Fair Trade Coffee in Peru: An Economist's Notebook

Travelogue of a social scientist studying Fair Trade on a Fulbright in Peru. Personal anecdotes and interviews with coffee growers, importers, and exporters, as well as Andean cultural leaders, Limeña intellectuals, business people, professors, writers, and anyone else I meet on the journey. Fair Trade as both an alternative to the dominant model of globalization and as a way of life that is practiced by an increasing number of people who testify to its great benefits.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

just back from Alto Shambuyacu!

Allima punchaw waukikuna panikuna! (Good morning brothers and sisters! in Quechua) Just returned from 4 days visit to native community Alto Shambuyacu! Wonderful time it was. Just some highlights - harvesting coffee in the morning, lunching in the tambo (cottage) of one of the socios (members) of the co-op, with some mishkichado (honey and cane liquor) ... harvesting organic rain-fed rice from the field and then finding our way back through the creek where we picked snails and crabs for dinner (mmmm! sauteed snail! delicious!) ... building the wall of a house of mud and straw, stomping around in it barefoot to get a plasterlike paste ... parties and talent show every night with singing and dancing, Gabe and I played some jazz and the local band played their traditional tunes while we danced - Gabe, Zoe, Julia, and Becky performed a spontaneous dance - the Vice President of the co-op, who lives in the community, sang - they staged a mock Carnival with mask dance - we all acted out our trip in improv theater - I sat in with the band the last day for the going-away party... baking traditional breads, rosquitas (from yuca flour), puchku (yuca and corn with sugar, fermented 1 hour with corn beer called chicha and baked in the earthen oven), and biscochuelo (a kind of pound cake made with 60 eggs!) ... planting trees on the last day - I planted two mahogany trees - we all became godparents... I am the godfather of the two children of our host family. Amazing host family, Ronald and Betty and their kids Jonathan (9 years) and Cindi Pilar (19 days!) ... Ronald is ex president of the sectoral committee for the co-op from the town ... Betty is the ex president of the co-op´s women´s committee ... the new sector president is Manuel, a great person, so relaxed and welcoming to all of us. More about this experience later - it is a great beginning of something I think will last a long time. Love to everyone!


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