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Visiting the Amaru Cultural Center

June 4, 2014
by Danielle Schwartz '16

Today was a very exciting day especially for the Amaru Cultural internship people because we are finally visiting the Amaru Cultural Center. We woke up at the usually time, had breakfast and then at about 9:00 a.m. we left for the cultural center. While it is possible to walk the whole way, because of time, we drove up and then walked a little bit. We first stopped at a field where we were greeted by workers within the Amaru community. We partook in their ritual of giving and receiving coca leaves while Roman repeated (multiple times) the correct terms to say thank you and the terms to say when you are giving them your leaves. We were each given a handful and we were told to pick our three best leaves and give them away, this continued until you were out of leaves. As you received the leaves you would chew on them but you attempt not to swallow, Roman also gave us plant ashes to help with taste (it also numbed our mouths). Then the woman gave us tea and Amaru clothing: skirts, hats, and shawls. Next we went to work in the fields by breaking up the ground and picking up sticks; it was tiring work. We all left the farm with blisters before continuing up to the cultural center.

Betsabeth, Lucilla´s third grade daughter, visited us and walked with us. We were greeted with flower necklaces, corn/potatoes, and soup upon our arrival at the cultural center. Everything was very good and Mrs. Smith especially liked the sauce. They also brought guinea pig which Ingrid tried and said was very good :).

Next we looked at all of their beautiful work and made very hard decisions as to what to buy. We also got the opportunity to watch the women and men weave the textiles and it was very, very cool and beautiful. We all bought something and went back to the inn. Today was a lot of fun and very exciting to see a new culture!