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Chapter 1

Andean New Year

a thanksgiving to the pachamama

Every year on August first the village of Pitukiska plays host to the surrounding communities for a grand ceremony honoring the Mother Earth. This date marks the beginning of the agricultural planting season for sustenance farming communities across the Andes. These people are intimately connected with natures rhythm and their calendar year is dictated by the climate conditions and planting of their more than 80 varieties of native potatoes.

On this new years celebration the community begins with “t’iki pallay” a journey through the mountains in search of wildflowers to use in their new year ceremony. Then they dance, woop, and frolic along the ridges that denote the community boundaries in their “linderaje” ritual.


Finally, they arrive at the highest local peak and give offerings of coca leaves and other natural goods to the Mother Earth. They thank her for health and safety and ask for good yields and plentiful crops for the following year.

Located more than 8 hours drive from Cusco through the winding hill of the Andes, the small community of Pitukiska resides on an idyllic ridge that seems too brush up against the heavens themselves. At more then 4,500 meters altitude this community and it’s neighbors push the boundaries of human existence and have for millennia.

Only recently in 2014 was a gravel road made to connect them to the small town of Paurcartambo and in extension Chinchero, Cusco and the rest of the world.

The main method of transportation in this area is still by foot. Walking miles to visit friends and carry goods to the new gravel roads to take to market. Chewing coca leaves with bodies adept to the altitude they manage to traverse many miles in a seemingly hostile environment.

Pitukiska and most of it’s small villages made up of a couple families belonging to the same family clans are not located on Google maps. The Mountain “Capacsaya” seems to be the closest location the maps recognize.

Below are two of the NGOs that we worked with in the area. Check out their sites to purchase high end textiles made by the communities as well as see how to help in the construction of greenhouses.


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