In a letter to her mother, a young Maria Reiche
tried to calm her mother's fears about her future: "Dear mother, you wrote to me
about the great expectations you have about my future. Compared to those expectations. I'm
a failure, and the world has the right to expect more from me than I actually deliver. But
you are right, one should find oneself first before trying to be something in this world.
I am only just beginning to discover what I really want to do.
I don't understand in what way what is going on inside of me will takes shape
externally. It's possible that will live for a few years more in complete anonymity until
destiny considers me worthy of taking over the task that it has assigned me, the task for
which I was born ... I believe it involves a specific task for which I am unconsciously
ready, preparing myself and learning."
Maria wasn't wrong. Destiny had laid out an impossible task that only her steel will
could pull off: to let the world know about the enigmatic
lines that the Nazca culture had carved into
the desert, and at the same time, protect them.
Maria left her native Dresden bound for Peru to work as a nanny for the German Consul
in Cusco in 1934, when she was 31. She parted from the tranquil town of Dresden, a pretty
German city by the Elba River to head off with US archaeologist Paul Kosok to discover one
of the world's greatest mysteries in the arid sands of the Nazca desert.
Since then, Maria understood that this was her destiny in life, and never again left
those remote desert wastelands. Patient, disciplined and meticulous, she swept the sands
away until she had uncovered 10,000 lines, 60 figures of animals and humans, and 40
geometric shapes of triangles and trapezoids.
Two years ago, at the age of 95, after spending a lifetime studying and caring for the
lines, she passed away. Without a doubt, Maria was true to the promise that she made to
Peru, and above all Nazca, will never forget