back of the house be prepared for little sleep. I was not expecting that the family mule would be tied to the house directly outside my window. I´m not sure if the animal was lonely or was just truly being as ass, but about every 45 minutes or so the thing would kick into 3 or 4 minutes of hawing as loudly as possible. :D

The home stay was one of the portions of the itinerary that I was most apprehensive about. As it turned out it is one of the experiences that I will remember and cherish the most. Happy travels and I hope that you enjoy your time and host family as much as I did.
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Re: homestay Lake Titcaca

Postby fryfam » Tue May 18, 2010 4:50 pm

I agree with all the info posted here. The homestay was a highlight for my family of 4. We were split into two groups and had very different family groups. One family had 7 children, and the other had only 1. We brought crayons and colourful paper pads from home, as well as bought food supplies at the local market to support the economy in Puno. I have two suggestions for gifts that I wish we had considered. Our Mama had a flashlight that was charged by winding that someone had previously given her. It would have been a great gift as they have very few electrical resources on the island and it is very dark at night, even with the glorious stars. We were led along very windy and rocky paths between the soccer pitch and main hall, and our homestay house where the flashlights were a necessity. I noticed that if we had ours turned on, they turned theirs off to conserve power. The other suggestion for a great gift would be a soccer ball from home. We waited to buy ours from the market in Puno, however they pumped it up in the market and it was flat before we reached the island. Very disappointing. We gave it to our homestay child regardless, and it was the first time we saw him smile. Playing soccer with the Amantani Island people was one of the highlights of our trip. The pitch is concrete and on a hill (don't worry, they chase after the ball if it starts to roll down the bank) and the ball we used was not a proper soccer ball and it was a little flat. It turned out that the boy from our house was the keeper of the ball as it ended up in our courtyard after the game. It sure would have been nice to replace that ball with something more reliable from home, along with a small pump and spare needles. I have read that other people have brought soccer balls as gifts, but I can only imagine that they go through many of them as it is one of their main activities on the island.
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Re: homestay Lake Titcaca

Postby madelle » Wed May 19, 2010 12:39 am

Wonderful information here. Thank you everyone. Some great ideas for gifts. I am going out tomorrow to investigate a number of them. I am sure the contact with the "real" Peru and its people is very powerful. I would love to hear some more reports of a homestays and gifts etc. I'm, sure they are all quite unique.
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