Calacachi is a small village set a few miles off the nearest highway, down a dirt road that ends at a creek that must be crossed to get to the people on the other side. Pastor Juan leads this effort. We have been in this village for several years now, among its 100 residents preaching and teaching while sitting outside on stumps and rocks and sacks of Quinoa. We can’t meet there in the rainy season. The water rises and there is no way across the creek, so many of the people leave their homes to wait it out with relatives of other villages.
Many people ask why do the Aymara of Calacachi stay in this rugged location? The answer is simple. It is their home and it was the home of their fathers and mothers, their grandfathers and grandmothers, their ancestors. Here they own land and it is beautiful land with rolling hills dotted by tiny houses. The air is fresh and the sky is painted an intense blue that turns purple and a fiery orange at sunset. The colors are uncorrupted by pollution.
When he can, Pastor Juan continues to bring the gospel, meeting with the village leader Leoncio, sharing some papas and the word of God. Rhonda and I have sat with these good people who live a life most of us cannot imagine, without running water, without any kind of bathroom facilities, without modernization, plows made out of machetes on the end of a large branch, drug through the fields by a donkey, kitchens outside cooking over an open fire made from sheep dung. But these good people are not without faith and they stop their lives when we come to town to listen to what God is telling them.