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Yesterday I told you part of the story of Lucio Mandura, and here is the other part. (The bulk of this story was written by Maureen Goal, a volunteer with Heifer Peru.)

Lucio attended trainings from Heifer Peru, which, when combined with his diligent experimentation, a lot of his alpacas are already highly valued. He said, "Now my alpacas are the champions of any competition." One of his alpacas recently won the colored male category at the Ocongate District Alpaca Fair.

Some of Lucio's alpacas grazing in pastures.
Lucio uses a pasture rotation method with his livestock.

Lucio recalls a time when he only had a few alpacas, which were all from his father: all of poor genetic makeup and poor wool quality. He said, "Before, we had a very low socioeconomic status, and I could only afford shorts, not pants, and sandals made from discarded tires. But now we are better off and have better food.

In stark comparison to Lucio's practically nonexistent production of vegetables and fruits five years ago, through his organic experimentations, he is now also a champion vegetable and fruit grower. He grows an amazing array of produce, such as a variety of lettuces, peppers, carrots, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, celery, tomatoes, melon, strawberries and an assortment of herbs. He has been dabbling in growing pineapple.

Lucio grows lettuce and fruit, among other things, in his greenhouse.
He has begun building a second greenhouse on his farm.

One final example of Lucio's amazing drive are the biogas experimentations he has conducted over the past two years to improve cooking conditions in his home. He uses his animals' manure in a homemade solar model oven he was inspired by his friend (an engineer) to make. This economical method, which does not require purchasing gas or electricity, is more sustainable and a lot healthier for the family, since the kitchen is no longer filled with smoke.

Lucio demonstrating his workshop skills for us on his farm lookout point.

Now Lucio facilitates workshops on his property to, in a sense, Pass on the Gift of his knowledge gained through Heifer and his own experiments to his peers so that they, too, can live a better life. Through the support Heifer has provided Lucio, not only have his experiments literally blossomed, but so has his experience-sharing. In this manner, Lucio and his family have increased their own self-sufficiency and quality of life–they have also passed on these gifts to others. He said that he and his wife, both of whom did not complete their educations past third grade, are dedicating their new earnings to the education of their children so that "they will be able to have a better future," just as he hopes who attend his workshops will.

Lucio fixes a sprinkler head in one of his pastures


Brooke Edwards

Brooke Edwards is from Little Rock, Arkansas, and started working at Heifer International in 2009 as a writer. She and her husband raise two daughters in a house way too small for their four pets. They spend a lot of time sweeping.