To be honest,I have not understood much yet about Peruvian culture. It is more complicated than I thought. “How can the descendants of such an organized civilization be so cluttered now?” I asked myself.
The answer came to me indirectly by reading a book, that luckily someone stepped forth giving to me some suggestions and it was the wake-up call I needed.
“The history of the corruption in Perù” by Alfonso W. Quiroz.
This book became my guide to see how my work fits into Peruvian culture, it helps me to better understand the needs of this place and, moreover, to justify its behaviours.
The corruption started when the colonizers arrived, beginning a treasure hunt which is not over yet.
An example? In the nearby of Huamachuco there are several mines both legal and illegal which are the main cause of dangerous environmental issues. A lot of them are foreign companies which run away when the mine dries up (sorry guys, we don’t need you anymore.. bye bye).
One of the biggest problem is connected to child labour: every company denies children’s employment inside the mines but trough the picked testimonies we know that this trend is not over yet.
Entire villages are moved away and people are paid not to complain.
Children generally do many kinds of job in order to support their families and the school is not their priority. Also take into consideration that Peruvian education structure is made to help the most capable student, often forgetting who would need more support, thus setting up a huge social gap.
In relation to all these issues, our main work is focused on those children.Through games, live theater, recreational activities we try to encourage them to recognize their rights. Furthermore, we give them a school support trying to level out the gap between them and their peers and, most important thing, we try to give them some deserved fun moments!
Many of the children we are working with are the first ones in their families who have some knowledge of writing and reading. Their mums are younger than me and completely illiterate but they all have magic hands and a physical force out of the ordinary so I often think that my illiteracy manifests itself in many other ways.
Another time, suddenly, my guide book comes to my mind together with the word “corruption” which perfectly explain Peru recent political history which has left a huge blood stream.
Indeed, we are also involved in this field: the state promised 10.000 PNL (about 2700 Euro) and other kind of support to the victims of the internal violence (1980 – 2000). Most of the victims, for various reasons, are not able to collect all the needed documents. We have also to considerade that, in many areas of Peru it didn’t exist offical documents records in the past.
What we try to do is help all the people identified as victims in trying to to get their reimbursment but, more important, we support their inner cooperation…essential to reach the deaf ears of the state.
For this reasons we are also designing a crowdfunding page in order to raise funds to help these people in their documents research. We want to give them a concrete help because the lack of money, the lack of confidence in the institutions and the lack of knowledge are among the causes leading people to give up about the state reimbursement.
Re-reading my intervention I realize that it has a bitter taste. I guess is because I would like to do a lot but the time is not enough. Do you remember when I said that a book did open my eyes? Well, I think that I have undertsood just 2% of the Peruvian life .. I should live here years to understand the mechanisms and assess the impact of the current polices.
“After all I am only doing an EVS”: experience that opens up a world.
Elisa is the Italian volunteer hosted by Proyecto Amigo in Huamachuco, Peru.