Digging Taters

Percy invited our family to go with them up the mountain to check on their potato field. They also wanted to have huatya, which is a traditional Quechua meal.

Both of our families fit into or onto our truck. We stopped at their village and picked up a niece and a nephew who hopped onto the back. Then we went slowly, slowly, slowly up the dirt road.

We ended up at an elevation around 12,500 feet. We dug a few potatoes, then Percy said we should climb up to the peak, which is nearly 13,000, while he made the oven for the huatya. The children, China, and I went; Steph wasn’t looking for an opportunity to climb a mountain.

The children went running up the mountain. China and I went more slowly. I got out of breath at times, but China really struggled. She hasn’t felt the elevation terribly, but this pushed her to the limit. We had to stop every little bit to rest, but we made it. And we thought it was worth the climb.

We spent a little while at the top, but the children were bored by the time we arrived, so they were all ready to head back down.

Back again, we helped dig a few rows of potatoes. Then Percy and Lucrecia put together the huatya. Percy had stacked a dome of rocks for an oven. They built a fire to heat the rocks so that they would be hot enough to cook potatoes.

Percy broke the top of the oven in and then they filled it with potatoes and some trays of pork that were covered with feed sacks. Then they quickly covered everything with pampa grass and that with dirt.

And then we waited forty-five minutes. It was only two o’clock, so they weren’t too late for lunch. We came prepared. Steph brought coffee and no-bake chocolate cookies to keep us alive until lunch.

While we waited, I read a story to all the children from Proverbs With the Millers. Lucrecia had each child repeat something they had learned afterward.

The potatoes were very soft, and the pork was delicious. We were famished by then, so it was especially appreciated.

We cleaned everything up and headed home, arriving just before dark. Everyone was shot, so we went to bed early. Well, the others did. I had two phone calls and some email to catch up on.

Loading up at Percy’s house
Lucrecia carrying Walter around
Digging potatoes
We climbed way up there.
When you just can’t climb any longer, you sit.
Our house can be seen somewhere in the distance about in the center of this picture.
Percy’s oven
Filling the oven with potatoes
Covering it with grass and dirt
Removing the food
Steph doing her best not to think about how nothing was washed.
Juanito had the most fun of anyone.