El pueblo que vive del futuro

In 2009 I was commissioned by PeruEtico and Minka Fair Trade to shoot some pictures in Peru, in the spare time I took the chance to visit the small town of Huasao.

Huasao, also known as ''La tierra de los curanderos'' (The land of the healers) is an old mystical Andean pueblo in Peru 3,400 metres above sea level. It's a ghost rural town, apparently deserted, where Andean Shamans live within the community, they're called "Curanderos" (healers).

Curanderos are very respected among the community as they're able to communicate with the all powerful "Apus", the mountain gods. Inside makeshift houses lit by a bulb swinging from the ceiling and walls covered by sacred images, shamans make a living reading Coca leaves, predicting the future and healing people from physical or spiritual diseases. In the overdetermined spirituality of Andean people, pains and bad happenings are direct consequences of gods will.

The Andean spirituality, which insists on the power of Mother Earth, has been mixed, by the time, with catholic religion generating a mystical and magical ritual system.

Peru 2009. Road to Huasao
Huasao, Peru 2009
Huasao, Peru 2009. Outside the house of ''El Huaton'', a sign lists his services
Huasao, Peru 2009. Curandero praying the Mountain gods
Cuzco, Peru 2009. Coca leaves during the ceremony of ''Pago a la Pachamama'', the offerings to the mother earth
Cuzco, Peru 2009. Cocaine dealers
Huasao, Peru 2009
Huasao, Peru 2009. A dog rests outside a house in Huasao
Huasao, Peru 2009. Andean condor on the wall of a Curandero's house. The condor is associated with the sun deity, and believed to be the ruler of the upper world. It's bones and organs possess medicinal power
Cuzco, Peru 2009. Curandero praying Pachamama during the ceremony of ''Pagos''.The ''ofrenda'' is a symbolic way in which Andean people give back to the Pachamama what they haves taken out from her
Huasao, Peru 2009. Curandero reading future in Coca leaves
Huasao, Peru 2009. Curandero reading future in Coca leaves
Cuzco, Peru 2009. Curandero praying Pachamama  during the ceremony of ''Pagos''.The ''ofrenda'' is a symbolic way in which Andean people give back to the Pachamama what they haves taken out from her
Huasao, Peru 2009. Religious images on the walls of a curandera house
Huasao, Peru 2009. Curandera Nieta B. Coorihuaman reading future in Coca leaves inside her house
Huasao, Peru 2009. Religious images inside a curandero's house
Huasao, Peru 2009. Curandero in his house
Huasao, Peru 2009. Pueblo streets