Porters of Machu Picchu, Photo by Lola Akinmade

Plenty of people haven’t seen their own country’s most famous sites.

Americans who haven’t seen the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone. Mexicans who have never been to Chichen Itza. Egyptians who’ve never cast their eyes upon the Sphinx.

It’s one thing to choose not to visit these places. It’s another entirely when your job involves ferrying travelers to the edge of these wonders but never being able to cast your own eyes upon them.

Such is the case in Peru, where porters carry 55 pound packs of travelers’ gear right to the edge–but not within viewing distance–of Machu Picchu before turning around and catching a train to Cusco to start the trek all over again. “[V]ery few porters [can] ever actually visit Machu Picchu,” wrote JoAnna Haugen, adding, “[It] hits a nerve. Global travelers can probably name countless times they’ve met local people who have never experienced the things that draw travelers to a country.”

And she wanted to do something about it… at least in Peru.

Collaborating with Julio Tello, the founder of the tour outfit Karikuy, Haugen co-founded the Karikuy-Haugen Fund, which is raising money to pay`for porters to visit Machu Picchu.

Read more about the fund and learn how you can support the project here.

Community Connection:

Headed to Machu Picchu? Matador Trips co-editor Hal Amen tells you how to visit on the cheap.