Published on Al Jazeera English
Puno, Peru – Taking a boat from the pier of Puno into Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, means moving through murky water full of floating plastic first. Along the shores of the lake that lies on the border of Bolivia and Peru, the water has a weird foam layer on the surface and emits a smell of decay.
The famous floating islands of the Uros tribe lie only a few kilometres off the bay of Puno. They are a native tribe in Peru who live on islands made of reed. Joel Porcela, 57, lives with his family on one such island.
His wife lays out the fresh catch of silverside fish on a blanket to dry under the shining sun, while his daughter is in the back cutting the reed. The Uros not only use this plant for their floating islands, they also build their houses and boats from it, and use it as fuel for cooking. It’s a way of life that has existed for generations.