I met eleven-year-old Roxana and her family in Peru. Roxana lives in the village of Amaru, high in the Andes with her parents, Seuprung and Sera. Their day starts at 5:30am and they all share in the workload together. For breakfast, Roxana skips with the sheep and plays with the chickens, bringing back six fresh, and needless to say, organic eggs. After an early breakfast of creamed wheat, eggs, and tea, Roxana studies in the morning light before going to school, a few fields away.
Sera takes time out of her morning to dye her wool into bright colors with plant extracts, and weaves her poncho before starting to cook lunch with fresh vegetables from her vegetable patch. Seuprung works in the fields. Their little patch of land supplies them with enough food throughout the year and then some, the excess they share with the community. They drink water from the stream behind their hut that is gushing ice cold water from the melting snow in the Andes. They have no fear of disease and do not have to reach for their bottled water, like us. In the evening, the family gathers in the tiny room that serves as their kitchen and dining room.
Fascinated by her new solar light, Roxana sits by the fire, reading her book.
It is the only room in the house that is warm but no one notices that other than me. As the sun sets, the temperature rapidly drops to zero degrees outside. It is also pitch dark by 6:00pm. Really, completely dark as I have never experienced before. But they go about their chores without noticing either the cold or the dark. I help with the chores; we all laugh and communicate with mostly hand signs and minimal Spanish. I am struck by the fact that Roxana never whines about anything, husband and wife work in the kitchen together, and they all seem content with life. They did not even own a radio.