Tag Archives: Cusco

Veranopi, Peruman Risaqpuni Qhelqasaq Thesisniyta

Posted by Claretta Mills – MA Candidate at NYU CLACS

For most of the past Spring semester, I had been repeating this one particular line, especially in my Quechua class examples; “Veranopi, Peruman risaqpuni qhelqasaq thesisniyta.” This translates to, “In the summer, I am going to Peru to write my thesis.” 

Sure enough, a couple of months after consistently writing (and somewhat manifesting my destiny), I ended up in Peru during the end of June to observe performances leading up to Inti Raymi which to my surprise, included Corpus Christi processions. Additionally, I was delightfully surprised by the daily processions by local organizations, groups, and universities as they celebrated Cusco Month. 

I discovered the processions on my second-day in-country when I decided to go to San Pedro Mercado with my host.

Mercado Central de San Pedro
Mercado Central de San Pedro

Vibrantly colored produce.

The mercado was boastful of vibrant and bold colors all around with the fresh produce and meat sold by vendors encouraging you to ask them any questions you may have. After browsing the mercado, I decided to take a stroll down to Plaza de Armas which was a brisk walk that lasted less than 10 minutes. 

To my surprise, there had been a bandstand setup with seating and a bunch of onlookers and vendors watching various groups perform a variety of typical dances from different pueblos in Cusco. It was quite interesting observing both the differences and commonalities amongst the different dances while trying out some local treats from the vendors selling their treats to spectators.


During the entire duration of my trip, I couldn’t stop thinking about how fascinated I was with the immense variety of corn Peru had to offer and the different ways in which they were prepared. More specifically, I really wanted to try the huge puffed corn I saw numerous vendors carrying.

Puffed Corn Snack

I really appreciated the lessons from Professor Odi Gonzales as I was honestly able to pick up and catch on to a few sentences said in Quechua by the announcer of the festival. I ended up sitting next to an elderly man who spoke Quechua and Spanish and engaged in conversation with him as we watched the performances together. We ended up sharing the puffed corn together as we watched on.

One thing that definitely took me by surprise was how frigidly cold Cusco was, especially in the night time. During the daytime, I roamed the city in either a light parka coat or a compact bubble jacket with a sweater underneath. Now for the night time, that’s when I was really able to feel the chill, I went to bed in special socks designed for cold weather, a sweater, undergarments, and five different layers of covers. Long story short, Cusco was cold! 


Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas

Vicente Llimpinmanta Niwashanku

Rimasun - Vicente QosqopiMaskaspa arteta Cuscopi, estudiantekuna NYUmanta Charlie Uruchima, Emily Thompson, ima, reqsinakuranku runasimita rimaq Vicente Huamán Pumahuallccanwan llank’aspa galerianpi. Kay audiopi, Vicente niwashanku sumaqmi llimpinmanta barrio San Blasneqpi.

Vicente - QosqoBuscando arte en Cusco, estudiantes de NYU Charlie Uruchima y Emily Thompson conocieron al Quechua hablante y artista Vicente Huamán Pumahuallccan trabajando en su estudio de arte. En este audio, Vicente habla con nosotros sobre sus bellas pinturas desde el barrio de San Blas.

Vicente - PinturaLooking for art in Cusco, NYU students Charlie Uruchima and Emily Thompson met Quechua speaker and artist Vicente Huamán Pumahuallccan working in his gallery. In this podcast, Vicente talks to us about his beautiful paintings in the neighborhood of San Blas.

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Emilio, Mario, Américo, ima Harawitamanta Rimanku

Emilio, Charlie, Emily Rimashanku CuscopiRunasimita yachaspa kay veranopi Cuscopi, estudiantekuna NYUmanta Emily Thompson, Charlie Uruchima, ima reqsinakuranku huk poetawan. Paypa sutin Emilio Carbajal. Kay audiopi kinsantin tinkunku iskay estudiantewan cafepi. Paykunaq sutinku Mario Antonio Cossío Olavide, Américo Mendoza-Mori, ima. Rimashanku kawsankumanta, runasimimanta, hawaritamanta ima.

