A Travellerspoint blog

The Quinoa Craze

The INCAS called it the "Mother Grain"


Quinoa harvesting in Peru and Bolivia

Have you tried Quinoa yet?

Before living in South America I had never heard of quinoa. But over the years I've learned to love it! If you are used to consuming organics then you may be familiar with it. But in recent years, quinoa’s worldwide popularity has increased tremendously, that's because of its nutritional properties, quality taste, and beneficial health properties. According to the UN, 2013 was said to be the international year of Quinoa!

But, If you haven't seen it... the recipes online, and Pinterest and such, are encouraging the quinoa craze and inviting all to love it. Since I'm here in quinoa's motherland, I thought I'd post a little about it uses here.

South America's Superfood

What is Keen-Wah?!

The seeds of this goosefoot plant you see below are known as quinoa.
These are some pictures of quinoa I saw while I was in service.

Although quinoa resembles a grain it isn't. It belongs to the family of greens such as spinach or chard. It resembles cous cous and is as versatile as rice. Quinoa is native to South America(Peru and Bolivia), where locals have cultivated it for thousands of years. It has been known as a staple food in the Andes region because it was just one of the few crops that the ancient Incas could cultivate at such high altitude.

Did you know???

Virtually every quinoa seed eaten in the United States is imported from South America. Specifically, from Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Chile. In past years, almost no farmers outside of these countries grew it! But of course, plant breeders and scientists who study the biology and economics of quinoa were determined to change that. It's already being grown in parts of the U.S. Areas of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, Nevada and Canada. Quinoa cultivation has even crossed continental boundaries to reach France, England, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Italy! You can find Quinoa at stores like Costo, Trader Joes, Wholefoods, and Target. It is sold as flakes, flour, pasta, and can even be brewed into beer. You may see it in a variety of colors such as red, white, or black.

Quinoa contains every amino acid, that's right all 9!, and is particularly rich in lysine, which promotes healthy tissue growth, and helps the body absorb calicium. Quinoa is also a good source of iron, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, and fiber. It's also gluten-free, so people with celiac disease can eat it up!

Well, in this unjust world there are oftentimes disadvantages to the advantages. The appetite of countries, such as the US, for quinoa has pushed prices up to the extent that the very ones who have spent years cultivating this seed as a nourishing staple for their families, can no longer afford to eat it. Here in Moquegua quinoa it is currently 18-20 soles per kilo. (6.50-7.20 dollars per 2.2 pounds). Some of the sisters from my congregation comment that last year it was 7 soles a kilo, and about 5 years ago 4! Hmm.. North and South exchange. Unfortunately, now its cheaper to buy chicken or just plain white rice than quinoa. This is just another example of how the focus on exporting premium foods can damage the producer country's food security. But it's true that at the same time other families are probably benefiting from the exporting as well. Who knows? But how interesting it will be, if Jehovah permits, to live in a world without these issues. And to get to know other types of crops and plants that we have never known from other parts of the world and to enjoy them in their perfect state without the manipulation of seed breeders and scientists.

How we eat quinoa in Peru

White quinoa

Quinoa beer sold in Ayacucho Here in Peru a lot of times its written with a 'U' (QuinUa)

This is a sweet snack of quinoa rolled in a ball and stuck together with honey.

Veggie stir-fry with quinoa

Quinoa for breakfast. This was boiled together with apple and has some added sugar.

Ingredients for my quinoa patties.

Pure de quinua. Cooked with butter, cheese, and milk.

So what do you think?

I'm curios to know how long you've been eating quinoa, if you buy it regularly, and how much it costs where you are.
Take care family and friends!

Posted by TenekaCJ 04.07.2014 10:49 Archived in Peru Tagged quinoa moquegua Comments (6)

Mom's Visit

Marvelous, Jovial, Happy! Maravillosa, jovial, alegre!

sunny 70 °F

"Her happiness infected us!" "With you it's like a party"

Those are some of the words that the friends used to describe my Mom and her visit. Two weeks went by so quick! But, the brothers enjoyed so much getting to know my mom. Everyone was eager to have us over, and hear her sing! LOL. We made sure my mom got to know what it's like to preach and walk through the valley of Moquegua. We briefly visited Tacna, went through Arequipa to Colca Canyon, and visited Ilo for the day. Here are some of our favorite shots!

