Floating grass islands on Lake Titicaca in Peru are built of totora, an aquatic plant that grows on the surface of the lake that is as large as Puerto Rico. The Uros people originally created their grass island communities to prevent attacks by their more aggressive neighbors, the Incas. The Uros trace their ancestry back to the Arawaks, the group of indigenous peoples of South America and the Caribbean. Their handmade reed boats are another testimony to their timeless hard work. Rowing in one of them on Lake Titicaca, while participating in the University of the Virgin Islands Passport to the World Program, was an amazing experience. One floating island might be less than one fourth of an acre.

Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 of a three-part series. Part 1 was published on Monday, June 24.

Visiting a country with thousands of years of history with inhabitants who can trace their roots deep into its soil is an experience that stokes reflection.