Mario, Emily, Emilio, Charlie, Américo, ima WaqaypatapiEstudiando Quechua este verano en Cusco, los estudiantes de NYU Emily Thompson y Charlie Uruchima se encontraron con un nativo Quechua hablante y poeta, Emilio Carbajal. En este Podcast, se reúnen en un café con dos estudiantes más de Quechua, Mario Antonio Cossío Olavide y Américo Mendoza Mori para hablar con Emilio sobre la vida Peruana, practicar el Quechua, y escuchar la poesía de Emilio.

Emilio CuscopiWhile studying Quechua this summer in Cusco, NYU students Emily Thompson and Charlie Uruchima met native speaker and Quechua poet Emilio Carbajal. In this podcast they get together in a café with two other Quechua students, Mario Antonio Cossío Olavide and Américo Mendoza Mori.  There, they  talk about life in Peru, practice Quechua,  learn about and listen to some of Emilio’s poetry.

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4th of July in Cusco, Peru

A View of Cusco

Since it’s America Day, I thought I would write a blog post about privilege. While I ate Doritos, deviled eggs, ice cream, macaroni and cheese and hot dogs today, I thought about some of the experiences I’ve had here that have made me both terrified and very appreciative. Here is one story:

Our volunteers have been in community for a few weeks now and, since then, I’ve spent a lot of time at the hospital. So far, we’ve seen one orthopedic injury that required surgery, one case of salmonella, a handful of gastrointestinal infections, the case of Giardia that I suspect I am currently suffering and, a few nights ago, a miscarriage.

Now, when our volunteers get sick we call our regular doctor, he makes a home visit and we pay him $25. When someone requires extensive treatment, we go to the fancy private clinic here in Cusco. When one of our volunteers broke her foot, she stayed in a suite, nurses changed her sheets every morning, staff slept on the couch under a heavy wool blanket and we all watched cable television for a few days. It was boring, but not terrible. Doctors let us ask questions, we got lists of the medications. I was allowed to watch the surgery and even got to keep a pair of scrubs. It was not a bad place, relatively speaking, to spend a few days. And the grand total? For two patients, seven nights in the hospital, one surgery and a pharmacy’s worth of medication, we only paid $1,024. To me, this seems like a pretty good deal. I could come to Cusco for all of my medical needs. This is pretty cheap, considering. This, however, is way more than the average Peruvian can afford. As I’ve mentioned before, life in the communities surrounding Cusco is hand-to-mouth. There is no real disposable income. So when most Peruvians get sick, they don’t get taken care of at the private clinic. So where do they go? The regional hospital, which is where one of our Peruvian colleagues had to go when she had a miscarriage the other night. Continue reading

Community Development in Cusco, Peru


Volunteers Prepare to Leave for Host Communities

June 16, 2012. Bienvenidos from chilly Cusco! I’m writing from Casa Campesina, a lovely hostel in Cusco where 42 of our volunteers and many of their community members and a handful of students from the local university are training for their summer projects. Project Staff has spent the past few weeks preparing to place our volunteers in homestay families in rural communities in the regions of Ccorca, Lamay, Combapata and Paruro. The volunteers leave tomorrow and then the real work begins – helping them and their adopted families benefit somehow from the next two months.

Throughout training, we’ve pushed the volunteers to think critically about their role in their new communities. Are they here to help? Or to support? Are they here to teach? Or are they here to learn? Each community is budgeted approximately $400 which they can use to carry out a Community Based Initiative – a small project designed by the community. In the past, communities have used this money to paint a mural, to build a community stove or to construct a bus stop. Many communities, in my experience, see this money as a gift – our volunteers live with them, eat with them and learn from (them all for free) for two months and in return the community gets a project of their choosing. Some volunteers, again in my experience, see the Community Based Initiative as their responsibility – they feel that if they don’t give their community something cool then they have failed. This is not true and neither of these things is our goal in AMIGOS.

Continue reading