What parent does not want to share the world with their child? Especially if they’ve grown up or lived in another place on the globe that holds many good times and special memories. Even a quick glance at my name lets you know that my life has been a mixture of world cultures. As a young girl, I spent several of my teenage years in the Andes and could not wait until my children were old enough to travel back to Peru with me.
When my oldest child, my daughter Kyra, was approaching 10, we planned a trip to Peru and arranged to be near the festival of the Virgin of Candelaria for her birthday. The experience was unforgettable.
We flew into Lima and then to Cusco, and took a few days to adjust to the altitude. We checked out the local markets and looked for friends at the dance workshop and Native radio station where I had been involved. We hiked up to the fortress of Sacsayhuaman and Kyra got to try papas fritas (french fries) with her choice of white or yellow sauce (mayo or mustard). She got to try “choqlo,” huge ears of corn that are eaten by peeling away and eating each kernel, and she learned you never eat corn by putting the whole ear in your mouth. The locals say: “That’s how pigs eat corn!”.
Then we boarded a bus and traveled on the (thankfully, now paved) road from Cusco to Lake Titicaca. Along the way, the bus stopped at several spots and Kyra got to see an Inca storehouse (Raqchi), a 16th century Catholic church, and a small cooperative that raised adorable alpacas. But the highlight of the trip was being near Lake Titicaca for her birthday. We took a small boat out to the floating islands in the lake. Kyra got to speak with the ladies who lived there, and she fell in love with the little birds that were bred on the island. As the festival got into full swing, we traveled into the town of Puno to see the parades of Native dancers. It was an exciting time for both of us, as I got to explain many of the dances, traditional clothing and beautiful customs that she was seeing.
A few years later, I got to take my son and the trip was not nearly as easy or pleasant. He got a cold and then altitude sickness in the Andes, plus a stomach bug. But amidst it all, he did get to see so much of the landscape and culture that has shaped my world. Even when travel isn’t the easiest, it does create powerful memories, an unbreakable bond and newfound appreciation between a parent and a child. In the long run, sharing the world with your child is an unbeatable experience for both of you!
If you don’t have the immediate chance to visit one of the Andean countries such as Peru, Bolivian, Ecuador or Chile, or you feel your children are too young to travel to the Andes at the moment, explore this beautiful region of the world with the resources below.
Resources for Learning about the Andes
A Child’s Life In The Andes – E-Book plus CD From TeachersPayTeachers
Cancioncitas De Los Andes/Little Songs of the Andes – CD from iTunes
All About Peru: Raising Kids Who Love Their Hispanic Heritage – Ideas for teaching children about Peru, including a printable mini-book, on Multicultural Kid Blogs
Peru Facts and Puzzles in English and Spanish – Spanish Playground has easy readings and crosswords about Peru.
Lomo Saltado: Beef Stir Fry from Peru – Visit All Done Monkey to learn about Peru and this classic Peruvian dish.
Anticuchos De Corazón (Peruvian Beef Heart Skewers) – Anticuchos are a popular street food in Peru. The recipe is from Tara’s Multicultural Table.
Pollo Saltado – Peruvian Chicken Stir-Fry – Tara’s Multicultural Table also has a recipe for this delicious combination of seasoned chicken, onions, and tomatoes.
Making a Simple Arpillera with Kids – A post on Multicultural Kid Blogs with a kid-friendly version of the traditional textile art from the Andes.
How to Make Your Own Peruvian Retablo – Peruvian retablos are a form of art typical of the Andes. This family project from Mommy Maestra uses mostly recycled materials.
Exploring Bolivia Through Art and Music – Mama Smiles shares artwork that depicts life in Bolivia as she experienced it living there as a child.
Exploring Geography: Bolivia in Childhood Art – Using figures she made while living in Bolivia when she was 12 and 13, Mama Smiles shares scenes of everyday life.
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