Yr Andes: Lowri Morgan Mynyddoedd y Byd


Yr Andes: Lowri Morgan

Lowri Morgan sy'n profi ei hun yn erbyn uchelfannau'r Andes ar y ffordd i'r dref uchaf yn y byd. Lowri Morgan tests herself in the Andes on the way to the highest town in the wo...


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-Mountains.

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-The upper reaches of the world.

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-A challenge and inspiration

-for humanity.

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-The people of the mountains

-are tough and inventive.

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-They've learnt how to live here

-and maintain a culture.

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-Below, the world is getting warmer.

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-The climate is changing.

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-The mountains are not separate from

-the fate of the rest of the planet.

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-From the peaks of Korea to the hills

-of the Rwenzori in Africa.

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-From the Alps to the Andes.

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-From the Rockies to the Himalayas.

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-This is the story of living

-on the high parts of Earth.

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-The mountains of the world.

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-The Andes

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-I'm in the Andes, the longest

-mountain chain in the world.

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-It extends almost 4,500 miles...

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-..along the west coast

-of South America.

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-Along the chain are volcanoes

-and striking summits...

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-..which climb up to 20,000ft.

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-Only in the Himalayas

-will you find higher mountains.

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-This is a landscape of extremes

-if ever there was one.

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-Extreme agriculture.

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-Our forefathers understood what

-grew best at every terrace level.

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-Look how high those terraces are.

-It's unbelievable.

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-The extremes of the highest town in

-the world are hard to believe too.

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-Gold is mined here...

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-..but the poor have to

-scrape a living in the rubbish tips.

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-Sometimes I get a bucket or two

-of ore in a week.

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-Sometimes - nothing.

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-But a different type of gold

-hides in the mountains.

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-These golden animals produce

-the most valuable wool in the world.

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-Her coat is so fine.

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-It's so beautiful.

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-There's extreme beauty

-in the mountains themselves as well.

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-I'm standing in front of

-the Cordillera and Pomabamba...

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-..which are part

-of the Peru-Bolivia border.

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-They're one example

-of the amazing scenery...

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-..that extends along

-an entire continent.

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-Extreme running is my passion.

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-But tackling the Amazonian jungle

-or the Arctic...

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-..aren't enough to prepare me

-for running at extreme altitude.

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-These are the Andes, where people

-live life to the extreme.

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-45 million years ago, a series

-of seismic movements began...

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-..which pushed the rocks upwards...

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-..to form a landscape

-which dominates South America.

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-The Andes have shaped the entire

-continent's weather and climate.

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-It's also given a unique character

-to the lives and culture...

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-..of the people

-who've made their home here.

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-This is one of the Andes'

-most famous cities, Cusco, in Peru.

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-It's a World Heritage Site

-and the capital of the Incas...

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-..the kings of the largest empire

-in the Americas...

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-..before

-the arrivals of the Europeans.

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-Walking through Cusco

-for the first time...

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-..is literally breathtaking.

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-We're 12,000ft above sea level.

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-That's three times higher

-than Snowdon.

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-The air might be thin

-and the oxygen lacking...

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-..but one thing's for sure...

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-..this place

-has an incredibly rich history.

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-If a day staring at ancient

-monuments takes your breath away...

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-..in the evening, a lack of oxygen

-is likely to floor you.

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-That's what worries me...

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-..as I join a group

-taking part in the latest gym craze.

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-I came across CrossFit

-in Lima in 2009.

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-When I came to the city of Cusco,

-no-one was ready for a new sport.

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-I had to open my own gym.

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-A tough combination

-of gymnastics and weights...

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-..is what Griella has introduced

-to her new highland home.

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-It's a popular gym -

-the highest one in the world!

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-Adapting to the altitude

-is horrible.

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-Believe you me,

-no matter how fit you are...

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-..the mountains

-take you to another level.

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-The exercise is so intense that

-it takes people to the 'Puke Box'.

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-Being sick is an annoyance

-but other dangers are even worse.

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-Rhabdomyolysis - an illness

-which comes over you suddenly.

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-It can kill you,

-if you ask too much of your body.

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-According to Griella,

-there's no way to predict...

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-..how altitude will affect people

-coming to the gym.

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-For me, weightlifting is the hardest

-thing - it requires many strengths.

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-At this altitude, you need a strong

-heart as well as physical strength.

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-That's enough fighting the altitude

-for now.

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-Fighting between two cultures...

