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Yesterday we had the pleasure of meeting Lucio Mandura. His mother was an original recipient in a Heifer project that is now closed. At the time, Lucio was too young to be a direct beneficiary. Eventually and with help from his mother, however, Lucio began building his own alpaca herd, attending trainings from Heifer on topics such as genetic improvement of alpacas, and diversifying what he raises on his farm. I'm going to let the pictures do the talking for the most part, and I'll fill more in as there's more time (the day began with a shower at 5, breakfast 5:30, into trucks at 6, three+ hour drive, 15-minute horseback ride, walking, another 3 hour drive, rest for 30 minutes, then off to dinner).

Lucio's female alpacas.

Lucio shows us a lower-quality alpaca. It has a large nose and three
different colors of wool, which is undesirable.

These are the corrals, which Lucio uses to check the health of the animals
and to provide a separate breeding area. Alpacas breed in January and February.
To have maximum control over the genetic characteristics of his alpacas, he breeds them like-with-like.

This dark brown Alpaca (being petted by Pierre Ferrari) is an award-winning alpaca.
Lucio competes with his alpacas and has won 150 awards. Prizes accompanying the
awards can include tools, irrigation materials and veterinary products.

This may look like trash, but Lucio had several of these miniature greenhouses
over tiny tree saplings around his property.

From this lookout point, Lucio is able to see all of his farm from above.
He also hosts learning exchanges with other farmers.
He wants his neighbors to be as successful as he is.

A view from the lookout point. You can see how his land is divided up,
and there is a greenhouse as well. Lucio moved thousands of rocks from
being randomly scattered to orderly pastures.

Lucio is growing tree seedlings in a makeshift greenhouse.
They will be ready to put on the hill facing his farm soon.

Lucio raises guinea pigs for his family's consumption. They eat guine pig about once a week.

In his greenhouse, Lucio grows berries and other fruits, greens and vegetables.

Lucio takes advantage of the stream running through his property.
He placed dividers at intervals along the stream to allow him to raise fish
in a natural setting. His family eats fish at least once a week.

A veiw from the fish environment is the rocky, treeless hill Lucio intends to plant with trees.


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.