It has been easy to approach nearby communities during our field visits, when working in the farms, and then along the routes for collecting botanical samples. For these, we count on the most expert communities' members as guides. Every time we meet a specie they value and use in cooking, like medicine or have incorporated in some important activity or rite, they invite us to stop.

Jointly with Lidsay Brito, a biologist specialised in Botany, we made an herbarium with different plant samples found in the surroundings of MIL, based on what we observed in these botanical routes. About 250 plant varieties were identified.

We are interested in recording not only formal data about these varieties but also local histories and uses, which are part of what we think should be preserved. Keep in mind that, in the Andes, plants are a chance to spiritually connect with the earth and the forefathers, and to re-establish the balance that, for some situations, can be compromised (disease = loss of harmony).

Lidsay brito