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-..is what's shaped the history

-of the people in these mountains.

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-In the streets of Cusco...

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-..both cultures,

-the Conquistadors and the Incas...

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-..can literally be seen

-on top of each other.

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-The terracotta roofs

-of the Spanish conquerors...

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-..now fill the Cusco horizon.

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-But if you look down, you'll see

-the foundations of the old town...

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-..that's been here for far longer.

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-This wall was here...

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-..before Columbus discovered

-the Americas five centuries ago.

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-The stones, whatever their shape,

-fit perfectly, like a huge jigsaw.

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-The pity is we can no longer see...

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-..the entirety of these

-wonderful ancient buildings.

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-The Spaniard might have destroyed

-their old palaces...

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-..but the Incas were the real

-masters of living in the highlands.

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-This ancient site, Moray,

-proves this.

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-Not far to the north west of Cusco

-is the Incas' sacred valley...

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-..which is full of

-striking and iconic ruins.

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-It's a valley which was central...

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-..to the way the Incas

-mastered life here in the mountains.

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-In a natural hollow

-on the valley slopes...

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-..archaeologists

-have discovered a site...

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-..which, at first glance,

-looks like an amphitheatre.

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-These circles,

-with their terraces...

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-..have puzzled historians

-and experts over the years.

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-But, they're now starting

-to understand their purpose.

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-The latest research suggests...

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-..that Moray

-was an agricultural laboratory.

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-One of the site's

-remarkable features...

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-..is the huge difference

-in temperature...

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-..between

-the highest and lowest terraces.

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-It's as much as 15 degrees.

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-This enabled the Incas

-to experiment...

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-..and discover

-the best growing conditions.

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-With this information...

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-..the Incas succeeded

-in transforming this continent...

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-..in the same way

-that the Romans transformed Europe.

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-They say that as many as 60% of all

-the food crops in the world today...

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-..come from the Andes.

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-Some of these would've grown here.

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-The way they created a system...

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-..to live

-even in these tough conditions...

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-..changed the history

-of the whole continent.

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-They were

-the Romans of the Americas.

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-But then came the Spaniards,

-who saw the fertile land.

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-They swept the Incas aside.

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-The natives had to escape

-even higher up the mountains.

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-So high that farming was impossible.

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-Impossible for everyone

-apart from the Incas.

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-The Moray terraces near Cusco.

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-The Incas' agricultural nursery.

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-But, after the Spanish conquistadors

-nabbed the best land...

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-..the Incas

-had to use their farming skills...

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-..on some

-of the roughest terrain on Earth.

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-The valleys

-that cut through the mountains...

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-..in this part of the Andes

-are extremely steep.

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-But, the Incas succeeded

-in making use of the land.

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-Around a million hectares

-of terraces had been built...

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-..before the Spanish arrived,

-and they can still be seen today.

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-This is Cuyocuyo, a remote community

-in a high valley...

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-..on the eastern side

-of the Andes.

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-The Incas' farming methods

-still sustain the people here today.

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-But there's more to their heritage

-than agriculture.

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-Our methods come from our ancestors,

-and the way we work the land.

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-It's in the blood,

-the love for the Cuyocuyo valley.

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-We're proud of our culture,

-our folklore, our dancers, etc. etc.

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-It all comes from our ancestors.

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-Ademir Mamani,

-a man of many talents.

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-A musician, farmer and teacher.

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-When he's finished working

-in the classroom or the fields...

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-..he likes to play the siku

-or zampona instrument...

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-..that's as traditional

-as the area's colourful clothes.

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-The Andes' great music

-can be heard all over the world.

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-But here, close to his roots, he

-expresses the people's feelings...

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-..and pays tribute to ancient gods.

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-For the mountain people,

-pleasing the gods is very important.

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-Before planting and harvesting...

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-..a offering must be given

-to Pachamama, mother earth.

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-It's a ritual honoured

-since farming began here.

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-I happen to be visiting Ademir

-during a symbolic week.

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-A new moon in the fourth month

-of the old Inca calendar...

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-..which is when maize is planted.

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-Some of the terraces

-date back to pre-Incan times...

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-..and others from the time

-of the Incas themselves.

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-The history is missing,

-but we continue to use it.

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-Because of the terrain

-and mountains...

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-..there's no modern machinery here,

-not even animals to help out.

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-This is tough manual labour...

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-..using very simple equipment,

-that is almost archaic.

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-Thank you.

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-Fair play to Ademir...

