Until the Agrarian Reform of the 1970s, which dismantled the haciendas and expropriated the land, Peruvian tea was celebrated. In the Inca region, everyone knew the name Huyro. Today, nobody has heard of it, and for good reason: the expertise has been lost. Fortunately, a handful of farmers are working hard to improve the quality of the tea and regain its past glory.
ARCHIVE FOR January 2023
Beyond the Andes
To reach Peru’s tea plantations, which are located in the Amazonian region of the country, you must cross the Andes. From Cuzco, you head to Machu Picchu before setting out from the famous site to complete the journey across the mountains, one after another. Beyond this rugged horizon lies the Amazon plains, and the tea fields. What future delights might we find there?
Carlota and her beloved jungle
In Colombia, tea grows in the Andes; more specifically, in the region of Cali, the capital of salsa. But there is more to this area of the Cauca Valley, south-east of the capital Bogotá, than dancing. Once known for its sugar cane, the district’s most famous crops now include coffee and cocoa. And surely tea too, one day, which creates beautiful landscapes here. Carlota, who oversees the region’s only plantation, has a principle: the plots cover a maximum of five hectares and are surrounded by the jungle, in order to protect the biodiversity that is so important to her. Carlota’s whole life revolves around her love of nature and her love of the jungle where she has chosen to live. She is devoted to her tea crops because they allow a whole community to live in these mountains and help preserve this unique, fragile and incredibly rich environment. It is a truly special place.
To be human
In Nepal, it is not the year 2023 but 2078, until April. Just a few days before the New Year, I was lucky enough to watch the sacred dances at Shechen monastery. Behind the scenes, the monks get ready. They each put on their costume. The boy plays the role of the jester. He and his companions will entertain the spectators and play tricks on them between dances. These atsaras remind us of our human condition. To be human: that is all I wish for us at the start of this new year.