Friday, August 28, 2015

Dance, Dance - - Bailar (Dance), and work of course, and get ready to travel

We were invited to attend the Dance Festival of the Cusco Stake.  We didn't know quite what to expect, but it was spectacular, and very fun.  A tradition here is that once a year, the adults in each barrio (ward) select a team of dancers, unique costumes of local or historical tradition, and choreograph a custom dance routine for display to all the members and guests of the Stake.

We were first greeted by Hno. Rigoberto, who looked like a colorful bird.  This was our first indication that it was going to be a special and exciting evening, even though it was a bit chilly - which doesn't bother the Peruvians a bit.

There they go, between 8 and 20 dancers in each team, and they are natural dancers, especially in the folk dance traditions.

Did I say colorful costumes?  I wish that we understood the local traditions and customs a little better, we have seen variations of all the costume types in different festivals in Cusco.

Well, you might guess that Hno. Marco and Bishop Santos are farmers, and you would be right.  Those aren't weapons they're holding, they are representations of the traditional farming tool that was used anciently by the Chechua for digging and planting, sort of like an all-purpose shovel.

More dancing and twirling.  I went to the 2nd floor of the Stake Center to get a better view for some photos.

 The adult dance festival is held once a year - we hear the one for Inti Raymi Stake is coming up soon and we're looking forward to that.  The youth have their own dance festivals at another time.

Everyone has fun and is willing to pose for pictures.  A lot of work goes into making these costumes.

This group had unique costumes, the women looked like cowgirls, and the men like Shriners - they had to use both hands to hold their hats on during the entire dance.

Well, here are all the farmers.  They brought bundles of straw and threw it up in the air.  And look at their bare feet.  I asked Hno Enrique if their feet got cold the answer was "SÍ"

The dancers from barrio Santiago.  Do their hats look like lampshades?  Knowing there would be lots of pictures taken, they wanted to make sure everyone knew which barrio they were from.

A closer view of Hno Romulo "hombre mas guapo (handsome) en Cusco" with his lovely esposa Hna Emma and the lovely Hna J.

If you let the Elders grab your camera, there are usually a lot of selfies on it that I have to delete, but they did manage to snap one of us as well.

Well, after the festival is over, it's back to work.  After a previous session with Hna Luzmilla, we get to help her esposo Walter.  He's on the phone with his father - who has about 3 generations of detailed family information in his head - and Hna is writing it down as fast as she can.  I've told Hno. Walter that we'd like to meet his father, and we really would.  He lives in Cusco, and hopefully we'll get to see him soon, there are so many amazing people here.

Another great family.  Note the "Mi Familias" and photo books all over the table.  Also note that everyone is bundled up in their coats.  Not much central heating here (meaning none), so everyone just dresses according to the temperature, and life goes on without a hitch.  Hermanas Hollingshead and Corsetti are especially helpful, and a delight to work with.

 Still at work late in the evening.  It took a couple of meetings to get Hno. Washington's and Hna. Isabel's family information entered - along with a couple of phone calls to track down missing information.  Their two boys are Michael and Zeniff, and they are two active handfuls, like boys everywhere.

Hna J. gets a big hug as a reward for all her help and love.  Well deserved and much appreciated!

Another day, and we're off to Mercado (market) San Pedro.  This is like Alice's Restaurant, where you can get anything you want, from clothes to fish.  Here we're at our favorite sellers of nuts and dried fruits - of all kinds.  This time we loaded up on cashews, almonds, golden raisins, and aguamentes, which are very tart.  You'll see the reason for our stop here in a bit.

Just across the walkway from the nut sellers are shelves of colorful and delicious fruits of all kinds:  pineapples, grapes, about a half-dozen varieties of oranges and tangerines.  It would be considered "fall" here, but really the end of the dry season, and many fruits and other crops are being harvested now, but some grow year round so there is always plenty of tasty choices.

Hna J tries her hand at high-altitude baking.  She brought a "Pie in the Sky" cookbook for high-altitude cooking - but it only gives recipes and variations for 10,000 ft, and we're at over 11,000 ft here!  I will say that she got this one right on the first try, and they were a treat.  Unfortunately, we're leaving town in a couple of days, so she gave most of this batch to the Elders who live in our building - lucky them, and they know it.

So what are all the nuts and dried fruits for - well, the tastiest trail mix in the world!  We always like to have some of this when we travel, for snacks as well as some meals that we miss because we're working odd hours, or just don't feel like going out.  And what are the really colorful fruits - M&M's of course.  This really is the best snack ever.

Just a day or two and we're off to Quillabamba - at one of the far ends of the mission.  We've heard some wonderful things about it, but it's about a 6 hour drive to get there, which Hna J is not looking forward to.  She doesn't travel well on the twisty mountain roads, but she'll endure it to get our work done there.  Quillabamba is one of the "jungle" areas, sort of like Puerto Maldonado, except it's 7,000 ft elevation - how can there be a jungle as high as Park City?  Only in Peru!


  1. It's cold enough for a puffy coat and gloves!?

  2. El baile parece divertido. Wow, all those beautiful fruits and your trail mix looks awesome. I hope your high altitude baking is turning out but truth be known you can't ruin brownies, especially when they are warm.