sacred valley sirens

quechua women sacred valley peruThe football field may traditionally be a male domain, but in a small village high in the Andes it’s the best man, or woman, for the team, as Summer Davis explains…

“Heading up through the terraced mountains of the Sacred Valley, we prepared ourselves for an afternoon of ‘local interaction’ with the Sacaca community. But this was no ordinary visit, because on this occasion our Intrepid Cuzco office decided to challenge these hearty mountain Quechuas to a game of football.

Upon arrival to the over 3000 metre (9840 feet) high village, the sun shone through blue skies and onto green and gold fields. We were greeted by some 15 villagers with alyiyanchus (hello in Quechua) and gentle handshakes.

After some brief, simple conversation, we decided to get down to business and asked where was their team. “Alla estan” they pointed us to the football field, where five community women in traditionally embroidered skirts, long braids and rubber sandals stared us down in front of their goal, ready to begin the match. We assembled our team, which seemed bigger than theirs in all ways. While the other team’s ojotas (sandals) flew off with every hard kick, our players swapped out frequently for lack of breath. Only our hard-core Argentinian Destination Manager sweated, ran and scored throughout the whole game, dominating the Sacaca team with fierce relentlessness.

Why weren’t the men playing? It was explained to us by the men themselves that the Sacaca women were some of the best in the Sacred Valley. They had their own team and had even travelled to the next province (8 hours away) to compete in a football tournament. As the men of the village looked on from a grassy knoll, I admired their respect for their women. I myself respected the women’s undaunted determination at taking to the field in shoes and skirts – the likes of which I couldn’t even imagine wearing as a spectator. What an amazing experience – definitely no losers this day!”

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* photo by Emily Mitterhuemer

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll read about Sue's travel experiences, find helpful travel advice and she loves sharing great tales from Intrepid travellers.

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