Ayni shucking corn in Saccllo
As with every community in the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has reached us here in the Sacred Valley. The Peruvian government has mandated a strict quarantine, curfew, and regional travel ban. We at the Andean Alliance have pivoted to the best of our abilities and continue working every day to plan and support the Andean communities in whatever way we can.
An unexpected impact of the quarantine has been a "reverse migration" from the cities to the communities. People who had left the communities in search of improved economic opportunities are gradually returning home, often on foot, to pass the quarantine in the relative security of these isolated agricultural communities. With more people to help on the farms, some farmers are cultivating land that they haven't used in years.
We have also seen a noticable increase in the "Ayni" culture that has been gradually diminishing for more than a decade. Ayni is an ancient practice involving a community-wide exchange of manual labor, especially during the maize harvest. While we can't visit the communities as we used to, we have been fortunate enough to participate in some of the maize harvest alongside our Ecohuella partners. Check out some of the photos from the Ayni's and the last few months!
Maize drying, later to be processed and de-grained