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Project:: Q'eros Community, Peru

The Q'eros Community projects include the Children's Health Project, the Munay T'ika School and a Sustainable Living Project

The Children's Health Project

In July, 2004, Donna Runnalls accompanied by a small group of Living Bridges supporters and friends including Larry K. Heath, MD., of Marshfield, Wi. and Deborah Malka, MD. of Aptos, Ca. traveled to Cuzco Peru to conduct an informal medical evaluation of the health of the Children of Q’eros Community. Areas of general evaluation included general nutrition, height and weight evaluations (utilizing Peruvian National standards) and lung and dental health. The project was organized for Living Bridges with the help of Richard Aguayo of Seeds for the Andes Foundation, Director of Munay Tika School.

Children are especially needed by their families to help in the high mountains with animal tending and crops, and as the children had to walk for most of two days and by trucks for one day to reach Cuzco, the number of children in the project was small. Fourteen girls and boys from the Munay Tika school in the village of Charcapata, ranging from age 8-14 arrived in Cuzco accompanied by eight male elders. The seniors, who reputedly had no exact knowledge of their birthdates believed themselves to be age 70-85 years.

During a one day evaluation of all children, whose diet consists mostly of potatoes were found to be in remarkably good and normal health by all standards utilized. A unique finding was the high temperature of the hands and feet of the children. The children had walked through snow to complete this journey in only sandals though reported and demonstrated no signs of frostbite or windburn. (Donna Runnalls who accompanied the children in their return trip to Charcapata, was amazed to see this fact first hand!) Dr Heath speculated that a special genetic adaptation might have endowed these children, whose ancestors have lived in the same condition for 500 years with extra capillaries to providing constant warmth to the extremities.

Dr. Heath & patientDr. Health, who specializes in Internal Medicine and Geriatrics also evaluated the elders and found their blood pressure to be the lowest he had encountered for the age range. The only predictable finding was the incidence of dental caries. There is no access or availability to dental care in the communities. Traditionally the coca leaf was more readily available and when chewed only as a stable provided fibrous material for dental cleaning. The children treated the group to a mock performance of a ceremony for the Earth which they wee learning, done at this time of the year by their parents, to thank Pachamama and to predict the outcome of the next year’s crops.

The project, whose costs included meals and travel costs for the children and elders was funded by a donation from Dr. Larry K. Heath.

The Munay T'ika (Beautiful Flower) School + Greenhouse Project

In June of 2002 the construction of New Munay T'ika School BuildingStudents and school and Second Greenhouse in the Q'eros village of Charcapata was officially completed!

The project was fully funded by the Wiracocha Foundation, a group which has worked extensively with sharing the traditions and knowledge offered by the Q'eros people. The new school will serve up to seventy children per day and will allow for the children to tend the greenhouse. Ongoing support from Living Bridges Foundation continues to fund the teacher's salary, supplies, books, and maintenance of the school. Parent involvement has increased and many parents are now attending the new Adult Literacy School as well. The children chose to name the school Munay T'ika Project (The Beautiful Flower Project).


Another special project of the school has been the tending and operating of the new greenhouse. The children harvested their first crops of lettuce and radishes in September, another "first" for the village.

Living Bridges is providing ongoing funds for the school with donations from individuals and groups who wish to see the Charcapata school continue and the literacy program and greenhouse projects develop in other villages.

Sustainable Living Project with the Q’eros Community

Located in the Cuzco Region, Peru, this project is a joint effort of Living Bridges Foundation and Seeds for the Andes/MUHU of Cuzco, Peru.

The People

The Q’eros are a Quechua-speaking people who live in five large (30 to 35 homes each) and several smaller clustered villages in the mountains of south-central Peru at altitudes ranging up to 16,000 ft. Aided by these high altitudes and the resulting protection from contact, the Q’eros lived in relative isolation from outside influence until approximately 1950.

The Q’eros are still the guardians of an extremely rich Inka cultural tradition. They are thus a proud but humble people who now dwell in relative poverty due to the deterioration of their natural homelands from conditions largely related to the introduction of “range” animals whose habits have eroded the terrain and polluted the few streams.

According to the survey conducted by our field team in Oct, 1998 the infant mortality in the community is close to 50%,mainly due to complications of parasite infestation.

The Project

Upon invitation by Claudio Quispe of Q’ero and because of the dedicated work of Seeds for the Andes Foundation (MUJU) Director, Richard Aguayo Rodriquez, Living Bridges Foundation Director, Donna R. Runnalls was able to participate with the people of the Q’eros Communities in the development of a beautiful five-stage project for the community of Q’eros.

The project includes potable water systems, pastureland restoration, irrigation systems, and bilingual school programs for the preservation of cultural and spiritual traditions (myth, music, dance and healing practices).

First Priority-Potable Water

Thanks to a generous grant from an anonymous donor, a qualified team of building supervisors and an engineer began Phase One of the installation of water systems in June 1999 in the annexes of Charcapata, Chua Chua, Ccollpacucho and Chaupimayo (sub-annex of Ccollpacucho).

In most annexes the water supply serves twenty to thirty-five families. Workshops instructing the community on maintenance of water systems are provided during the installation phase of each water system.

A qualified team of engineers and workers organized by Muju Seeds for the Andes and Director Richard Aguayo Rodriquez began Phase One of the Project. Muju Seeds carried out the remainder of the work. Living Bridges oversaw and acted as fiscal agent for the Project.

Status Report

Phase I - Completed
Phase II - Completed
Phase III - Completed

Thank You

Living Bridges Foundation gratefully acknowledges the generous participation of the following individuals and foundations in donating funds to support the Potable Water section of the Sustainable Living Project with the Community of Q'eros:

  • Anonymous donor
  • Wiraqocha Foundation and its Director, Elizabeth B. Jenkins
  • Roy Gray and Dreammaker
  • Dr and Mrs. Larry K. Heath
  • Terry Ballantine


The Living Bridges Foundation • P.O.Box 667  • Aptos CA 95001 USA • Contact us

©1999-2009 Living Bridges Foundation

Dr Heath & patient

Dr. Heath & patient

learning to grow vegetables

Students in the Greenhouse

LIving Bridges members and Q'eros dedicate the new school

Medical Project Team & Elders

Q'eros Build ing

Building the Aqueduct

The community

Hatun Q'eros

Digging water line

Building Pipeline


Blessing the water ceremony

Blessing the Water

q'ero youngster

A Young Q'eros