I arrange three leaves on the potato before we plant it, and offer it up towards the mountains. I repeat the Quechua words, asking the apus to bless our cosecha. While my compañeros are impressed at the accuracy of my repetition, the girl standing next to me bursts out laughing at the end of the planting ceremony. It turns out that i concluded the ceremony by saying “Los bebes han defecado” somehow in Quechua, and soon we are all laughing.
While I may not speak Quechua or dance well, the people of Parque de las Papas were very welcoming and hospitable throughout our rural homestay in the small pueblo of Paru Paru. Together we celebrated Claire’s birthday, helped make adobe houses, and hiked to presentations about potatoes, culture, and medicinal plants. When not engaging in a group activity, Sam, Clemente, and I helped our family with their chores on the farm.
Happy to shower, but sad to say goodbye, we got on our bus back to Urubamba Sunday morning.