Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Potato Fields in Bloom

¡We took the boat to Taquile on Sunday--at last! Just below our house are several potato fields in full bloom: purple and burgandy and white. I think we arrived just in time for the peak of beauty. It's rainy season, so all the terraces are green and growing. We ate new potatoes and young oca from the fields. AND the night sky is fantastic! It has been clear, the Southern Cross, Mars, the Milky Way: I was up in the night on Sunday after the moon rose. Silver reflection on the lake and then from behind s cloud shaped like a woman. Exquisite.

All of our extended family has come to visit us in the first couple of days, and it has been a time full of love and news. During most of the year, everyone has their own busy lives. When we come, they all get together, so much of the conversation is in Quechua of them catching up on their own news with each other. They tell us how we unite the family.

Monday was the first day of school. Our goddaughter, Natalia, starts her first year of High School this year. We're very proud of her; many of her cousins and even one of her brothers and her sister didn't get past elementary school. The community held a big ceremony: All the officers of Taquile were there in full regalia. They did a coca leaf ceremony, passed soda pop all around to the spectators. Speeches were made in both Quechua and Spanish: One told the students, "Your education is not just for you, not just for the community, but to lift up the whole country." The government has put some money into the school and therefore has stricter requirements for attendance (Taquile students have always been somewhat lax). A few years ago a 20 panel solar array was installed and this year we see the satelite internet connection. I didn't ask if each student gets to have a personal email address!

A few days ago Valeria's cow pulled her off balance, she fell and is in some serious pain, so we told her we wanted to take her to some hot springs. We started plans to go NEXT week, but all of a sudden it seemed best to go right away. That's why you can read this post. We're back in Puno, leaving tomorrow for some wonderful thermal springs north of here. The group is comfortably small, Ruperta, Eufrasia and Valeria, plus Sam and I, and I think 5-yr-old Clever will be coming too. Silvano and Lino have community obligations, though Lino may join us after a day.

One of our most pleasurable experiences here is to take small groups on excusions to places they probably won't be able to afford to visit on their own. Prices in Peru are quite cheap compared to the U.S., so we can afford these marvelous outings. It's great fun to travel with our Taquile family. We can all be tourists together, different than being an ordinary tourist.


  1. Hi Tara and Sam, We love your stories, and are so glad that you have the technology to share them while in Peru! Re Natalia's school. Are you aware of the XO laptop? http://laptop.org/en/laptop/index.shtml It's a laptop built for children in developing countries, small in size, built-in wireless, etc. I'll bet we could get some for Natalia and her class. Let's talk!
    Love! Judy and Amory

  2. We researched the One Child per Laptop program last year, didn't see how we could get the project to Taquile, but maybe the current projects here (See the next couple blogs for details) could be expanded with more computers from the laptop.org project!