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-One?

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-One?

-

-Yes.

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-Uno.

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-..he's patient enough

-to show me how to do some planting.

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-Modern technology wouldn't work here

-- simple tools are what's needed!

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-Some elbow grease, therefore.

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-Chakitaklla - a foot plough, and a

-Rawkana - a hoe. That's what we use.

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-OK. Bravo!

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-Thank you very much!

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-Thank you very much!

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-That's hard work.

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-And I've only done a little.

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-Something tells me

-that he's being kind.

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-It's a very hard life.

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-I only did a small bit

-and I was out of breath.

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-Some of these farmers

-have to climb and walk miles...

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-..to reach their terraces

-before even starting a day's work.

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-It's very tough, physical work.

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-Look how high these terraces are.

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-Centuries after the Incas...

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-..the rhythm of mountain farming

-is still enchanting.

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-The old terraces

-provide insurance against famine.

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-If the crops fail on one level...

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-..others might well be thriving

-higher up or lower down...

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-..where the wind, rain and sun

-create different conditions.

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-The foundation of

-the Cuyocuyo economy is farming.

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-But globalization

-is driving everyone to the cities.

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-They're turning their backs

-on farming...

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-..and our grandparents' practices,

-and those of their ancestors too.

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-The farmers' diligence is what keeps

-these valley communities alive...

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-..despite the flow of the young

-to the Andes' towns and cities.

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-We used to grow potatoes by the ton.

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-Maize too.

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-Now, after gathering the maize,

-yacon is the harvest.

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-We were hard-working people. But the

-young have no desire for hard work.

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-They're unwilling to work

-like farmers of old.

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-The terraces have been neglected.

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-We used to farm many acres of land.

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-Now, they're barren.

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-Young people have left.

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-And here I am,

-trying to do it all by myself.

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-Outside Cuyocuyo...

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-..the road climbs dangerously

-along the valley's steep sides.

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-Above the tree line,

-the winter snow has melted...

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-..and the fields

-are ready for planting.

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-But the agricultural land

-that exists here...

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-..is open

-to the worst of the elements.

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-Here, in the Andean highlands...

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-..the people who've been coming here

-for centuries...

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-..to hunt, farm

-or to mine the natural resources...

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-..have had to adapt

-to a problem which strikes anyone...

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-..who does any physical work -

-a lack of oxygen.

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-Over the generations,

-labouring up here...

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-..has changed the natives' bodies.

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-There's evidence that their lungs...

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-..are larger than those

-who live at sea level.

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-But they also depend on a drug

-which gives them a boost...

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-..to persevere with the hard work

-in the thin air...

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-..coca leaves.

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-These people

-wanted me to have a taste.

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-I'm not sure what to say.

-It tastes a bit like grass to me.

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-But, um, Hector is 87 years old

-and he still farms.

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-He told me

-that these leaves are the secret.

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-He also admits that he has no

-teeth left after years of chewing.

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-As high up as this, it doesn't

-matter how long you work...

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-..you can't be assured

-of a successful harvest.

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-The wind is too strong,

-the earth is too dry...

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-..and the growing season

-is too short.

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-But farmers have discovered

-another secret to sustain them.

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-We're 4,500m above sea level.

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-The wind is blustery and it's cold.

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-We have an oxygen tank in the car

-because how thin the air is.

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-There's hardly any vegetation here.

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-However, despite all these

-challenging conditions...

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-..these farmers

-have not only survived...

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-..they've managed to make a living

-in the mountains.

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-The secret is camels -

-Andean camels...

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-..a family of animals

-which include alpacas and llamas.

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-They're adapted

-to life at extreme altitude.

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-But one breed of Andean camel...

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-..is rarer and more valuable

-than all the rest.

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-I'm about to meet them.

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-It's no wonder that Andean people

-consider them so valuable.

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-.

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-As part of a scheme

-to protect Peru's national animal...

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-..vet Victor Iquise is on his way

-to a remote community in the Andes.

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-Here, a herd of vicunas

-live in a huge pen.

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-Fifty years ago, only a few thousand

-vicunas were left in the Andes.

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-But conservation work

-has lifted numbers to over 100,000.

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-The official efforts

-to protect them continues.

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-Once a year,

-the mountain communities...

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-..are allowed to shear

-their valuable wool.

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-This year again, Victor comes

-to keep an eye on the shearing...

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-..on behalf of the authorities.

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-It's work that brings him back

-to Trapiche, the area of his birth.

