This week was full of activity! It was awesome and I’m so thankful for the opportunities that were granted to me.
On Tuesday, I went to a conference about school gardens where I met more FAO liaisons working elsewhere in Peru helping to establish and implement school gardens. MIDIS was also at the conference, and as Qali Warma (and the school feeding program) is under MIDIS, I learned a little more about to the extent of their participation in the programs. Working in an organization as large and spread out as the FAO has been an incredible learning experience in and of itself. And being an intern for a limited amount of time, I don’t necessarily have all the background information and full articulation of contributions from all actors involved. However, attending all these workshops and conferences helps to clarify the bigger picture and desired goals; which in turn helps me with my project and create a model more targeted at addressing certain needs and/or missing pieces.
On Wednesday, I went back to my little school in Lurín where I taught my second lesson about what is important to a garden. Last week, we learned why a garden is important (because it provides us nutrients), however a garden needs nutrients, as well, in the form of sunlight, water, and compost.
On Thursday, I had the opportunity to join a FAO field visit in Puno (a city in the south of Peru close to the Bolivia boarder). We flew in Thursday and went to a school on Friday. The purpose of the visit was to recognize a school for their achievement in nutrition in school meals, as well as recognize one student in particular. The student, Ariadne, drew a picture that became the Peru banner for the International Year of the Family Farmer (which was last year; 2015 is the International Year of Soils). Ariadne comes from a family of campesinos, or peasant farmers, so she said she drew what knew.
Our day at the school in Puno consisted of a ceremony (presenting a plaque to the school and to Ariadne); speeches from the director of the school, FAO, the director of Global Humanitarian (an ally organization in Peru and globally, also dedicated to eradicating hunger); a market display of local products; and singing and dancing. It was absolutely beautiful and so much fun to be a part of!
Additionally, I had the opportunity to stay in Puno for the weekend and do some exploring. A little background of Puno: it is a city on Lake Titicaca, which is the largest lake in South America and the highest lake in the world (over 12,000 feet/4,000 meters above sea level); there is a lot of agricultural activity in Puno, both in the fields in terms of vegetable produce and sheep, cattle, llama, and alpaca farming (for meat, leather, and wool/hair for textiles) and agricultural activity from the lake with a large population of residents being fisherman. Puno (and everywhere in Peru, really) is an interesting city with a rich history. There’s Incan history and folkloric stories (Puno is the folklore capital of Peru), and dances, festivals, and traditions hundreds of years old. It’s a lovely, quaint city in the altiplano, high plains, of the Andes with some of bluest skies I’ve ever seen in my life.