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Photo by Tom Pablo, Andes & Amazon Semester.

The Gift of the Potato

We spent this past week in a village called Paru Paru way up in the mountains. Paru Paru is one of multiple communities in its region dedicated to the sacred farming of potatoes. During this experience we were exposed to farming traditions as well as the daily life of the community members. We had the incredible opportunity to stay in the homes of residents of Paru Paru and live with them. This experience was especially meaningful to me due to the importance of the potato to my families history. Before I left for this trip to South America my grandmother told me about how during her childhood in Russia her family relied heavily on potatoes to fuel their diet. This story led to her telling me about how the expansion of the potato out of South America was one of the greatest gifts to the world – and especially to my family. Without the potato my grandmother’s family wouldn’t have had the nutrients and sustenance they needed to survive. This gave me a profound appreciation for the potato park and the people who spend every day of their lives preserving its uniqueness and its future. I felt an incredibly strong connection to the potato park because of the experiences of my family and the gift that we were given. I can’t wait for more meaningful experiences such as this one.

This image is from the village of Paru Paru and it shows the unbelievable landscape they live in.