Days 15 ~ 18
Parque de la Papa
Despite the sharp contrasts in Andean topography, the people of Peru have adapted exceptionally to their surroundings. We’ll learn, for instance, that there are over 3,000 varieties of potatoes, with each variety intimately cultivated in a unique ecological micro-climate. Our days will be spent sharing in family life in this traditional agricultural community, aptly called Parque de la Papa, or Potato Park. We’ll share in the everyday tasks of our home-stay families: harvesting potatoes, herding sheep, milking or spending hours hunched over a fire preparing meals. By the time you learn your first few phrases of Quechua, the mother-tongue of the Incas and their descendants, you’ll see why some potatoes are for everyday use, while others are reserved only for special occasions like weddings or funerals!
In Parque de la Papa, we’ll also set off on our first high-altitude hikes. The hike will challenge you physically, but you’ll be also challenged intellectually and emotionally. Our home-stays will raise questions about complex community development issues such as education, sustainability, indigenous identity, and globalization. We’ll have plenty of time for group discussions, but we’ll also make time for silent contemplation.