Willka T’ika Gets Greener

Willka T’ika Gets Greener

Taking the “Wi-Fi Wasi” to the next level…

We had a simple plan. We would take our existing WiFi area and add a floor on top. That would give us a new, private dining room for larger (and sometimes louder) groups. Upstairs we would have room for Roxana’s store as well as a work and lounge area with its own espresso bar. But like everything in construction (and in Peru), nothing turns out as planned. We soon discovered that the original floors were uneven, as were the walls. It would require a full demolition. The rough plans we made were quickly modified. A few times.

We began the demolition on March 20th with Maestro Waly and his team of Quechua builders. By April 6th, we were ready to start pouring the new foundation. In the Quechua tradition of honoring Pachamama, we made a ceremonial offering of chicha, wine and flowers and buried them in a ceramic mug. On April 24th, our kitchen staff (Mario, Florencio, Livio and Roxana) decided they did not want to weave around a large concrete pillar while they served dinner. So we made our second course correction and toppled the central pillar, replacing it with “vigas colgantes” or side support beams.

Vaciar la Losa

“Vaciar la losa” — or the pouring of a concrete ceiling, is a favorite Peruvian past time. Peruvian builders love their cement and when it’s time to use it, they invite a dozen workers to help make sure they concrete is mixed and poured instantly. We used over 100 bags of cement to fill the 2nd story floor, not to mention all the rebar “fiero” and foam “tecnopur.” The foam keeps the ceiling from being too heavy, hence the name “losa ligera.”

Follow the Sun

Having had enough of cement, we had planned to make the ceiling of the second floor aguano wood, covered in tile. However, since we wanted to affix 25 solar panels on the roof, Maestro Waly convinced us to pour a second concrete ceiling. This would give us a large work area where we could store all the solar panels, lithium batteries and inverters. It would also give us room to maintain and clean them and avoid breaking any clay tiles. However, this addition increased the height of the building substantially. Carol began to call it our “Castillo” (castle). Fortunately, we were still able to craft a beautiful wood ceiling, albeit underneath the concrete losa! To hide the solar panels, we left a large sun “Inti” sculpture in its place. We also built a graded wall to block out any new neighborhood construction (a constant concern in the Sacred Valley).

Los Acabados

Everyone warned us that the “acabados,” or finishing touches would take the most time. The devil (and the beauty) is always in the details. In June, Tristen and Terry returned to the US, stopping in Lima on the way to purchase furniture for the Wi-Fi lounge. Meanwhile. Waly and company finished the second ceiling and began the woodwork. Our old friend Hugo brought over a dozen custom-made aguano windows and doors. To finish the walls, we used rocks from the river, mixed our own adobe, and topped things off with “laja” (slate) rock. Despite Waly’s insistence, our goal was to use as little concrete and as few cinder blocks as possible. Wherever concrete columns remained, Mario immediately set to work painting over them with Andean motifs.


We returned July 8th to find the roof of the second floor completed even better than original specifications. Thanks to Waly’s enthusiasm for our renewable energy initiative, there would be even be room for a few extra solar panels, increasing our installed capacity to 14,400 Watts. In the photos below, you will notice our building inspectors: Kallpa walks on the losa. Apu tests the staircase. Sra Carol looks over the solar panel support structure and Antonia tests out a new stone serving table.

Sustainability, at last

The extra effort was worth it! We now have room for 25 Solar Panels, 8 Lithium Batteries, and 2 Inverters. Enough energy to power 1 kitchen, 2 dining rooms, our new Wi-Fi lounge and store, 7 guest rooms and 1 big house.

Full House

August 26: The Wi-Fi Wasi was completed just in time to host our group of 52 yoga students! We may have finished a few weeks behind schedule, but it was worth the wait. Thank you to Waly and his team for doing an amazing job in under 5 months.