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-This is my home patch,

-and I return as often as possible.

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-This place calls me.

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-I grab every opportunity

-to work here.

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-Like in Wales, shearing day

-is quite an event in Trapiche.

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-The entire community is keen

-to take part in the chacu ceremony.

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-The first thing is the fence.

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-A nylon fence and eucalyptus poles

-to trap the animals.

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-Other people on the hills

-drive the vicunas down.

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-This is amazing to see.

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-An entire community working together

-to bring the vicuna...

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-..which are obviously so prized

-by them, down to the village.

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-The chacu ceremony.

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-I've read about these animals

-but I've never seen them.

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-Even from here, I can see

-they're graceful and beautiful.

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-I'm so glad that they still exist

-and that they roam free.

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-Everyone looks like

-they're having fun.

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-But this is serious business

-for the community.

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-The animals must be treated

-according to government guidelines.

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-This is a young animal

-so they've decided to let her go.

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-Her coat is so fine.

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-So beautiful.

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-You're so beautiful.

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-It's no wonder that Andean people

-consider them so valuable.

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-After the gathering,

-I get the very special honour...

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-..of starting the chacu officially.

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-Muchas gracias.

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-Aqui.

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-Aqui.

-

-Oh, right.

0:24:070:24:08

-I feel like the Queen

-launching a yacht.

0:24:080:24:11

-But I'm launching the chacu.

0:24:110:24:13

-OK. Hard, yes?

0:24:140:24:15

-Muchas gracias!

0:24:220:24:24

-I'm soaked!

0:24:290:24:30

-Oh dear.

0:24:320:24:33

-I'm sure the Queen

-doesn't do it like that.

0:24:330:24:36

-Thank you. Muchas gracias.

0:24:380:24:40

-Shearing the vicunas

-dates back to the time of the Incas.

0:24:430:24:46

-Back then,

-wearing the vicunas' wool...

0:24:460:24:49

-..was an honour

-afforded to the noblemen only.

0:24:490:24:53

-Today, everyone can wear clothes

-made from vicuna wool.

0:24:560:24:59

-But, in reality,

-only the rich can afford them.

0:25:000:25:03

-This wool is so light.

0:25:040:25:06

-It's extremely fine.

0:25:080:25:09

-It's no wonder

-that only the royal family...

0:25:100:25:13

-..were allowed to wear this

-years ago.

0:25:130:25:15

-Nowadays, people are willing

-to spend many thousands...

0:25:150:25:21

-..on a small scarf

-made from vicuna wool.

0:25:210:25:25

-On average,

-every animal produces 500g of wool.

0:25:260:25:31

-There was only 200g on this one.

0:25:320:25:34

-She will probably

-not be sheared again for two years.

0:25:350:25:38

-Its scarcity

-along with its quality...

0:25:400:25:43

-..makes the vicunas' wool one of the

-most expensive fibres in the world.

0:25:430:25:48

-Without the money

-that comes from selling the wool...

0:25:480:25:52

-..a poor community like Trapiche

-wouldn't survive.

0:25:520:25:56

-This is the only type of animal

-which can sustain this area.

0:25:560:26:04

-No other creature

-would be tough enough.

0:26:060:26:10

-The saviours of Trapiche.

-Away they go for another year.

0:26:110:26:15

-But, it's not only Trapiche shearers

-who benefit from the Andean camels.

0:26:210:26:27

-The wool sustains another tradition

-important to the mountain economy...

0:26:270:26:32

-..weaving.

0:26:330:26:34

-Andean weavers

-are famous for their skills...

0:26:360:26:39

-..and for inventing techniques that

-are now used all over the world.

0:26:390:26:44

-The clothes are practical and warm

-in the cold mountain climate.

0:26:470:26:51

-But the colours and patterns...

0:26:510:26:54

-..tell a story

-about whoever makes and wears them.

0:26:540:26:58

-This is our identity - how we

-present ourselves to the world.

0:27:020:27:10

-Everyone here speaks Quechuan...

0:27:100:27:13

-..but our clothes, hats and scarves

-are all different.

0:27:130:27:21

-This is the ancient village

-of Chinchero...

0:27:210:27:24

-..a resting place for the Incas

-on their way through the Andes.

0:27:240:27:29

-Yes.

0:27:290:27:30

-Here, Nilda is leading a revival

-in the area's weaving tradition.

0:27:310:27:35

-Skills and knowledge

-were in danger of disappearing...

