PREFACE
ENDING THIS BOOK
WITHOUT NAZARIO TURPO
The book that follows this preface was composed through a series of con-
versations I had with Nazario Turpo, and his father, Mariano, both Andean
peasants and much more. I met them in January 2002, and after Mariano’s
death two years later, Nazario and I continued working together and even-
tually became close friends. On July 9, 2007, Nazario died in a traffic acci-
dent. He was commuting from his village, Pacchanta, to the city of Cuzco,
where he worked as an “Andean shaman” for a tourism agency. He liked the
job a lot, he had told me; he was a wage earner for the first time in his life,
making an average of $400 a month—perhaps a bit more, considering the
tips and gifts he received from people who started a relationship with him as
tourists and ended up as friends. His job had changed his life, and not only
because Andean shamanism is a new colloquial category in Cuzco (created
by the convergence of local anthropology, tourism, and New Age practices)
and therefore also a new potential subject position for some indigenous indi-
viduals. It made him very happy, he said, to be able to buy medicine easily
for his wife’s leg, which was rheumatic because of the constant, biting cold
in Pacchanta, which is more than 4,000 meters above sea level. To be able to
buy and eat rice, noodles, and fruit instead of potatoes, the daily (and only)
bread at that altitude; and to purchase books, notebooks, and pencils for his
grandson, José Hernán (a charming boy, who was twelve years old when I
last saw him, immediately after Nazario’s death)—that made him feel good.
On many counts, Nazario was living an exceptional life for an indigenous
Andean man. His labor was crucial to the benefits that tourism generated in
the region, and the lion’s share of the profits from his work went to the owner
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