Monica and I with my new NWT. Thanks mom!
While walking through the market in Tacna, we ran into two sisters from Tacna who were engaging in the public witnessing there. They are both from Texas. My mom was happy to be able to chat with them in English! They did everything to encourage her to stay!
Trying Tuna fruit for the first time. Hahahaha! "I don't think you're supposed to eat the seeds!" hahaha!



COLCA CANYON is Peru's third most-visited tourist destination. It is known for being more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in Arizona, US, with a depth of 13,650 ft (4,160 m) Scenic beauty! We planned a trip complete with transportation, tour guide, and hostal stay. We ended up riding in a van with a woman from Quebec Canada, who had been all over the world, some backpackers from the Netherlands, some jovenes from Trinidad and Tobago, and our friend Kota from Japan.
We took about a 3 1/2 hour trip through altitudes gradually reaching up to 6,000 meters (20,000 + ft.) That's about the altitude of some of the highest summits in Alaska or Yukon, Canada. The heights can be a little uncomfortable if you're not accustomed to it, and the cold tundra air gets a little chilly, but it was nice to see so many wild vicuñas and llamas in their natural habitat.
Volcano Misti 19,000 ft above sea level. It had it's last eruption in 1985. large_IMG_1009.jpgIMG_1015.jpgIMG_1028.jpglarge_IMG_1087.jpg
Along the way we stopped to take photos and see the many displays of the local craftmanship. One man had a domesticated eagle, that he brings out so the tourists can take pictures with it for a small tip. The bird was really heavy, and although it was passive the thought of it taking out an eye, passed through the mind of everyone.

Chivay is a friendly town at the entrance of the canyon.
Here are some pictures of our hostal. It was clean and comfy. While in the US, a good hotel is one with a pool, jacuzzi and restaurant. Here, your main concerns change to hot water, and a private bathroom. Ha, ha. Thankfully our Hostal had them both! We took some time to see the city of Chivay, and buy some keepsakes, including our llanquis! Very popular sandals worn all around that are made of tires.

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The first night in Chivay our trip included a visit to a touristy pizzeria. They put on a show with music, singing, and dancing typical of Chivay. This night we all tried alpaca. I had eaten it before fried, so pan seared was quite a difference. My mom's face (below) will let you know what we thought about the taste. We should've went for the pizza! But two thumbs up for trying it!!!

The mighty Andean Condor, can usually be spotted at "Cruz del Condor." Therefore, en route, our tour guide spoke in his broken English about condors the entire morning. Our hopes were high in seeing one or two. Once we arrived, we only saw one from afaaaar. How are we supposed to know it was really a condor? It couldve been an eagle. Well, maybe some other time. But all the same, the views were great and it ended up being a beautiful day.
Me with a baby llama. Little girl from Chivay, Arequipa in the typical dress of the town.

The Port of Ilo

We arrived in Ilo to have lunch with friends Audrey and Mariella. It's always refreshing to see the coast. We ate the typical ceviche, and then went for a ride around the port in a little motor boat. We saw the sea lions that make there home right on the coast. It was a perfect day to sit in the park and eat ice cream. So that's what we did. There are a lot of good experiences happening in Ilo! There are many people just looking for a bible study. It was encouraging to see Mari and Audrey busy in service to Jehovah.

Working in the feria " La Chakra a La Olla"

Aceituna! Aceituna! Choclo verde! Choclo verde! Saturday morning in the market. I'm sure my mom won't easily forget the shouts of the venders in a rush to sell their fresh product. Haha. My mom never came to like aceituna. But, I think she did enjoy seeing the movement of the feria. It's the perfect place to people watch, and get a good idea of how things are run here in Moquegua.


Fortunately, during her visit Moquegua seemed to have a permanent overcast, which isn't common. It for sure made early walking and morning service more refreshing. Here are some pics from service and the brothers from the San Antonio Congregation.
large_IMAG1454.jpgIMAG1855.jpgIMAG1489.jpgIMAG1841.jpgIMAG2081.jpgIMAG1902.jpgIMAG1897.jpgIMAG1883.jpg Here's my mom with my bible student Ana Paola.

