Wandering the Andes Just another Purchase College Blogs site

Wandering the Andes
What is a judge to do?

What is a judge to do (when an 18 year old man brings home a 13 year old girl and says she is his wife)? Peru is the multicultural country par excellence:  with populations of Indian, African, Oriental and European origin in every possible mixture.  Cosmopolitan Lima, the Amazon Jungles, and the Indian villages of the Andes […]

The Hacienda Hualango
The Hacienda Hualango

The road ends at S****. The Hacienda Hualango lies over the next ridge. It would be quite close if there were a road – but there isn’t – and getting over the ridge is a 1500 foot climb. The slopes are near vertical, and the trail is harrowing. By horse it takes close to three […]

The Hacienda S****
The Hacienda S****

The Hacienda S*** sits at the end of the road. It’s only 25 miles from the provincial capital (pop. 20,000, altitude 9,000 ft), but it’s over a one lane dirt road that zig-zags up the side of one mountain, peaks at around 13,500 feet, curls along the side of another mountain, and then descends down […]

Frustration and fun

Peru is almost always exciting; it’s also almost always frustrating also. I came to Cajabamba, a small provincial city 4 hours from the departmental capital of Cajamarca, for three purposes. The first was to find out who killed Carmen.  In the 1970s he was the president of peasant community two hours walk from here, one which for decades […]

Guinea Pigs
Guinea Pigs

I ate my first guinea pig (cuy, pl. cuyes) almostforty years ago.   I had been staying for a week with the family of Carmen Lopez, a peasant living two hours walk from the town of Cajabamba in northern Peru, and was about leave to head back to the city.   In the Andes guinea pig is the […]

The Diablada
The Diablada

Every town in mountain Peru has its patron saint and its annual festival, celebrated with processions, bull fights, commercial fairs, lots of eating and drinking.   The fiestas are moments when everyone gets together – sort of.  Peasants come in from the countryside and migrants who have long since moved to the nation’s cities (and even […]

Cesar Diaz (Yucas): torero
Cesar Diaz (Yucas): torero

I was in the house the day César was born.  As a child his father was never present.  His mother sought her fortune in Costa Rica when he was barely seven, and he was raised by his uncle and aunt, Telmo and Bertha, the godparents of my daughter Victoria .  From the time he was […]

Carmen Lopez
Carmen Lopez

The last time I saw Carmen López was in January, 1973.    I had lived briefly with Carmen Lopez and his family – his wife Elena and their five children – the previous year while doing research for my dissertation.  Those of you who have taken my Development and Politics in Latin America course know his […]

A Peasant Family
A Peasant Family

  I first met Fermin in 1994, when I interviewed him for a study of peasant patrols I was then writing.   Fermin at the time was a catechist and president of his community patrol.   He invited me to his home for lunch, and I have been visiting and staying with him ever since Fermin is a […]