Chu, Fui Choon
I met Jose Cusi for the first time when I hiked the Inka Trail on Jun 5th, 2010. He showed up the night before in the hotel lobby and explained to me all the necessary things to undertake the 4 day/3 night Inka Trail trek. He speaks fluent and perfectly understandable English, diligently elaborate on the details of the hike that is 49 kilometers at 4200 meters. He made sure we asked all of our questions and answered all of them. Then, I thought, yeah, that is a guide’s job.
I then came to know that Jose goes beyond his duty as a guide. When the journey started, my group of six started to get to know how good Jose really is. Of course, Jose is nice, pleasant, goofy sometimes to make us laugh and fun. But, Jose is more than that as a guide. Jose has easily became a best friend for all of us.
Along the way, Jose knows exactly what needs to be done, where to do what and when to do it. He surprised me the 1st time when he started “the history lesson” on the Inka Trail. It took all 6 of us away. The lesson is the starter to attach us to the Inka Trail. It is so powerful that I can still feel and hear it freshly in my mind.
Jose never stopped giving instruction to the cook, the porters and the team along the way. He is like a leader to the team, knowing what to do and when to do it, is crucial. I used to tease him that he is like the “commander”, issuing orders all the time. Everyone listened to his instruction and followed it exactly. He also showed his ability to gain trust, our trust, instantly.
The fact is, Jose Cusi is so good at his job, so good at what he is doing, he had exceeded the team expectation. We all love him as our guide. None of us wanted to go home when the 4th day came to an end. He is a leader in his league, a mentor to the cook and porters, a friend to those he guides. He is serious about his job at most times without noticing it because we only remember the fun-filled Jose. We call him, friend, not guide at the end.