In too short a time, our homestay in Paru Paru, Parque de la Papa has come to an end. In these brief four days, our students cooked and ate meals with their families, joined in as much as possible in daily work such as brick laying, harvesting oats, or planting potatoes, and shared games of soccer and UNO with their young host brothers and sisters. Many have lists of new Quechua words in their notebooks. We all learned the names of perhaps too many varieties of potatoes to remember, and also listened to the ways in which climate change is tangibly affecting the daily life here. Students expressed the immense respect and curiosity they feel toward this community that welcomed us so graciously in such a short amount of time, and are engaging with some of the difficult questions cultural exchange invariably brings up. What new perspectives and behavior changes will we carry with us back to our own lives back home? What do we do with this knowledge and friendship we’ve gained here?
Stay tuned. Our next stop is the most sacred mountain of Peru, Ausangate. After a full day of shopping, we are prepped and ready for our 6 day trek, which starts tomorrow! We can’t wait for the epic landscapes of the Andes and to deepen our understanding of Peru’s geography. We will be without internet for the next 6 days but will check back in again in Cusco in less than a week. Just wait till you see our next set of photos! Nos vemos pronto!