Here are some of the foods that the friends prepared, and some of the ones that showed their warm hospitality.

We love you Lynnett!

The friends organized a going away gathering for my mom. They enjoyed learning the "typical dance from Detroit" the hustle. But we had a little dance of our own planned. Valicha! We practiced choreography for a few weeks, and rented typical costumes for the presentation. It turned out really well! The brothers made many loving expressions to my mom, appreciating the example she sets as another busy servant of Jehovah. Now, everyone is asking when is she coming back. You're welcome, you will never go without food or house here in Moquegua.


Posted by TenekaCJ 13:16 Archived in Peru Comments (2)

Warm Winter

Pioneer Meeting, and Camping on the Beach

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A few weeks back we had our annual pioneer meeting. It was nice the way we joined together with the San Francisco congregation as well. The theme helped us all to understand ways we can "Imitate Those Taking the Lead Among Us, the Faithful and Discreet Slave". It was stated that they need our support especially when there are changes, or modifications in our teaching methods. They really encouraged all pioneers to use the provided resources, specially focusing on our new website jw.org! They reminded us how we are told in Isaiah 60:16 to "drink the milk of the nations" and encouraged all to use technology, or the Internet! It seems, that most in the United States don't have much of an issue in this regard, as records show that more then 81% of the country are avid users. But here in Peru that percentage is only 38% of the population. I hear many of the brothers opinion-ate that the Internet is just for young ones. But our brother even said in the end jokingly, "Work hard to buy your tablet, to show your studies these videos!" Everyone laughed, but what a great reminder to keep in step with the slave. JW.ORG is a new tool that we should learn to use well!
After the meeting, the brothers served us all pieces of cake, and Coca and Inca Kola. Also, the elders from each congregation put together an agenda for the year for each pioneer. Here we are with our little gift bags. After leaving the hall, they invited everyone to a chicken dinner.. Pollo a la brasa!

Pioneers in San Antonio

Camping in Ilo

Every year the congregation plans a beach trip to Ilo in December. This year about 40 of us went. We filled up 3 combi vans. I wasn't sure how it was going to go, it was my first time camping off the Pacific Ocean. And, well here in Peru, you can never be too sure about anything, it's always an adventure. So the adventure began! Well, once the combi finally started we were off. It's interesting going to the Ilo, because the whole ride there you are surrounded by dry desert. It seems that there is no water in sight for days! I guess it's not surprising since this beach is sitting just north of the Atacama desert (Chile), which is one of the driest coastal deserts in the world.
Anyway, about 60 miles later we arrived in the evening to Ilo's main pier. We took some time to snap pics, and observe the sea lions in the water. Some of the brothers ate ice cream, and papa rebosada. Once we got to the beach it was nighttime. Pitch black. Time to set up camp! It was difficult not to think about the camp of Israel who were securely guided by Jehovah's pillar of fire. We, on the other hand, relied on a pair of distant headlights to set everything up! Monica and I weren't able to get our hands on a tent in time, so thankfully we were able to borrow one to shield ourselves from the wind, and wandering crabs. I had never seen so many live crabs on the beach! The small ones, appeared to be large spiders running around in the dark. Aah! But besides that sleeping on the beach is the most peaceful! We made a small fire, and everyone shared, bread rolls and hot tea. The whole night through the young and older played volleyball. So sleeping was disturbed by faint sounds of running and laughter.


In the morning the fire was started again, to boil water and make sopaipilla. This is a fried pastry something like what you can find in southwest US, Texas or New Mexico. Also, you can find it in some Mexican restaurants probably topped with lettuce and tomato. It's a fried quick bread traditionally made with flour water and a little salt. Here in Peru it's mostly served on the streets in the morning as breakfast.

Ilo kicks up some pretty nice waves so the refrigerator chilled water was refreshing after our long run. As of yet, no beach beats the mountain and palm tree decorated beach in Culebra, PR. Buut... Ilo has great chicharron de pescado, and lots of sun!
For the sake of my Canon, I have no pictures of the action but; Marianella, Monica, and I spent some time catching crabs which was pretty fun. You just need a good grip, a stick and a bucket! Crab soup! Hope you enjoy the pictures! Chau!

Posted by TenekaCJ 17:29 Comments (6)

So Far...

