Friday, March 1, 2013


The Uros tribe, in Peru, South America, live most of their lives on man-made floating islands. Their living arrangements can easily be one the most unique in the world. The people of the Uros tribe has created these islands on the isolated Lake Titicaca for protection against stronger tribes. Tortura reeds are interwoven to create a dense foundation of about 2 m thick. To provide anchorage, large logs are drilled through the island into the floor of the lake, ropes are then attached to provide stability.  

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The Uros tribe also uses the reeds to build their huts and their boats. In many ways the reeds have become their livelihood. Iodine is produced from the reeds and sold. They are also used for general medicinal purposes – when wrapped around a painful part of the body, the pain is said to simply vanish. The flowers of the reeds are also used to brew coffee.

The Uros tribe have learned to overcome the many hurdles of island life. The islands needs regular maintenance and upkeep because the reeds rot and needs to be replace with fresh ones at least four times a year. Also, to avoid the reeds from catching fire, Uros avoids the open flame cooking method and instead opts for a more traditional method of making fire on top of a pile of rocks. A very small island near the larger ones serves the purpose of attending to nature’s calls.

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The Uros people represent a near-perfect community that has learned to live in great harmony with their surroundings but unfortunately, like many other unique cultures in the world, they are under threat from assimilation. They are said to have lost their own language half a century ago and now speak Aymara – the language of the mainland tribes. With the arrival of the Europeans the Uros were forced to pay taxes and also gave up many of their people as slaves.

Despite all the struggles they have been through over the years, the Uros are still thriving. Today Lake Titicaca is home to forty small islands and a large central one. The central island acts as the central point of the tribal community and also has a radio station that broadcasts for several hours of the day. Solar panels are installed on the homes help to run electronic appliances such as television sets. They also have several schools that provide education for children.

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