2014 Report

FIELD SCHOOLStudents’ Reflections

 

I feel that there is a common, important thread that forms the backbone of culture here which is the relationship people have with the environment. The close connection with Mother Earth is visible through profound knowledge of traditional farming techniques, abilities to read weather patterns, and the use of various herbs for an array of ailments.

Andean Culture and Change

  • I feel that there is a common, important thread that forms the backbone of culture here which is the relationship people have with the environment. The close connection with Mother Earth is visible through profound knowledge of traditional farming techniques, abilities to read weather patterns, and the use of various herbs for an array of ailments.
  • The very nature of traditional Andean society that fosters a sense of community and a non-monetary based system of reciprocity is vulnerable to the encroaching negative changes precipitated by globalization.
  • Time here – though people complain that it is speeding up – still has a flow and rhythm to it that western society lacks.
  • I have found Andean people to be very respectful, thoughtful and kind. Living so closely with nature has made them incredibly observant and resourceful, not to mention strong.
  • The unwritten knowledge of planting seeds, tending crops, utilizing herbal medicinal remedies is still passed along from elders to their children and grandchildren.
  • Children hold endless knowledge about the plants that grow around them; what herbs are used for colds, which ones help their stomachs feel better, etc.
  • Where I saw weeds at the beginning of this experience, I learned that Andeans saw bountiful gifts from the earth that can heal almost any ailment if you know where to find it and how to take advantage of its active properties.
  • Andean culture is based on hard work and knowledge that has only recently been recognized as valuable by outsiders.
  • The unending capitalistic driven quest for gold, silver and copper in the Andean mountains is stripping the natural resources of the Andean environment, contaminating critical water supply and destroying Quechua communities and families.
  • As globalization continues to destroy the beautiful environment I hope that Andean Culture remains intact as I have seen it. These people are insightful and interdependent and happy to greet everyone, even the gringa!

Field Work

  • While in this program, I have learned that research and field work are so much more than your own personal goals and interests. It is about building relationships through trust, reciprocity, and collective action to meet the needs and desires of a community.
  • The most important aspect of field work and Participatory Action Research is that participants are actually involved and engaged in finding their own solutions to pressing issues.
  • Throughout this experience I came to the realization that the most important aspect of field work is respect. Respect for the people who are willing to share their thoughts, lives and often their homes with you; but also respect for their culture.
  • I feel that I have learned an extremely valuable lesson about field work and methods that unfortunately many researchers fail to recognize. I’ve learned that when entering a community it is vital to recognize that you don’t know what is best for them.
  • It is easy to forget all that “culture” encompasses – for example, even the idea that time is linear rather than cyclical. Cultural differences are what often make field work confusing but ultimately rewarding. If we just open our minds there is so much we can learn from one another across cultures.
  • To have a successful field experience I think you need to understand where others are coming from. Field work requires you to recognize not only your own biases but those of the people with whom you’re interacting.

Local ecology

  • Carhuaz and our home-base of La Casa de Pocha has provided a unique opportunity to observe, experience, learn and reflect on Andean culture and society by meeting Quechua-speaking locals who represent a broad range of perspectives about life in Peru: agriculture, agrobiodiversity, herbal medicine, education, values and beliefs.
  • Our hike with Martín up to Pariacaca was a physically demanding exercise that gave me an opportunity to see and “breathe” the culture he so proudly introduced to each of us. As I walked along the path and nervously crossed a stream on a single-log bridge, I could imagine Martín as a child enjoying the Andean terrain with a direct connection to the earth and sky above.
  • Don Pancho, Beatriz, Norma, Victoria and others all shared their knowledge and experiences with us during the field school experience – I feel humbled by their knowledge and awed by their resilience to endure all the negative pressure of change due to the globalization forced upon them.
  • The Andes is a fragile environment that gives the people here their richness in life. I hope that this may be preserved as well as the wonderful culture I´ve been lucky enough to catch a glimpse of.
  • If we can learn to recognize our place in the earth and the natural system of things, I think we would learn how to protect and sustain it.
  • Something that has really struck me here is how love guides our emotions and successes. Loving the earth, and the plants, and the water which are all alive and worthy of love. Maybe if I loved these things, which provide for me everyday, more whole heartedly then happiness would be all that more abundant in my life.
  • There is strength in diversity of plants and people – Pocha’s world reflects the wisdom of Andean Quechua society who live in harmony as one with the environment.

 

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Posted on: September 22, 2017admin