Events of October and November

sunny 70 °F

First photos

With friend Pilar when I first arrived in Lima

The Main Street in San Antonio

First day back in the territory with Monica.

On the way to welcome back gathering.

Back to cooking everyday! I missed it. Pasta verde and also a white lima bean salad with a side of sweet potato.
I've read that, one of lima beans' proposed places of origin, the place where the early European explorers were thought to have first discovered them, is actually reflected in its name "Lima," the capital of Peru. Who knows?.. But these fresh beans are good and a protein and fiber all star!

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On our free day Monday we went up to Los Angeles to a cuyeria (Restaurant we're cuy is the specialty).
In Los Angeles you'll find alfalfa fields, cows and horses and the like.

Some brothers from the mid week service group.

It was hard to say goodbye to all of you friends and family! It was a fun 6 months! Returning to the States, always makes me appreciate what I have, and then value even more a simple life. I arrived quickly to Moquegua this time.. Well in all about 12 hrs of travel. Detroit to Atlanta, by plane. Atlanta to Lima, by plane. I stayed one night in Lima with friends. And the next day I went from Lima to Arequipa, by plane. Then Arequipa to Moquegua, by van. Moquegua to San Antonio, by taxi. Finally arriving at the house, I was welcomed by a worried, but now relieved Monica. It was hard to keep in contact throughout the trip; and I can't blame her, there's always reason to worry with travel here. And being a foreigner you always need to take extra precaution. Not to mention the horrible driving habits!

But it has been very refreshing to get back into my routine here in Moquegua. It's been good to go in service with new publishers, and see the continued growth of the congregation. Our CO visit with Milton and Patty Guevara was upbuilding as always. I loved his talk based on 1 John 3:19,20 that says, Jehovah is "greater than our hearts, and knows all things." Jehovah isn't critical the way we sometimes are with ourselves. He doesn't only see what we do, and what we don't do. But when he examines us he takes everything into account like our genetic makeup, upbringing, and past experiences. Way greater than our hearts! This made me feel closer to Jehovah. What a privilege to keep in step with Jehovah's organization on the move. I was just as thrilled as everyone, to hear the news from the annual meeting, about the new revision of our precious Bible! I was happy to hear that my family was all there. I need pictures of that occasion, by the way!

Oh, back to Moquegua. .. During lunch with Br. Guevara and his wife, Monica and I expressed our interest in changing territories! There are so many congregations that have a need for publishers! So there is a list showing congregations that need more publishers, and also unassigned territories. The list is accompanied with a form that you fill out stating, the capacity in which you are serving, who you would like your partner to be, and the city/cities you are interested in visiting. Once you decide on a department and territory you would like support, you send this form to the branch through your service committee. The branch then, contacts the congregation, and reports back to you with an official assignment! You can visit the congregation for a minimum of 1 month up to 3 months. This is done so that you can offer support, temporarily or maybe permanently, if after the allotted time you have an interest in returning. We were happy to hear the circuit overseer, encourage us in our goal and say that a change will be nice. So now we are looking north. We would love for Jehovah to choose! We're not sure when this will all take place, but I'll keep you updated of course, as to were we are.
1D89DE422219AC6817166BFE549F6E3B.jpg Milton and Patty Guevara

Looking north... 1D7CA5A22219AC6817332AC38C056689.jpg

Pioneer Meeting during CO visit
Jimmy and Isabella Gonzalez

At the start of November I began putting to use my skills of teaching English as a Foreign Language. Well, really I'm just developing skills in TEFL. But I like it a lot. I was a great blessing from Jehovah to receive work in this area. Thanks to Jehovah this fits right in with my full time job of preaching the good news. I'm able to put to use teaching skills in my secular work with teaching skills that are being constantly refined in the ministry.

It was so easy this month to start conversations with the Kingdom News #38! That is always such a concern here in this zone, "What happens to us when we die?", so the tracts have been flying out of our hands. We have a pretty large territory, so we didn't run into the need to help other congregations.

Early in the day, week, month, year

Monica and I are starting our day every morning just a little bit earlier to be able to reach more people in the mornings. After the daily text, breakfast, and our carrot extract, we are out the door before/by 6am. This way we can catch many people on their way to work and school before we meet the group at 7:45am. We usually go to the combi stop that's on the way or nearest to our point of meeting that day. We are happy to be able to place lots of magazines, read scriptures, and catch many heads of the household.