0:27:360:27:40

-..as cheap clothes from abroad

-supplanted traditional garments.

0:27:400:27:44

-Nilda's response to concerns that

-the old way of life was dying out...

0:27:460:27:50

-..was to establish this centre.

0:27:510:27:53

-I hope this time, the tradition

-will continue, with our children...

0:27:540:28:01

-..maintaining the top quality,

-without lowering their standards.

0:28:010:28:06

-The older women are passing on

-the craft to the next generation.

0:28:070:28:11

-Our mothers taught us how to weave.

0:28:110:28:15

-The patterns have been

-passed down unbroken.

0:28:150:28:21

-You could say

-that the Chinchero textiles...

0:28:210:28:24

-..are being weaved once more

-into the village lifestyle.

0:28:250:28:28

-It's fun, but so complicated too!

0:28:290:28:33

-To begin with,

-we had synthetic colours.

0:28:350:28:40

-Treating the natural colours takes

-practice - but it gets easier.

0:28:400:28:45

-For centuries, people looked down

-on the Andes' native people...

0:28:490:28:54

-..and mocked their traditions.

0:28:540:28:56

-This venture

-restores their self-respect.

0:28:570:29:00

-It's a hard craft. It takes time.

0:29:010:29:05

-But I delight in the women's skills.

0:29:060:29:15

-I'm so proud,

-and everyone here's the same.

0:29:150:29:20

-Thanks to Nilda...

0:29:220:29:24

-..I've also experienced

-how weaving brings satisfaction.

0:29:240:29:28

-Great, you see?

0:29:300:29:31

-In a few minutes more,

-you will be better.

0:29:320:29:34

-Titicaca.

0:29:470:29:48

-South America's largest lake.

0:29:480:29:51

-This is the highest water in the

-world that's deep enough for boats.

0:29:520:29:56

-Dawn over the waters.

0:29:590:30:01

-A sight to calm every mind.

0:30:010:30:04

-But something's bothering me

-this morning.

0:30:070:30:10

-Having run extreme marathons

-in the Amazon and the Arctic...

0:30:130:30:17

-..I've come to the shore of the lake

-to prove something to myself...

0:30:170:30:21

-..that I've acclimatized

-to the thin air.

0:30:220:30:24

-Up here, there's only 60%

-of the oxygen found at sea level.

0:30:260:30:31

-Breathing is hard work.

0:30:320:30:34

-But, training at altitude

-is a big advantage for athletes.

0:30:340:30:38

-The body

-produces more red blood cells...

0:30:380:30:42

-..and mitochondria

-to produce energy.

0:30:420:30:45

-This all helps the body

-to take in more oxygen.

0:30:450:30:49

-But, it obviously doesn't happen

-overnight!

0:30:490:30:53

-That was hard.

0:30:540:30:55

-Really, really hard.

0:30:580:30:59

-Frustrating too, because I know

-I can run much further.

0:31:000:31:05

-But I feel

-I've run about 100 miles...

0:31:050:31:11

-..rather than a few miles.

0:31:110:31:13

-My legs are tired because

-I'm not getting enough oxygen...

0:31:130:31:18

-..into my lungs.

0:31:180:31:20

-My lungs are screaming.

0:31:200:31:22

-All I can say...

0:31:230:31:24

-..is I have the utmost respect

-for the people who live here.

0:31:240:31:28

-To see what they do,

-day in, day out...

0:31:300:31:33

-Hard work.

0:31:340:31:35

-I'm 3,850m above sea level...

0:31:370:31:41

-..and don't I know it!

0:31:410:31:43

-For an athlete, pushing yourself

-to the limit is enough reward.

0:31:490:31:55

-But, other people

-come to the mountains...

0:31:560:31:59

-..looking for

-far more substantial rewards.

0:31:590:32:02

-A desire for gold has attracted

-many here since time immemorial...

0:32:050:32:10

-..despite the dangers.

0:32:100:32:11

-One story

-enthralled the conquistadors...

0:32:120:32:15

-..and drove many to their death...

0:32:160:32:18

-..the legend of a golden city,

-El Dorado.

0:32:180:32:22

-.

0:32:240:32:24

-Subtitles

0:32:270:32:27

-Subtitles

-

-Subtitles

0:32:270:32:29

-El Dorado, the legend of a

-golden city hidden in the mountains.

0:32:300:32:35

-Since time immemorial...

0:32:370:32:39

-..it's enticed people to the Andes

-to look for untold riches.

