Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Peru

Terraces in the Andes
Summer 2013

Chicha in the landscape

Terraced hillsides in the Andes are amongst the most beautiful examples of what archaeologists refer to as “domesticating the landscape.” Generally constructed during the Incan Empire, the terraces, many of which are still farmed, are framed by often-elaborate stonework. Perhaps too elaborate for its assumed use, says archaeologist Melissa Goodman-Elgar.

Using techniques such as microscopic soil analysis and geochemistry, Goodman-Elgar explores how humans have transformed natural landscapes and the cultural implications. Much of her work is focused in the Andean highlands of Peru and Bolivia.

In the case of the terraced hillsides, however, she started from her perception as an archaeological soil scientist and explored … » More …

Yessenia Picha with an alpaca at WSU
Fall 2012

Yessenia Picha ’12—Of alpacas and affection

Yessenia Picha ’12 comes from a family of alpaqueros, or alpaca ranchers. She grew up around the curious, long-lashed creatures raised mostly for the fiber made from their soft, durable fleeces. With 80 percent of the world’s alpaca population residing in Peru, it’s no surprise that after completing her veterinary degree at the Catholic University of Santa Maria, she worked for an agricultural social services agency in the area of genetic improvement of the animal.

While the work was rewarding, “I felt there were important gaps in my knowledge,” says Picha. She knew she could obtain more rigorous veterinary training in the United States. Also, … » More …

Winter 2005

Peru: In the middle of the jungle with no Walgreens

In summer 2004 my husband, Stuart, and I made our first trip to Peru. We traveled with a charitable organization that hoped to build an orphanage and medical clinic there. Having completed my second semester of nursing studies at the Washington State University Intercollegiate College of Nursing, I was the most medical-savvy person on the trip. But that didn’t stop us from doing a lot of good work. We set up clinics in Iquitos, a port city of about 400,000 residents near the headwaters of the Amazon River, and worked farther downriver in less populated areas with the Yahua and Bora Indian tribes. We were … » More …