October 9, 2013

Embracing nature and traditions

Living and studying in modern Lima, one can forget that huge portions of Peru are in agricultural production and that some traditions are as powerful as ever. So it was good to be reminded of both facts on a visit to the Instituto de Educación Superior Tecnológico Privado de Técnicas Agropecuarias in Lima’s southern agricultural district of Lurín.

The institute, more commonly know by its Spanish acronym INTAP (which translates as Integrating Technology for Agricultural Production), is dedicated to improving crop and livestock production. Students come to INTAP to learn how to raise guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens, donkeys, cows and other farm animals. Young school children take a break from city life to enjoy time in the country and to learn how their food is raised.

Goshen students enjoyed learning about composting, the breeding of donkeys and horses to produce mules and got a general introduction to Peru’s diversity of plant and animal life. They also learned about special food blends behind developed to speed the maturity of rabbits and guinea pigs and boost beef production.

Landon checks out a rabbit at the agricultural institute.

Landon checks out a rabbit at the agricultural institute.

The highlight of the visit was a riding demonstration by the famed caballo de paso (or Peruvian riding horse). The beautiful breed, which has been granted protection by the Peruvian government as a cultural treasure, uses a graceful and natural gait that allows it to travel long distances without tiring the horse or rider. The horse always has two, and sometimes three, feet on the ground, and the rider’s body has little up-and-down movement.

Riders demonstrate the famous caballo de paso (or Peruvian riding horse).

Riders demonstrate the famous caballo de paso (or Peruvian riding horse).

After the exhibition, students watched a spirited rendition of la marinera (the sailor), which originated centuries ago in coastal regions and is considered Peru’s national dance. While usually performed as a romantic couple’s dance re-enacting a courtship, students witnessed a version of la marinera that involved a female dancer interacting with a rider on a Peruvian paso horse.

Students later were given the opportunity to ride the horses, wander the grounds on a beautiful sunny afternoon and to visit the animal pens.

 

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