Leo’s birthday

Trout Farm Managers Birthday.

It is not a common thing to go to a community and spend a birthday ceremony like the typical western birthday ceremonies that we so kindly prepare for our loved ones every time there is this special date around. Andean birthdays are celebrated in a much smaller scale, especially in economically marginalized regions such as the ones we work in. Birthday’s usually consist on a special meal for the birthday boy or girl, and in the high altitudes this meals usually consists in Cuy (Guinea pig) or pork with many types of potatoes.

I was on of my usual visits to our Patacancha Trout Farm project, I arrived in the morning and just before I took off that morning to start traveling to the community, I met with one of my good friends in Ollantaytambo (the town where we take the detour to head up to Patacancha) who had just finished harvesting his corn from his own “chakra” (harvesting field). He gave me a whole bunch of corn which I carried happily on my back pack all the way up.

As I said, when I got to Patacancha, I spent the day with Leonardo just going through the usual stuff we go through on my visits: checking the cooking lists, seeing how the fish are going , etc ,etc.

It was lunch time and time for me to head back home, but then Leonardo told me to come in to his kitchen for something to eat. It was then when I realized from seeing all this food that there was something special going on. Leo then, in his very shy way, told me “it is my birthday today”! I was very excited! and congratulated him very happily. We sat down and talked, then his wife served us the lunch (Guinea pig) and then he also told me it was his wife’s Victoria’s birthday tomorrow. So I was there and felt so bad not to know, but then I realized I was carrying about 2 kilos of corn in my pack, which I reached and said “here , your birthday presents for both of you” We went on through the lunch and then I kind of felt the need to go on and do some of my typical birthday ceremony’s to them. I remembered I had a chocolate candy bar in my pocket, and I looked over the kitchen I found a couple of matches. So I went on and sang happy birthday to them, and then had both do their wishes and blow their candles! It was a great thing to be able to share this day with them. Here’s to Leo and his Wife Victoria for another year of life in the community!