When he turned 12, father and son walked about 140 kilometers once a year for more than two days to an Amazon area to work for a month as day laborers in the coffee harvest.
“We would leave with cold cuts and two or three days on the road, with a little bag on our shoulders and we would come and bring a little money to buy their notebooks and their school uniform,” the father explained.
The candidate, the only one of all the brothers to go to university, made strenuous efforts to combine field work with studies.
“The day he didn’t have classes, (Pedro) worked all day on the farm, cultivating corn, potatoes and watching the cattle,” the eldest of the Castillo brothers, José Mercedes, explained to the Spanish agency.
“We had food because we all worked from childhood as if we had been adults on the farm,” added the 55-year-old man, from the house he built with his own hands a few meters from his parents’ home, where he lives with his wife and five children.
Mercedes and Pedro completed the third grade of primary school in their community of San Luis de Puña. But, later, the first one abandoned his studies and the candidate continued them in another school in the Anguía district, the third poorest in Peru.
There he met his wife, Lilia Paredes, also a rural teacher and with whom he has two children. Paredes’ little sister also lives with them, who is the age of the couple’s youngest son and whom they have raised as one more daughter.