KM 82: A documentary on the porter voices of Peru’s Camino Inca

porter voices of Peru’s Camino Inca

By Marinel de Jesus

porter voices of Peru’s Camino Inca 2The Classic Inca Trail in Peru has been in operations for over 50 years. Machu Picchu is one of the 7 wonders of the world.  But many tourists don’t know about the inequities that porters faced on the Inca Trail.  The Porter Voice Collective (PVC), a global advocacy platform that was launched in July of 2019, conducted an independent investigation into the porter conditions on the Inca Trail by way of interviewing porters in Cusco, Peru.  PVC also simultaneously began an investigation in Nepal’s Himalayas and Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro.  All three regions employ the biggest number of porters.  PVC is comprised of volunteers who all share the same mission: to listen to, celebrate, amplify and elevate the porter voices.  The investigation revealed that all three regions share the same inequities faced by the porters.

 

To reach the masses and educate tourists on these issues, PVC launched a crowdfunding campaign to produce a documentary entitled KM 82.  KM 82 documents the realities of the working conditions for porters, the porters’ struggles, their vision and hope— both individually and as a collective movement—for the betterment of their lives and for the well-being of their families. The film project will focus on the lives of the porters on the Classic Inca Trail, most of whom belong to Quechua-speaking communities in Cusco, Peru.  The film will share a collection of stories of porters on the Inca Trail as told by them directly to the world. These stories belong to porters who have been working for decades, those who are retired, those who are relatively new to the industry, and to female porters who recently joined this industry against all odds.

 

porter voices of Peru’s Camino Inca 3Like Nepal and Tanzania, Peru has seen a rise in women porters in the past two years.  PVC learned that women porters are facing hostility and discrimination on the Inca Trail which warrants regulations and laws to ensure the safety of women porters.  KM 82 will address this topic, as well as, the valuable contributions of women porters to this male-dominated industry.  It aims to bridge the gap between men and women porters so they can create a unified stance against the exploitative practices of companies.

 

The documentary will capture the porters’ personal experiences and struggles toward individual and collective efforts to change the industry.  The collective effort is led by the current Porter Federation president and elected leader, Alberto Huaman Huamanhuillca, who will lead and guide the audience through this documentary as the focal point of hope for the porters, but with the kind of leadership that is also filled with its own challenges and uncertainty.

 

The documentary is written and produced by Marinel Malvar de Jesus, a former human rights lawyer from Washington, DC who launched her social enterprise, Peak Explorations, and her media site, Brown Gal Trekker, both of which aim to create equity and inclusion in the trekking tourism industry.  Marinel teamed up with Jose Luis Palomino Escalante and Iris Vela Paredes, who are Peruvian filmmakers based in Cusco, Peru.

 

This film is a first of its kind as it will explore the porter working conditions in depth and utilize the porter voices to drive the story. Tourists must watch this film in order to educate themselves about where their tourism dollars go and to advocate for Workforce Equity Tourism in order to ensure the humane treatment of porters worldwide.

 

porter voices of Peru’s Camino Inca 4

 

The crowdfunding campaign is a joint project with the women weavers and wives of the porters.  Backers can purchase the textiles to support the weaving community and the creation of KM 82.  Also, backers can buy a limited edition of Kula Cloth, which is a scientifically designed pee cloth for women that reduces trash and impact on the environment.  This limited-edition Kula Cloth is especially designed by Celia Qispe, who is one of the female weavers.  See Crowdfunding Campaign page here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/km-82/

 

 

This is a film in support of the mission of the global advocacy organization, The Porter Voice Collective.

This worthwhile initiative is fully supported by Camping for Women.  Readers are urged to support KM 82:  A documentary on the porter voices of Peru’s Camino Inca.

Multiple Contributor at | Website

Brown Gal Trekker (Marinel de Jesus) is a nomad at heart who survives the mountains to write about them.

She launched her social enterprise, Peak Explorations, in 2016 to market lesser-known mountain regions globally as trekking destinations with a focus on solo travellers while supporting local sustainable tourism.