0:32:390:32:44

-But this isn't the way to El Dorado.

0:32:470:32:50

-This is the so-called road to hell.

0:32:500:32:53

-Every week,

-thousands of desperate men...

0:32:550:32:58

-..throng here

-from the Altiplano towns...

0:32:580:33:01

-..in the hope of finding enough gold

-to transform their lives.

0:33:020:33:06

-They rush towards a new town,

-5,000m above sea level.

0:33:060:33:12

-There's gold here...

0:33:130:33:15

-..but you won't see the golden

-buildings promised in the legends.

0:33:150:33:19

-Rather, these zinc shacks

-are home to 30,000 miners...

0:33:230:33:27

-..during the working week.

0:33:270:33:29

-Another 30,000 people

-live here permanently...

0:33:310:33:35

-..which has given La Rinconada

-a place in the record books.

0:33:360:33:41

-Welcome

-to the highest town in the world.

0:33:420:33:44

-The highest,

-but not the cleanest by a long way.

0:33:460:33:50

-The gold mined here

-is processed using mercury...

0:33:510:33:57

-..which has polluted the water,

-the soil and the air here.

0:33:570:34:02

-Walking the streets...

0:34:030:34:05

-..I avoid the filth

-that flows through the open sewers.

0:34:050:34:09

-But, the old dream of golden riches

-still attracts people here...

0:34:100:34:15

-..despite

-the nightmarish conditions.

0:34:150:34:18

-La Rinconada has been described

-as "ice hell on earth".

0:34:190:34:23

-Yet, among all the chaos,

-a community has developed.

0:34:230:34:29

-There are shops, schools,

-markets and even a church.

0:34:290:34:34

-There's a special festival

-on this weekend.

0:34:340:34:37

-The service

-is being held in the main square.

0:34:370:34:40

-I'm going to see who's come here...

0:34:400:34:44

-..to escape from the so-called

-ice hell around me.

0:34:440:34:48

-One person who knows everyone here

-is Father Martin, the parish priest.

0:34:500:34:55

-The parish

-is celebrating its birthday today.

0:34:550:34:58

-It's three years

-since this area was built.

0:34:590:35:08

-The day before yesterday, it was

-the birthday of the whole town.

0:35:090:35:17

-How are you? Are you OK?

0:35:180:35:20

-How's the family?

0:35:200:35:23

-How's your health?

0:35:230:35:25

-The Andean people

-are known across the world...

0:35:320:35:35

-..for their willingness

-to raise festive cheer.

0:35:350:35:38

-The air is thin

-and it's freezing cold...

0:35:390:35:42

-..but that's not reason enough

-to dampen the party mood.

0:35:420:35:46

-I don't know how they have

-the breath to play the instruments!

0:35:500:35:54

-A special occasion such as this

-is medicine for the soul.

0:35:570:36:01

-Father Martin knows that something

-is needed to raise spirits.

0:36:010:36:06

-As a Christian, I try

-to support people in their faith...

0:36:080:36:13

-..because so many people

-die here every day.

0:36:130:36:20

-Who here

-doesn't have a cross to bear?

0:36:220:36:27

-A work cross, an illness cross.

0:36:270:36:32

-A cross from losing a son, husband,

-brother, friend or colleague.

0:36:330:36:43

-Jesus asks us

-to carry the cross with him.

0:36:430:36:48

-Here's a town on a mountaintop...

0:36:500:36:53

-..that's full of bad places,

-in a poor spiritual state...

0:36:530:36:58

-..with thieves

-and murderers everywhere.

0:36:580:37:04

-In the cantinas

-around the main square...

0:37:100:37:13

-..the drinking and chatting

-start from early morning.

0:37:130:37:17

-The fights haven't started yet

-but it won't be long.

0:37:170:37:21

-It's only ten in the morning

-and that bar is packed.

0:37:230:37:26

-Prostitution is widespread here.

0:37:270:37:30

-The lucky workers with money

-in their pockets are an easy target.

0:37:300:37:34

-But most of the mines' profits

-disappears down the mountain.

0:37:350:37:39

-There's little left

-to fund law and order here.

0:37:390:37:43

-The town's market is busy...

0:37:440:37:46

-..but La Rinconada's real business

-takes place even higher up.

0:37:460:37:51

-Here's where they mine for gold.

0:37:570:37:59

-Shafts and tunnels extend

-almost a mile into the mountain.

