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Who are the People in Your Neighborhood...

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Cuzco, Ayacucho, Quispillaccta - cities in Peru
Do you know your neighbors? Maybe you play on a neighborhood soccer team or go trick or treating every year around your neighborhood, but can you imagine sharing a home with the people in your neighborhood? Living together, working together and growing food together? The community, Quispillaccta, where Kavitha and I will be staying for the next few weeks, has a communal house in Ayacucho where people do live and work together.

Quispillaccta is made up of twelve small traditional Andean villages. Families own their own land, called chacras, where they raise food. The community also owns land together and there they raise sheep, goats, llamas, and alpacas.

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With teamwork, you can turn a mountain into a molehill.
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Kavitha and I saw a group of men working with shovels and wheelbarrows. (Digging rocks looks like hard work!) They told us they were part of an Ayllus, and work together as an extended family. One day they help one cousin and the next week they'll go to another cousin's land to work. (Gosh, I wish they had been around then I was little to help me with my chores!) Sometimes an entire village will do a work exchange with another village, called a minka. A minka would be a much bigger project than digging rocks, like building a community building. Just like if you and your neighbors got together to help another neighborhood build a playground, then they all came to help dig your swimming pool.

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A strong sense of family is a part of life, here.
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Members of the community share knowledge of herbal medicine.
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These people don't just work together, they meet to share information and think of ideas for new projects. If they need to plant crops on a steep hill or to out which plants can be used as medicine, they help each other. I really admire these people. They are strong and healthy, friendly, and have a strong sense of family. When they tell me they want to come to the US where they can earn money, I point out all they would be losing - close family and community and one of the most beautiful countrysides I've ever seen. What do you think? Would you want to live in a close community where you shared worked and communal land with your neighbors?

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