A tiny Peruvian woman wakens long before the 5 a.m. sunrise, tiptoeing around her family’s darkened hut to get dressed. She opens the door and twilight creeps in, clinging to her kaleidoscopic ensemble: a vibrant pink, ankle-length skirt and a loud yellow cardigan embroidered with flowers and zigzags. She defers donning her straw hat until later, leaving her sun-scarred nose and cheeks exposed.
As she steps outside, Dora Jallahui Vilca’s feet sink slightly into the dewy ground, the hewn reeds bending with her weight. Like the tens of thousands of residents — ancient and modern — who have been born, lived and died over the centuries on this man-made island, she gives little thought to the lake beneath her feet.
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