0:37:590:38:04

-But even before reaching the gold...

0:38:050:38:08

-..the workers are in danger.

0:38:080:38:10

-Above the works is a huge glacier...

0:38:120:38:15

-..La Bella Durmiente -

-the sleeping beauty.

0:38:150:38:19

-But when she awakens from

-her slumber as the weather warms...

0:38:210:38:25

-..large blocks of ice

-fall on the works below.

0:38:250:38:29

-Inside the mines,

-the danger is even worse.

0:38:310:38:35

-Nevertheless,

-thousands try their luck here...

0:38:360:38:39

-..despite the fact that most of them

-do not receive a penny in wages.

0:38:400:38:44

-It's run on an ancient labour system

-called cachorreo.

0:38:450:38:49

-Miners do a month of unpaid work.

0:38:510:38:54

-On the last day of the month...

0:38:550:38:56

-..they get to keep as much gold ore

-as they can carry from the face.

0:38:570:39:02

-In reality,

-they drive off with more than that.

0:39:020:39:06

-But there's no certainty

-there's a speck of gold...

0:39:060:39:10

-..in those loads which are

-the reward for a month of toil.

0:39:100:39:14

-Fortunato Choque's name is apt.

0:39:160:39:19

-He's fortunate.

0:39:190:39:21

-He's worked here long enough

-to become a foreman...

0:39:220:39:25

-..a role that does provide some pay.

0:39:250:39:28

-Three cooperative companies

-control the mining here.

0:39:300:39:39

-Seven Wonders is the strange name

-of the place where I work!

0:39:400:39:45

-I've worked here for six years.

0:39:480:39:51

-We sometimes strike gold, sometimes

-not. Mining's an uncertain business.

0:39:510:39:58

-Oh, here's the guard...

-I want to shake his hand.

0:39:580:40:03

-There's obvious camaraderie here.

0:40:030:40:05

-As with our miners, men supporting

-each other happens naturally...

0:40:050:40:10

-..when facing danger

-in their everyday job.

0:40:100:40:13

-But this is their only support.

0:40:130:40:17

-There are no benefits

-when accidents happen...

0:40:170:40:21

-..and they happen regularly.

0:40:210:40:23

-La Rinconada health centre

-has to deal with every emergency.

0:40:230:40:28

-Muchas gracias.

0:40:290:40:31

-I'm meeting the lead doctor.

0:40:310:40:34

-Here, a doctor has to specialize

-in every discipline...

0:40:350:40:41

-..gynaecology, paediatrics,

-internal medicine.

0:40:410:40:47

-We can't perform full operations -

-but we assess every patient.

0:40:470:40:53

-But it's accidents in the mines...

0:40:530:40:55

-..that put the biggest strain

-on the clinic's resources.

0:40:560:40:59

-Mining is extremely dangerous

-in every Andean country.

0:40:590:41:03

-Peru has the worst record.

0:41:030:41:06

-Sometimes, the workers

-go to places they shouldn't.

0:41:060:41:14

-The gas suffocates them.

-They can't breathe.

0:41:150:41:20

-We treat fractures often,

-as well as similar injuries.

0:41:220:41:29

-If the explosives

-haven't been correctly ignited...

0:41:290:41:36

-..the men get burnt, or they

-fracture their legs and arms.

0:41:360:41:44

-In the seven years I've been here,

-350 workers have been killed...

0:41:490:41:57

-..three or four a month.

0:41:570:42:03

-Even outside work, no-one can wander

-the streets feeling completely safe.

0:42:110:42:16

-This is exactly how I imagine the

-towns of the Wild West used to be.

0:42:170:42:22

-There's no planning

-and no obvious rule of law.

0:42:220:42:26

-There must be some kind of order

-but I can't see it.

0:42:270:42:30

-It's also dangerous.

0:42:300:42:32

-Fortunato is ready to show us

-how dangerous...

0:42:330:42:38

-..but only if we film covertly.

0:42:380:42:41

-With a small handheld camera,

-we follow him to the back streets...

0:42:420:42:46

-..where the workers purify the ore

-they've carried from the mountain.

0:42:460:42:51

-An uneasy atmosphere,

-a hint of violence...

0:42:520:42:54

-..and no welcome at all for a film

-crew wanting to show the goings-on.

0:42:550:42:59

-The quartz is crushed and mixed

-with the poisonous mercury...

0:43:000:43:04

-..which sticks

-to the gold particles.