Along with her blog, Brown Gal Trekker, Peak Explorations aims to promote women and diversity in the outdoors.

16 thoughts on “KM 82: A documentary on the porter voices of Peru’s Camino Inca

  • January 1, 2020 at 1:21 am
    Permalink

    This is such a great way to bring awareness to the issues the porters face. Will be looking into the campaign to help spread the word on social media. Hoping to catch the documentary to learn more about their lives.

    Reply
  • December 31, 2019 at 12:44 pm
    Permalink

    I’m glad that the outrageous and unfair treatment and work conditions of the porters is finally reaching a wider audience. These terrible conditions have been pervasive for decades and it has taken enormous effort and collaboration to get them the attention and improvements they deserve. They do a difficult and lifesaving job on those mountainous terrains and deserve to be compensated fairly.

    Reply
  • December 30, 2019 at 1:54 pm
    Permalink

    I never knew the The Porter Voice Collective launched this past summer! This is a great cause and I hope they can improve the trails on such historic grounds! I will share this campaign with others on my twitter.

    Reply
  • December 29, 2019 at 1:37 pm
    Permalink

    I love learning about true indigenous history. This was deep and beautiful to learn and I hope things improve for the porters.

    Reply
  • December 26, 2019 at 4:36 pm
    Permalink

    What an amazing and unique experience this part of the world is! The Incas’ history and culture are so fascinating and interesting. Good on you for championing this initiative.

    Reply
  • December 25, 2019 at 9:42 am
    Permalink

    I haven’t been to Classic Inca Trail in Peru. Let alone in South America. It’s great to know more about this trail, about the people who takes care of it as well as the implications of tourism. I hope to support this campaign!

    Reply
  • December 24, 2019 at 10:15 pm
    Permalink

    i would love to check out this documentary. i am ashamed to say i did not even know this was one of the 7 wonders.

    Reply
    • December 25, 2019 at 1:39 pm
      Permalink

      I’ve always dreamed about exploring Machu Picchu, such a historic and wonderful place, it’s great that a documentary is being made, issues like this should be resolved and informed to the public.

      Reply
  • December 24, 2019 at 6:30 pm
    Permalink

    I haven’t heard much about this but one of my closest friends is from Peru. I look forward to learning more.

    Reply
  • December 24, 2019 at 8:03 am
    Permalink

    I would really love to check this out. The Incas have such a long and really wonderful history to them.

    Reply
  • December 24, 2019 at 5:52 am
    Permalink

    So nice to see you highlighting porter challenges and spreading the message across far and wide. They surely deserve better work conditions including higher wages too.

    Reply
    • December 24, 2019 at 5:13 pm
      Permalink

      Hi – the conditions have persisted for 50 years without real changes. We as tourists will be the strongest allies of the porters to advocate for better conditions. Please support and share the campaign! The more allies, the better. And you can educate yourself more via http://www.theportervoicecollective.org

      Reply
  • December 24, 2019 at 1:23 am
    Permalink

    I think that KM82 documenting the conditions, realities surrounding the porters, and the working conditions are very important. By doing so, I think it can help bring awareness. Sharing these stories surrounding the porters will help get their voices heard as well. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
    • December 24, 2019 at 5:11 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks Stephanie – it is very critical that tourists are educated on this topic so they can demand the industry to change. We continue to investigate the conditions and you can find all the details you need as a tourist via http://www.theportervoicecollective.org Please support the campaign and/or share with others!

      Reply
  • December 23, 2019 at 11:14 pm
    Permalink

    hmm, sounds really interesting, I didn’t know about this situation and I will check it out the links here for sure! This sounds like an injustice that needs to be corrected as soon as possible.

    Reply
    • December 24, 2019 at 5:10 pm
      Permalink

      Hi, please do check out the campaign page for more information. I personally have based myself in Cusco, Peru to investigate the business practices here. I dismissed the idea in the past but realized that this is why the industry is powerful – when tourists ignore or avoid the problems, the exploitative practices thrive even more. I hope you can support the campaign and share it with others.

      Reply

Leave a Reply to Dana Brillante-Peller Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: