“Go through these and pick out the bad ones!” Gilberto says pointing to a pile of about 5,000 beans.

These days we are amazing bean sorters. Each morning after breakfast we spend a few hours tirelessly going through what seems like endless Chiclayos (peruvian slang for whatever type of beans these are). The dry, shriveled beans get sorted in the bad pile for fertilizer, and the smooth, white ones get thrown in the clean pile.
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This is one of the family’s ways of earning money since tourists are not always a reliable source of income. They send bags and bags of Chiclayos to Iquitos to be sold.

For the first few days of doing this task we thought they all just really liked beans. We had many conversations about why they have SO many and “who cares if we eat a dry bean?” Then one day a boat showed up and we loaded four potato sacks of Chiclayos onto it. Suddenly, everything made sense and now we feel a lot better spending so much time worried about bad beans.

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Bad beans (left) Good beans (right)