0:43:040:43:07

-The danger to health is obvious,

-but this is the cheapest way...

0:43:070:43:12

-..for miners

-to get their hands on the gold.

0:43:130:43:16

-After they've boiled the

-mercury away, this is what's left...

0:43:170:43:21

-..18 grams of the best gold.

0:43:250:43:27

-It has a street value

-of around 800 dollars.

0:43:270:43:31

-Cash in hand, no questions asked.

0:43:320:43:35

-However, the streets

-certainly aren't paved in gold.

0:43:390:43:43

-There are people here

-who are even more desperate.

0:43:430:43:46

-On their knees

-in the mountain spoils...

0:43:460:43:49

-..these are the pallaqueras -

-the poor who scratch for gold.

0:43:490:43:54

-Sometimes, I get a bucket or two

-of ore in a week.

0:43:550:44:01

-Sometimes - nothing.

0:44:010:44:03

-The majority are women

-who are at the end of their tether.

0:44:060:44:11

-Every single one has her story.

0:44:130:44:15

-Abject poverty

-and their wretched attempts...

0:44:150:44:18

-..at sustaining the family

-they've left behind to come here.

0:44:180:44:22

-I have a husband

-and four children...

0:44:260:44:28

-..aged 17, 15, 9 and 8.

0:44:280:44:35

-They're at home in Ayaviri.

0:44:370:44:39

-So much pain, sadness and poverty.

0:44:430:44:46

-Mountain gold

-is the medicine for every wound.

0:44:480:44:51

-One small piece

-can transform entire lives.

0:44:530:44:57

-As they wait to strike gold...

0:45:010:45:03

-..keeping a shine on their lives

-is the aim of most of the locals.

0:45:040:45:08

-Even when the danger

-and the suffering is crushing...

0:45:090:45:12

-..the human soul wants more.

0:45:130:45:15

-Compassion, kindness and fraternity.

0:45:170:45:20

-These are thriving here

-despite the greed and the chaos.

0:45:210:45:25

-As the snow fell

-at the end of the service...

0:45:270:45:30

-..something very special

-happened here in the "ice hell".

0:45:300:45:35

-Away from the violence,

-robbery and fighting...

0:45:350:45:39

-..I feel I've seen

-another side to La Rinconada.

0:45:390:45:43

-A simple enough act

-touched my heart.

0:45:440:45:47

-Father Martin climbed the steps...

0:45:470:45:50

-..to bless the roof

-of a brand-new building.

0:45:500:45:53

-A hall for the ordinary man.

0:45:530:45:55

-En el nombre del padre, del hijo

-y del espiritu santo. Amen.

0:45:560:46:00

-A sure sign

-of the presence of community spirit.

0:46:010:46:05

-Proof there's more to life

-in the Andes than scraping for gold.

0:46:050:46:09

-I said in my sermon that Jesus asks

-us to carry the cross every day...

0:46:100:46:18

-..through the good days

-and the ones where we have nothing.

0:46:180:46:25

-The Andes.

0:46:310:46:32

-Mountains which have moulded the

-long history of an entire continent.

0:46:320:46:36

-This is where the Incas learned

-the secrets of highland farming...

0:46:380:46:42

-..many centuries ago.

0:46:430:46:44

-To this very day,

-the Andes have attracted people...

0:46:450:46:49

-..with enchanting tales

-about gold treasure.

0:46:490:46:52

-As I watch the dawn

-for the last time on my journey...

0:46:520:46:56

-..what will stay in my memory...

0:46:560:46:59

-..is the ingenuity and perseverance

-of the people I've met.

0:46:590:47:03

-Despite

-the challenging conditions...

0:47:050:47:08

-..the lack of oxygen

-and the ever-present dangers...

0:47:080:47:12

-..they've managed

-to make a living...

0:47:120:47:15

-..in some of the most beautiful and

-inspirational places in the world.

0:47:150:47:20

-It's not easy, it's not always

-pretty, but I've been amazed...

0:47:200:47:25

-..by how they've managed

-to use and work with nature...

0:47:250:47:29

-..to create a place for themselves

-in the splendour of the Andes.

0:47:290:47:33

-S4C Subtitles by Testun Cyf.

0:48:070:48:09

-.

0:48:100:48:10

Lowri Morgan sy'n profi ei hun yn erbyn uchelfannau'r Andes ar y ffordd i'r dref uchaf yn y byd. Lowri Morgan tests herself in the Andes on the way to the highest town in the world.