Ocra is 3670 meters above sea level, and is located 64 km northwest of the city of Cusco.
It has a population of 32 families, who are dedicated to agriculture and raising animals.
In Ocra, there are two seasons a year. The rainy season is from mid-September through April. During December, January and February, the rainfall is the most intense, and there can be lightning and even snowfall.
From May to the middle of September, it is dry season. The lowest temperatures of the year occur during June and July.
The average temperature is 12 ° C. It is coldest in the early morning.
Ocra is between two more or less pronounced mountains that form a ravine from north to south. The ichu, or straw, occupies the largest area of the community, in contrast to the blue sky and white clouds. Further to the south of the community, you can see forests of native trees, always with the presence of ichu.
The ichu also highlights the presence of water, especially in the rainy season. The river, formed by the innumerable manantes, is an important part of Ocra.
The crops they produce are tubers, like the potato. There are approximately 40 varieties, including: the olluco (ullucus tuberosus), the maswa (tropaeolum tuberosum), the añu. They also grow barley, wheat, beans and tarwi (lupinus mutabilis).
Thanks to this, the food is healthy and very much enjoyed by those who visit Ocra.
The animals they breed are alpacas, llamas, sheep, and cows. They also raise chickens.
They trade agricultural products in the town of Inquilpata, where a fair is held every Friday. From there, they also obtain food that they do not produce in their own community.
The collection of zetas, which grow among the ichu, is an important activity in their economy, as they sell it in Inquilpata or take it to the city of Cusco.
On Sundays, people often go to Chinchaypujio, the capital of the District. There they sell their products and also buy food such as sugar, salt, rice, and condiments.
Organization of the Ocra People
The community assembly, in which all members of the community are required to participate, is where decisions are made. There is a Board of Directors, headed by a president, secretary, treasurer, prosecutor and members. They are in charge of ensuring the welfare and planning of the community. There are also committees in charge of specific aspects of the community, such as agriculture or the use of water. There is a committee, for example, which is responsible for ensuring the projects that are carried out in the community. The tourism committee is the one with which we coordinate for the visit of foreign friends.
Ocra Healthy Village
The Communal Assembly, headed by its board of directors, which is now led by Mr. Jorge and his wife Gumercinda, has proposed to become a Healthy Community. To achieve this, they must carry out multiple activities.
What is a day like in Ocra?
The day starts very early, with the song of the birds and the rooster. Very early in the day, the man takes the opportunity to collect firewood, do chores in the house, or visit with neighbors to coordinate agricultural activities. While he does this, the woman prepares breakfast that will first consist of local plant tea or coffee with wheat flour or other grain. Then they will have a soup, accompanied by parboiled potato or chuño.
Around 8 in the morning, the youngest children prepare to go to the basic school that is in the community, the older children go to Chinchaypujio to school. The women are responsible for the shepherding of the sheep and other animals. The husband will take care of the agriculture. If he goes alone, he will take food with him, but if he has several people who help him, the wife or a neighbor will take the food to pasture.
In the afternoon, both the children and the spouses return to the house. They prepare dinner that usually consists of a plate of food with parboiled potato or chuño.
The main medicine they utilize in Ocra is through the use of plants. Generally, they save plants that cure different ailments. Depending on how badly they are suffering, they will follow a treatment they learned from their parents and grandparents. If the disease is not cured, they will go to the health center in Chinchaypujio.
There are some evils for which they go to an elder of the town, Don Juan Huamán. These evils are usually fright, bad wind, sprains of the foot or other part of the body. The treatment is an herbal preparation and a ritual at night with coca leaves and alcohol.
The community has an organization, headed by Mrs. Silveria, dedicated to promoting healthy tourism. The goal is to welcome visitors who value local culture, organic food and enjoy sharing local experiences living with the villagers.
Volunteering in Ocra
If you choose to come visit the community, there are many different activities available. We are seeking volunteers to help reinforce the objectives of the community – specifically, the goal of being a Healthy Community. Volunteers can teach English to children and other community members, assist with agriculture, take care of the environment, promote healthy eating and exercise, and reduce waste and trash. Ideas for projects also include cooking with residents to discover new ways to use native products and ingredients and investigating the possibility of harnessing solar energy for heating houses. We are also interested in developing opportunities for outdoor sports, such as trekking and zip lining, so that residents and volunteers alike can enjoy them. Anyone with experience in this area, or nutritionists, doctors, or dentists would be especially helpful, but all with an interest in helping are welcome!
You can visit Ocra!
It is located northwest of the city of Cusco. To get there, you take the road that goes to Lima. The road passes through the town of Izcuchaca, and about 10 km after Inquilpata, you will take the detour to Cotabambas. Climb up the mountain by a narrow road. After turning the mountain, there is Ocra!
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