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Peru 4B group, summer 2019

Paru Paru

After having seen the Chinchero, Moray, and Pisac ruins we arrived at the Paru Paru community of “Parque de la Papa”. This is Nick, Stella, and Nora checking in from the beautiful Andes Mountains. This week we’ve had the opportunity to make connections with families and learn their ways of life.  After being welcomed by a shower of flower petals we were invited to share a meal prepared by Hermanito, the head chef. All the food prepared at Parque de la Papa is locally sourced and grown within Paru Paru, with one of the staple foods being potatoes. However, the potato varieties found here are extremely different from the Yukon Gold and Idaho spuds many of us are used. The people here work with and grow roughly 180 different varieties of potatoes, with families working with 40-100 varieties at a time. The group was even invited to learn how the potatoes are locally grown and embarrassed ourselves attempting to engage in their practices of farming.  After a satisfying farming sesh, we observed the art of weaving.  A sheep was tied up and sheared, the wool turned into a string, the string dyed with a variety of plant combinations to make different shades and colors, and then the actual weaving took place, which is more similar to brain surgery than anything else, with all patterns done by memory with no guide. We wrapped up the evening with a scintillating conversation about the impacts of tourism on Quechua culture.