The “Black Mountain”

The Black MountainIn Chinchero and other Andean communities, young children spend much of their time taking care of animals.

When Nilda was seven years old she took the family’s 25 sheep to the mountains each day to find fresh grazing areas. Sometimes she and her friends took their animals up the steep “Black Mountain.”

While the sheep grazed, the children played games and learned to weave. Once in a while they discovered pieces of 500-year-old pottery and other objects made by Inca ancestors.

Despite the challenges of protecting her animals from predators and taking care of baby lambs born far from home, Nilda considers her year of shepherding as one of the happiest times of life.