While travelling through the Andes several years ago, my companions and i were caught in a blizzard. We were accompanying an Indian woman who was taking her 3 month old baby to a cliic in the valley below. We took refuge in an abandoned hut that protected us from the snow and hail, yet the wind howled mercilessly through the gaps in the stone wall. we huddled together whilst Maria held the baby close to her chest All during the night, the mother attempted to nurse the child, opening her blouse and bringing the baby's lips to her breast. By morning the storm had subsided, and the hills were covered with a blanket of white. As the dawn broke we all stepped outside to warm ourselves in the sun. When Maria unbundled her baby, we discovered that the girl had died sometime during the night. We returned to the village, where a medicine woman blessed the baby and performed her death rites. I then accompanied the young mother into the hills and attempted to console her as we dug a shallow grave in the frozen ground. Both of us were in tears, and we said a prayer to Mother Earth, to receive her child. When we were done, we covered the mound with a pile of stones and returned to the village. Two days later Maria was back working in her family's field. They were turning over the soil to prepare the ground for planting. I was still distraught and had spend the previosus days grieving the baby's death. When Maria saw how upset i was, she came over, hugged me, and said "Do not be sad. My baby is now back with her mother". Her comment cut right through my anguish. Though the family was visibly sad, they were filled with warmth and compassion. This was the purest form of selfless love. I found this really touching and amazing. Michael is now with his other mother, and being taken care of my love.