Cuzco. On October 31 we had the pleaseure of receiving three representatives from The Christensen Fund (TCF) at ANDES. China Ching, Program Officer, Yeshi TekleMichael, Grants Associate for Global Programs and Lourdes Inga, Manager of Grants Administration spent a day at our office to inform themselves of projects that receive TCF funding and collaboration.
The following day, November 1st, was spent visiting the Potato Park. There they were festively welcomed with flower petals and Andean flute music by representatives of the participating indigenous communities. The visit began with an introduction to the cosmovision and Park organization. The Spirits of the Mountains form a Council that includes a female and a male Mountain Spirit in the leadership and elder Mountain Spiritis. Surrounded by these impressive high peaks, there was a palpable feeling of protectin coming from the mountains. Following the model of the Apus (Mountain Spirits) the Potato Park has its Council with men and women from the participating communities of Sacaca, Kuyo Grande, Chawaytire, Pampallaqta, Paru Paru and Amaru.
The visitors toured the different community sites on the park where the work of the collectives takes place. Leaders of the six collectives took turns explaining the work areas: medicinal plants, seed development, seed conservation vault, handicrafts and the Culinary Sanctuary and gastronomy collective.
The visit ended with an impressive feast of native culinary succulence which brought guests and locals together at the table. The TCF representatives were visibly moved by what they saw and heard from the indigenous speakers who thanked the TCF for their support. Through the TCF contribution members of the Potato Park have received trainings which have enabled them to develop the work they now do, among other things. "With the trainings, we have gained freedom," expressed one of the speakers for the park. The TCF representatives in turn thanked all and said they felt honored to have contributed toward the work underway. It was also meaningful that the visitors were women from different cultures working together to promote biological and cultural diversity. China greeted the group in Hawaiian, Yeshi from Etiopia responded to comments from a member of the park who travelled to Ethiopia for a South-South exchange, and Lourdes, a Peruvian, expressed her gratitude for the opportunity of visiting her homeland and the Potato Park.