Observation of Parque de la Papa

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While in our stay in Cusco, we had the chance to branch out to near villages high in the Andes mountains where we visited the community’s observing culture and their way of using the environment to sustain the population. These villages where only made of the material found locally such as the clay and yuca trees. The houses are constructed with with made with the clays to which the home owner collected and shaped them selves. The yuca trees are used to construct any fences and other structures. These homes and structures are built on the sides of the mountains in communities. These communities are divided up into six sectors. Each sector has a certain part of the mountain that they can use to cultivate. These mountains sides are full or terracing and fields for growing crops. Depending on the type of crop they want to grow, they must plant at certain elevation. In the high parts, potatoes grow, in the middle yuca or sweet potatoes grown and in the low lands, quinoa, maize and other grains grow. They know these agriculture skills through thousands of years of transitioning into a self sustainable lifestyle. Glacial lakes in the high parts of the mountains are redirected to supply water to the crops as well as the houses as a source of freshwater.

In the high parts, there is little oxygen to grow crops, such as the quinoa, but it is great for potatoes. There are over 4,000 verities of potatoes and only 3,600 are edible. Potato park grows about 1,340 types and each one is named depending on the shape, color, and taste. 6 women from one of the community’s had cooked us a wonderful lunch consisting of potato soup, potatoes cakes, potatoes stuffed with Andean cheese and many many more potatoes plates. All of which were outstandingly delicious and only possibly harvested down the street from the kitchen. This rich culture is so unique and unlike any others that I have experience because of there development and ability to sustain and support the populations. Everything thing that they do to the fields is done by hands. They utilize the environment to get what they want out of the potatoes. They dehydrate potatoes by leaving them out in the sun, they cook potatoes by frost, and they use the frost to also keep bugs off. This technology they have developed had been practiced from generations to generations and is so efficient which allows the population to sustain. This is how the people take advantage of nature and develop this culture.

Before visiting this park, I could never imagine myself eating only the foods I grew right from my property let alone eating the same foods everyday. But because of the women’s cooking and sharing their respites and allowing us to try the different foods, it showed me that because of the limited resources, you have to get creative, and through this creativeness developed cultural dishes. I really grew a kind of respect for these people. They did what they could to survive, much like many people, but they kept themselves isolated as well as no cerupted by society. I don’t know if this from how pore they are, or that they want to live this way and share the culture to visitors much like our class. What ever it is, I am really glad I got to meet some of people and experience their culture shaped by the mountains.

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