The Many Faces of Peru: The Celestinos

I would never know how to eat boiled potato with clay sauce if it was not for them. Yes, I tasted boiled potato dipped in grayish clay sauce and it was actually quite good! Folks, meet The Celestinos. Pictured above is Senora Celestino with 4 of her 5 Children. The absent little boy was so into his pollo (Eng: Chicken) at that time. I got the chance to visit them whilst I was in Puno. I was just came back from visiting the Chulpa (ancient tomb) in Sillustani. On the way to the archaeological site, amidst the carpet-like fields, my friends and I saw a house made of stone and one of my friends asked if we could stop there on our way back to the city. I was so glad that we did make the stop as it was so lovely to see how this family of 7 in their daily life.

I got the chance to see what they do for a living, what they eat and how they survive living in a continuously modernized environment. The Father made a living by herding livestock and farming meanwhile The Mother took care of the children and made some crafts. The couple also worked together to produce a bigger craft like hand-woven tapestry, they worked hand-in-hand in doing that. They cook outdoor, in a traditional way, and their houses were built from stones. As I was there, the food was ready on the table. Our guide and driver were already munching those potatoes as soon as we arrived. Samuel, our guide said “Try this, they eat it with clay!” I only replied with “Well, Okay, why not!” Then I tried it. Well, the clay sauce was savory and a bit salty but, oh boy, you really can tell that you were eating clay! Lots and lots of water needed as you can actually still taste the dirt in that. But, it was such a fun experience. Being a geologist, I was thinking that it could really be a culinary option when I was out in the field. Really, Christine? LOL.

Photographing them was another thrill. I asked their permission to take their photos and they actually was very enthusiastic about it. The children were so adorable and open. I fell for the baby girl, Milagros. She was such a sweetheart and looking at her was so heart-warming. The older siblings were also so talkative. I was having a great time with them. As I waved home, I took this beautiful picture of The Couple and Milagros. The Celestinos is a living picture of a warm Peruvian family.

Gracias, la familia de Celestinos!
Gracias, la familia de Celestinos!

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