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We had a really good time on our first day in the field in the Andean Highlands of Peru.


I'm sure there are more precarious bridges, but this one holds the record for me.

To get to Lucio's farm, we drove up to a very tiny tourist town.
On our way in, we passed a group of tourists who were on their way back
from the tallest of the mountains in the region.

Our trucks could only take us so far.
Because they didn't want us to be exhausted from walking (serious altitude, folks),
we got to ride on horseback for about 15 minutes. This was a real treat.
That's Heifer CFO Bob Bloom mounting his steed, by the way.

My horse was, um, a bit uncooperative. Of course, it was most likely operator error.
Either way, I  guess this kind woman decided I'd be better off if she guided my horse the whole way.

Heifer VP for the Americas Program Oscar Casteneda decided that,
since alpacas with thick, curly coats were the most prized,
I should have the honor of wearing one of Lucio's prize ribbons.
That's Mrs. American Alpaca to you. 

After we visited Lucio's farm, we walked (downhill all the way, so no horses) back to the trucks
 and drove a bit to the local school, where project participants were waiting to shower
 us with confetti and ribbons. And kisses in the ear. Very interesting, I must say.

More confetti! You should see my hotel room floor. My hair is like velcro, so I'm still finding some of it on me. I'm going to have to leave a hefty tip for the maid who will have the misfortune of cleaning up my mess.

You can't really see the confetti (it's all hiding in my hair),
but here I am all decked out with paper ribbon.

We had alpaca and potatoes in a delicious sauce for lunch.
And on the prettiest clay bowls ever.

This is yarn made from alpaca wool (project alpaca) and dyed with all-natural colors.
You can bet I bought two skeins for this winter's knitting.

There were women selling all kinds of handicrafts. In addition to the yarn, I bought a couple of things for my family back home. The woman in the middle is showing how she weaves.

Author

Brooke Edwards

Brooke Edwards is from Little Rock, Arkansas, and started working at Heifer International in 2009 as a writer. She has a master's in social work and a bachelor's degree in psychology. She is married, a mother of two, and a wannabe urban farmer, raising her own chickens and killing most of her vegetable crops.