Machu Picchu2016


Cindi McNair

Reflections on Sacred Valley

August 12, 2016

Saturday, August 13

I learned a lot yesterday about the Incas and their grit, determination and patience as we climbed to the Sun Temple as a day-trip stop along the way to our Machu Picchu destination. We climbed over 200 steps to the top to reach the Sun Temple that the Inca people built above Sacred Valley in Peru. This temple, built and established sometime in the 1400s really blew my mind when thinking in terms of today's architecture, bulldozers, computer-designed solutions, and technology to troubleshoot answers before we sometimes even know the problem. To build this Temple, manpower was the only solution. Huge granite rocks were quarried from a mountain across the way, dragged with huge long ropes by many men to the river. Then, the boulders would sit until dry season, were dragged across the dry river bed, up the other side of another mountain, and carefully put in place to build this meticulous structure. The little things made a difference — not with computer-generated architectural plans, bulldozers and excavation equipment. The Incas planned, in their primitive ways, expansion joints for when the earth moved. They prepared a drainage system from rock, gravel and moss in the terraced sides of the mountain to prevent erosion and preserve the water that would drain below to use as a natural water system. They meticulously tracked the summer and winter solstice to predict the seasons for wet or dry season, to plant or harvest. It's not like they had a 12-month calendar showing the longest and shortest days of the year. You think of the incredible work that was done, one by one, that together made such an impact, still standing today to tell a story, and I was amazed.

Cancer is like that. The little things make a difference. Grit, determination and patience tell the story. Cancer today, compared to even 20 years ago really blows my mind. As a 10-year survivor of multiple myeloma, I continue to be amazed and overwhelmed by this journey. Being a part of this group through MMRF, climbing Machu Picchu, raising funds and hiking together is an awesome sense of community, adventure and accomplishment. The advances of drug therapies in the last 10 years for myeloma and many cancers can't even begin to compare to the long, slow tedious journey of the Incas. Yet like their journey, who, one by one, made a difference; carving steps, temples and cities in stone with little to nothing but manpower. We too are, one by one, carving out a difference, raising funds and awareness together and one step at a time, moving mountains, making an impact, standing together and telling our story. And once again, I am amazed.

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