Friday, July 15, 2011

El Condor Pasa

So, I have been here in Peru for almost a week.  I have to say that while everyone and their dog thinks that Portuguese and Spanish are almost the same, and that because I speak fluent Portuguese, I'll be able to speak Spanish just fine, it really is not quite that simple.  Speaking Spanish, for me, has been the steepest learning curve that I have ever experienced.  So far, though, I am doing very well.

While I am here, we are hoping to accomplish a few things including helping local farmers to set up family gardens to supplement their nutrition, design and build a demonstration farm at the local university, and to gleen what we can from the endless knowledge of local farmers.  I have to admit, though that I had hoped to escape the university beaurocracy that we encountered at USU, but alas, that hope was in vain.  The fact is that we are waiting for the university to sign some legal documents that will give us the ability to clear and plant a 1 hectare (2.47 acres) plat on their land.  We're optimistic, however, that they will sign this next Tuesday afternoon, so keep your fingers crossed!

Here are some photos of the area that we will be farming:
Vermiculture!  I love it!

Part of the field that we will be planting at the University

Another view of the same field.  Note the stand of Kind Grass that we will cut down and make compost out of

There are a handful of crops that you are certain to encounter in rural Piura such as tomatoes, pima cotton, rice, corn, passionfruit, mango orchards, alfalfa, onions, and cassava.  Here are some pics of those farms:

Typical setup of animals and home

Passion fruit with watermelon growing on the ground

This is a passion fruit.  When it is ready to eat, it turns light yellow.

More animals


Mango orchard.  Too bad they're not in season right now...

Typical corn field

Carlos talking with Sr. Roberto in his tomato field

We worked with Roberto to design a garden for his family that will provide all the vegetables his family needs for an entire year.  It has been very useful to be able to talk with farmers and use their knowledge in developing our designs.

This guy's farm was sweet.  He understands so much about agriculture, and even has a ton of bee hives.

This photo doesn't do justice to the poverty that some live with.  This home has walls of woven grass and sewn-together rice bags.  Even though they may not have a lot of possessions, this family was amazingly happy.  You could tell that the parents earnestly care about the health and nutrition of their children.

Brainstorming ideas for the farms and gardens.  From left to right: Sixto (Our Peru area director), Carlos (our agronomist), Cynthia (Our nutritionist) and me (resident ag. stud)

In the mean time, Carlos, the SRA agronomist from Piura, and I are traveling to farms around Piura to see what they are already doing and what we can do to help out.  Carlos is a very connected man; it seems like he knows everyone.  In fact, he has some family connection to a former minister of agriculture of Peru, which has helped us connect with all the right people in order to establish ourselves strongly in the area.

I don't want you to think that I'm just working here, though.  For example, Sixto, Carlos, and I went to see Harry Potter last night at the theater!  That's right, I saw it 4 hours before anyone in Utah did haha!  I understood almost all of it (it was in Spanish) and we had a lot of fun.  Then, we went out for some amazing late-night wonton soup.

Stay tuned because it's Friday night which means we don't have to work tomorrow.  I really want to show you the food from Peru!  I used to be very partial to Brazilian food, often claiming that there was nothing better.  After only a few days, I am beginning to re-neg on my claims.  In fact, I'll just say it: Peruvian food is the best thing I have EVER put in my mouth.  Hands down. So there you have it!  I'll be posting again in the next few days again so check back.  Thanks for reading!!!

P.S. If there are any spelling errors, forgive me.  My spellcheck is in spanish because Google recognizes that I am in Peru....


  1. Awesome babe!! Sounds so fun! I am so excited for you but way jealous! Love you and come home soon please. xoxoxoxoxox0

  2. cool!!!!!! I like all the pics! very interesting your blog :=)

    a hug!

  3. I just got caught up on your blog! Keep it up. It is quite interesting!