This past weekend was our pioneer meeting, and circuit assembly. While I was in Michigan, our brothers here were busy with the construction of Moquegua's very first model Kingdom Hall. You'll remember that there is one in San Antonio, but this is the first in the center of the city. The brothers in 3 congregations are now very happy to have a nice, new, spacious Kingdom Hall to worship Jehovah in. In the past, they were meeting in a makeshift KH, which was a long narrow space of a home. But now...


We were encouraged during the pioneer meeting to keep cooperating with the organization. It was nice to be together with Moquegua's 80+ pioneers, and see that some new faces have joined the ranks!


Here's some shots from the circuit assembly " Gods Word is Beneficial for Teaching."
These are friends Jose and Andreya from Montreal, Canada. They are supporting a congregation in the nearby Tacna.

Goodbye to Jimmy and Isabella! They have moved to a different department in Peru called Ancash! They are now serving a large congregation in the fishy city of Chimbote.

Hope everyone is well! This is all for now.. More updates soon!

Posted by TenekaCJ 07:50 Archived in Peru Comments (4)

For 39 Cents!

Just a few things you can buy under the sun in Moquegua for 1 sol

The Sun. The ancient Incas worshiped the sun as their God and Provider; but, what a joy to help their ancestors learn the truth about Jehovah our Creator! Therefore, the Peruvian Nuevo Sol, or “New Sun”, is the money used here in Peru ever since the 1980's. Information says that it is South America’s most stable and reliable currency… Well, we know nothing is stable in this old world.. But, for now, it permits us to buy the things we need… Here are some things you can buy with only 1 sol or 39 cents of a dollar!

2 newspapers, with both local and country wide news

A bag of 6 of these fresh rolls, that we call “Pan Torata”. If you wake up early enough they will still be warm when you buy them.

10 boxes of matches. (oops we’ve already used the other 5)

A bottle of Clorox Bleach of 572 grams.

2 bags of Monica’s choice, Tor-tees. They are made by the Frito Lay company, and are pretty much the same as spicy Fritos.

10 key limes.

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2 of these bundles of fresh herbs like basil, mint, parsley, cilantro, and oregano.

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1 kilo(2.2lbs.) of watermelon.. sliced up and put in a bag.

One hour at any of these computers with internet.

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4 Picarrones! On a few street corners in Moquegua you can find Picarrones. There are like funnel cake rings served with honey, or sweet syrup.

A box of 25 tea bags of any flavor.

For 1 sol a boy will carry all of your groceries, bags, buckets, boxes, crates, plants, and such to the outside of the market where you wait for a taxi.

A kitten. This is Heidi a girl from the congregation. She sells juice and yogurt at the market where we work. But this day she was selling her kitten for 1 sol!

2 of these artificially flavored juice boxes.

Cheap earrings. Ha, ha creo que la palabra 'cheap' is de mas.

A bag of homemade fruit juice from the street. This is from Maracuya aka Passion Fruit.

A handful of Rocoto. Monica and I use this spicy pepper every day as a dressing to our food. It must be the cousin of the habanero. Rico!

A round trip in a combi to anywhere in town. This route 19A leaves us pretty close to our house.

A personal sized Sprite, Fanta, Coca-a-Cola, or Inca Kola.

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A pretty nice assortment of 4 and 6 pack chips, crackers, and cookies. Sublime! Milk Chocolate with Peanuts.

Un Pocito Mas! ( A little bit more!)

Here in Peru exists what we call “Yapa” or ‘Un pocito mas’… Even after only buying something for, for example, 1 sol; it’s okay to ask for a little bit more. For some, it’s embarrassing and they don’t ask. I’ve learned to, because you pretty much always get it, and for anything from fruit (one more apple) to eggs and rice… For example:

“I’ll have an ice cream cone please”, me.
“1 sol”, the vender.
And my “Yapa?”, me.
The vender scoops on another scoop for free!
Yapa!!! Generous Peruvians. We usually give a few more grams of olives too, when someone asks for yapa.


Posted by TenekaCJ 15:13 Archived in Peru Comments (2)

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